What happened to those who ran for Boston’s mayor
To win the mayor’s seat last year, Martin J. Walsh had to beat 11 other candidates — 10 in the preliminary election and one in November. Since then, he’s been in the news nearly nonstop, but the others have largely disappeared from the public stage. Where’d they go? Here’s a look at what happened next.
FELIX G. ARROYO
As the city’s new chief of human resources Felix G. Arroyo is a busy man. There’s much to do. Families to help. Community centers to breathe new life into.
That’s a big change from where he found himself last fall. After losing the preliminary election, he no longer had a job. He could not return to his role on the City Council. He said he felt at once liberated and scared about his prospects.
“It was the first time that I didn’t have a plan as to what my next step would be,’’ said Arroyo.
But he regrouped. He called the two top contenders, Walsh and John Connolly, both of whom were trying to woo him. And he wasted little time in throwing his support behind Walsh.
Both he and Walsh were strong advocates for marginalized residents, including the poor and addicts in recovery, Arroyo said.
“In the campaign, I just went in feet first. I went in as hard as I could to help in his election because I really believe what he was about,’’ Arroyo said.
Walsh rewarded Arroyo for his efforts. He picked him to help lead his transition team, and surprised many when he named Arroyo, along with his chief of staff Dan Arrigg Koh, among his first two Cabinet picks.
Arroyo said he was surprised by the appointment.
“I didn’t ask him too much about how everything else was shaping up, and so I was surprised when it was Dan Koh and then me. But I’m very grateful. I’m happy to be on his team,’’ Arroyo said. “I’m a kid from Hyde Park living the dream right now.”
John Barros didn’t win the mayoral race but works in City Hall all the same, appointed chief of economic development by Walsh, his opponent-turned-boss.
Five departments fall under Barros’s purview: the Boston Redevelopment Authority; consumer affairs and licenses; small, local business enterprises; jobs and community service; and tourism, sports, and entertainment.
“Running for mayor allowed me to hear from all parts of the city, from residents in all of our neighborhoods, about the things that they care about particularly around economic development,” Barros said.
He rattled off a list of concerns heard out on the campaign trail that included jobs, access to capital, lending practices, government services, overdevelopment, underdevelopment, and the permitting process.
“In many ways, I heard about many of the same issues that Mayor Walsh is trying to address,” he said.
Not only does Barros’s new role mean visiting the city’s neighborhoods, it also involves travel around the country and the globe. He’s been to Las Vegas, California, Washington, D.C, China, Israel, and Dubai.
“We’re putting more of an emphasis on strengthening our city’s relationships across the globe . . . to open up business relationships and foster education or research relationships,” he said.
CHARLES CLEMONS Jr.
Charles Clemons Jr., affectionately known in Boston’s black community as Brother Charles, has returned to his roles as community activist and radio host in the months since his unsuccessful bid for mayor.
“I’m going to keep doing what I’ve always done and that’s advocate for my people, advocate for my community, and advocate for the underserved,” he said recently in an interview. “Nothing really has changed.”
Except, perhaps, for one thing: TOUCH 106.1-FM, the unlicensed radio station Clemons cofounded based in Grove Hall, was shut down by the federal government. Now, the only place to catch the so-called fabric of the black community is online.
But Clemons is fighting to bring community radio to Boston’s black neighborhoods, which currently do not have a 24-hour station. He used the skills he picked up on the campaign trail to help push for the successful passage of ballot question Number 5 in the Seventh Suffolk Representative District, which is represented by state Representative Gloria Fox.
The question: Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation to facilitate the licensing of low-power radio stations in underserved communities?
“We were out at the polls. We had fliers and robocalls going on,” Clemons said. “I guess running for mayor did increase my civic engagement. Look at that.”
Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley went straight back work soon after losing the election.
“I was putting in 18-hour days on the campaign, but I could never take my eye off the ball on what was happening in my office,’’ Conley said in an interview recently.
Indeed, less than a week before the Sept. 24 preliminary election vote, Conley was overseeing prosecution of the largest Ponzi scheme in a century. His attorneys indicted Steven and Lori Palladino and their son Gregory, alleging the West Roxbury family fleeced 42 families of more than $10 million. Conley alleged they used their clients’ money to finance their own lavish lifestyle.
The Palladinos pleaded guilty in January and were sentenced.
In the year since the race, Conley also won the convictions of two Roxbury men under the state’s new human trafficking law. And in September, Conley made headlines when he hired Indy, a 2-year-old golden retriever and Labrador mix, whose job is to comfort people in emotional distress.
A year after the campaign, Conley said he is happy to be back fully focused on the job he loves.
“I was able to catch my breath,’’ Conley said, reflecting on the end of his mayoral bid. “I just went back do doing what I’ve always done for the past 12 years.”
Former city councilor John Connolly has steered clear of politics after losing a razor-thin general election contest with Walsh.
He has spent the year focused on his passion for education reform and spending more time with his family.
“I’ve gone to a lot of youth soccer games and spending a lot of time at the ice rink with my kids,’’ he said. “And that’s been great.”
He also joined the board at Fuel Education, a group that helps low-income families save for college. And he joined with the National Center on Time & Learning, where he’s working on launching his own nonprofit.
