Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley was in full campaign mode this morning as he walked into a breakfast engagement at the Hilton Hotel at Logan Airport, stopping to speak to journalists before going table to table and introducing himself as a candidate for mayor of Boston.
Conley appeared at ease as he shook hands, chatted, and smiled for picture-takers. While he is often recognized at these types of events, his presence here, one day after he officially announced his candidacy, grabbed much more attention than usual.
“I didn’t expect this,” he said, as he walked into the hotel and was surrounded by journalists.
“Throughout the last several years, I’ve thought that if and when Mayor Menino were to decide to step down, it would be something I would consider,” Conley said during a pause between tables.
“When he actually made it official and decided he was not going to run, I had some moments of reflection and thought,’’ he said.
Conley said he talked with his wife and children and parents and brothers and sister to get their opinion on his running.
“Certainly over the weekend, the Easter holiday weekend, I pretty much made up my mind,’’ Conley said.
Conley, who earlier in his career succeeded Menino representing Hyde Park on the City Council, said Menino offered him advice in his attempt to once again follow in his footsteps, telling him to get out and meet as many people as possible, to let them know what you stand for.
Conley admitted that the race is crowded and that campaigning while holding down his job as the county’s top prosecutor will be a challenge, but one he is prepared for.
“I’ll stand out by the power of my ideas first and foremost,” he said.
Conley said his focus as mayor would be housing, educational improvement, and better economic opportunity.
“Boston, like a lot of cities, is becoming a bit polarized. You see all of the great downtown development, a lot of people moving into our city, but they tend to be at the high end, the high-end condos. That’s great,’’ Conley said.
He added, “We hear about the micro [apartment] units, I support that. But what about the middle-class families? How do we get people caught at the low end of the economic strata, if you will, into the middle class? That’s what cities have always been about, getting people into the middle class and that’s what my focus is.”
Conley is part of a crowded field of candidates, which currently includes Dorchester State Representative Martin Walsh, and Boston City Councilors John R. Connolly of West Roxbury and Rob Consalvo of Hyde Park, who announced today. Will Dorcena and Charles Clemons, both Dorchester residents, have also declared they are candidates for mayor.