Boston mayoral hopeful Martin J. Walsh added to his roster of endorsements on Wednesday, securing the enthusiastic backing of state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, whose district stretches from South Boston to part of Hyde Park.
“Marty Walsh gets it,” she said at a news conference in Mattapan Square, the candidate at her side, both of them surrounded by supporters bearing signs.
Several African-American clergymen and former mayoral candidates John Barros and Felix Arroyo were also on hand.
Under cloudy skies, Dorcena Forry, reading from prepared remarks, made a forceful case for Walsh, a longtime state representative.
She said he understood the “struggles of working families” and would be a successful solutions-oriented mayor who could leverage his Beacon Hill knowledge into results for Boston.
She said he had a strong track record of legislative accomplishment that included taking tough stances when it was the right thing to do, and she affirmed he would be “a steady hand at the wheel.”
Dorcena Forry, who is Haitian-American, also argued that Walsh would deliver for every part of the city if he’s elected.
“Marty understands the diversity of our city is what makes us a unique city” she said.
“He wants to diversify our workforce at all levels of our economy, not just at City Hall, but on the building trades construction sites, in the downtown boardrooms and in every classroom in Boston.”
Her endorsement follows those of Barros, Arroyo, a city councilor, and Charlotte Golar Richie, who finished third in the September mayoral preliminary election.
The backing could further boost Walsh’s prospects among African-American voters in the Nov. 5 final vote against Councilor John R. Connolly.
Dorcena Forry, a former state representative, won a competitive special election primary in April for the First Suffolk state Senate seat against state Representative Nick Collins.
Collins, for his part, endorsed Connolly in September during the preliminary mayoral race.
Walsh did not publicly back a candidate in the special Senate primary election.
At the press conference, the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, the former executive director of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, also gave Walsh his backing.
“Although the sun is not shining,” Brown said, “this is a bright and glorious day for the City of Boston because we are here to enthusiastically and with great joy endorse” Walsh.
At the conclusion of the 20-minute event, Walsh bowed his head as the ministers put their hands on the candidate and offered up prayers for him.
Later, talking with people after the event, the candidate wore a wide smile.
The program, which would be based at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, would encourage students with an interest in law enforcement and prepare them to study for a degree in criminal justice.
Secondly, Connolly would resurrect a version of the police cadet program targeting young adults that fell victim to budget cuts three years ago.
“This pathway would draw talented young people from every corner of the city so that we are identifying and training future police officers who know our communities inside and out,” Connolly said at Madison Park, in Roxbury.
As mayor, Connolly said, he would make a priority of funding both the Madison Park program and a revived version of the cadet initiative.
After completing the pathway program, a student would be guaranteed entrance into the cadet program, which provides a pathway to the police academy after two years.
Connolly said that such a program would boost diversity among the Police Department’s rank-and-file, which, combined with a push for more diversity among department brass, would help create a police force that looks more like the city it serves.
“The Boston Police Department should look like the whole city. It should be truly representative of the neighborhoods and communities it serves,” Connolly said.
“Diversity in the police force will help officers build trust in neighborhoods, and trust is essential to effective community policing.”