Declaring his love for Boston and his plans for its future, City Councilor Rob Consalvo officially launched his campaign for mayor on Thursday night in front of about 400 supporters at a kickoff event in Jamaica Plain.
Speaking in front of a large blue campaign sign with the slogan “Making Boston Better,” Consalvo tried to set himself apart from the other 23 candidates.
“So far, the other candidates in this race have said they’re running for mayor because they can’t pass up the opportunity,” he said during a 20-minute speech at the Cedars of Lebanon Hall. “Well, I’m running for mayor because I can’t pass up the opportunity that being mayor would give me to continue to help even more people in our city.”
The 11-year council veteran said his priorities as mayor would include public safety, improving Boston’s public schools, and development issues.
He also referenced the acrimony that has marked the education reform debate in recent years.
“Attacking teachers, attacking administrators, attacking the people that work in our schools doesn’t solve anything — it only further divides us,” said Consalvo, 43, who voiced support for longer school days and a longer school year, among other initiatives.
He also pledged to be an advocate for the city’s police officers and firefighters.
He said he would support them “by continuing to invest in manpower — by making sure we keep our staffing levels up, by graduating new police classes at the police academy, continuing to deploy community service officers,” he said.
Consalvo disclosed his intention to run in April and earlier this month called on the candidates to form a pact limiting outside money and third-party advertisements in the race, similar to the People’s Pledge signed by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown in their bruising contest last year.
“This election should be decided by hard work and new ideas demonstrated by the candidates,” he said, referencing the pledge. Before Consalvo took the stage to loud applause and the Black Eyed Peas anthem “I Gotta Feeling,” a few supporters addressed the crowd, including Jerome Allen, a Mattapan resident who praised the councilor for his attention to neighborhood issues.
“These issues don’t generate photo-ops, but that’s not what Rob’s about,” Allen said.
Diane “Ngaio” Schiff, a Roslindale resident who has worked with Consalvo to create a green space area in her neighborhood, also praised the councilor’s dedication. “Rob was there every step of the way” on the green space issue, she said.
Consalvo’s wife, Michelle, added that her husband’s commitment to public service has not waned with the passage of time and the births of their three young children.
Some two dozen candidates have entered the race to succeed Mayor Thomas M. Menino, including Consalvo’s fellow councilor Michael P. Ross, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, state Representative Martin J. Walsh, and Charlotte Golar Richie, a former state representative.
The primary is slated for Sept. 24.