A slew of elected officials and leaders in Boston’s communities of color have weighed mayoral candidate John Connolly in the balance and found him wanting. In recent weeks, City Councilor Felix Arroyo, former Menino cabinet official Charlotte Golar Richie, and former School Committee member John Barros — all of whom failed to advance after the mayoral preliminary election — have endorsed Marty Walsh for the Nov. 5 final. On Saturday, other black luminaries, including City Councilor Tito Jackson, are expected to come out for Walsh.
Some of the Walsh endorsements reflect neighborhood or labor loyalties. The Barros endorsement, however, provides deeper insights into why the city’s minority leaders are lining up with Walsh. Barros actually seems a better fit with Connolly. Their family backgrounds may differ: Barros is the son of Cape Verdean immigrants and Connolly is the scion of a prominent political family. But both are policy wonks with Ivy League diplomas and young families. And each is an unapologetic supporter of lifting the cap on charter schools.
But Barros favors Walsh’s disposition, sense of urgency, and leadership style. He likes the candidate’s collaborative skills and is put off by Connolly’s combativeness, evidenced in his desire to wrestle contract concessions from the Boston Teachers Union.
“There are enough levers to pull without having to pick a fight [with teachers],’’ said Barros. “It’s not in anyone’s interest for this thing to blow up.’’
Barros bristles at efforts to put Walsh in the “old Boston box’’ of the “less tolerant, less inclusive candidate’’ from a white working-class section of Dorchester. On the contrary, he said, Walsh is the “progressive candidate’’ in the race.
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