The former councilor from West Roxbury was an early front-runner in the mayoral race when Thomas M. Menino announced he would not seek a sixth term. He was seen as the best established, best financed candidate in the large field. He trounced most of his opponents, placing second in the preliminary election and was a favorite to win the general election.
But then the tables turned. Walsh began lining up a series of key endorsements, including many of Connolly’s colleagues on the council, and secured a surge of union money.
Connolly came close, but Walsh won.
“I came out of it wiser, ‘’ Connolly said of the campaign. “I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about the city. I learned a lot about politics.”
He is not ready to share what he has learned just yet but insists he has no regrets about charging ahead and seeking the office of mayor.
“I wish I had won, but there is a lot of blessings in losing,’’ Connolly said, noting the extra time he now has to devote to his young children.
Connolly did share a few kind words for the man now serving as mayor, saying he is confident Walsh will do a good job for the city.
Rob Consalvo, a former Hyde Park district councilor, is settling into his new role as deputy director of the Home Center, a crucial link to the execution of Walsh’s housing policy.
A councilor for more than a decade, Consalvo returned to City Hall recently to work with city housing chief Sheila Dillon as her new deputy director for the center.
Consalvo will oversee a staff of 37 employees and manage a divisional budget of $11 million. Based in the Department of Neighborhood Development, Consalvo will lead efforts to help create financial initiatives to help seniors stay in their homes; increase the access of more middle-income Bostonians to home ownership opportunities; and assist residents in making their homes greener and more energy efficient.
“I am very excited to return to city government,” Consalvo told the Globe after his appointment.
Consalvo left his council job to run for mayor, but was never able to break free from the pack and lost in the preliminary election. Afterward he dropped out of public view, but was seen last month outside a Hyde Park polling station urging voters to support Attorney General Martha Coakley for governor.
Then late last month, Walsh tapped Consalvo for the new $96,000 a year post.
CHARLOTTE GOLAR RICHIE
Since finishing third in last year’s mayoral race, Charlotte Golar Richie has kept a somewhat low profile.
In the days immediately following the preliminary election, Golar Richie, the only woman in the 12-person race, used her standing — she finished just 3,889 votes behind the number two — to help Walsh get elected to office and then helped with his transition.
Then she retreated from the public eye, making select appearances at events such as the Whittier Street Health Center’s Black History Month Celebration and the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute’s annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace. In March, she was elected to the Tufts Health Foundation Board, where she provides counsel on grants and policy.
But this summer the former aide to Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Governor Deval Patrick returned to public service as one of three commissioners of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. Patrick appointed her to the commission in June and she was sworn in with her husband and two daughters by her side in August. In her new role, she investigates discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
The last year has brought a lot of change for Mike Ross, who was a city councilor before running for mayor.
For starters, he no longer lives in the district he represented for 14 years, moving from Mission Hill to East Boston.
“I now live on the water in East Boston, in a new loft condo that was just built,” he said. “I go running on bike paths and running paths throughout East Boston. I eat some of the greatest food that exists anywhere. I love the people. It’s exactly where the city is heading in a very positive way.”
Ross, an attorney since 2007, is practicing construction and real estate law at firm of Prince Lobel, and says the work puts him back in City Hall and before community groups often.
He worked with the MBTA’s and Walsh’s late-night service and transportation efforts, helping to organize the first post-midnight event — a food truck festival on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway — in recent memory. And he has become a regular contributor to the opinion pages of The Boston Globe.
And, recently, Ross, whose father is a Holocaust survivor, was appointed by the president to be a member of the US Holocaust Memorial Council.
“So, I’m a council member again,” he said.
Bill Walczak was healthy before he ran for mayor. But as soon as his campaign was over, he realized he’d lost weight. He had developed a nasty respiratory infection that wouldn’t go away. And he felt totally broken down. It was like his body was trying to tell him something. The executive at Shawmut Construction and Design got to thinking that it was time for a change.
Walczak, whose blood runs deep in community activism, decided to return to the work he loves. On Nov. 3, he became president of the Lewis Family Foundation, which aims to ensure that students in Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury make it through college. He is also heading the global charitable initiative Grand Circle Foundation.
Walczak said that in some ways, his run for mayor opened his eyes to the challenges facing Bostonians.
“I’m never going to run again,’’ he said. “I learned so much about the city. I got to meet some great people who care so much about this city. And I learned a lot about myself.”
A “big ideas” man, Walczak spent more than four decades as an activist in his beloved Codman Square, where he founded the now-thriving health center and Codman Academy Charter Public School.
He was president of Carney Hospital and, most recently, vice president of community relations at Shawmut Design and Construction.
After the campaign, he took up singing, a beloved pastime. He paused briefly last week to reflect on the year after his failed bid for mayor, saying returning to advocacy has been the best post-campaign gift.
“It felt natural for me,’’ he said. “It feels like I’m back in the area I know well.”
DAVID JAMES WYATT
The most elusive candidate in the mayoral race returned to the ballot this month, this time in an unsuccessful challenge to state Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, who represents Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Mission Hill, and the South End.
Like last year, David James Wyatt essentially did not campaign. There was no campaign literature to speak of, and his now-defunct website remained outdated for much of the election cycle, saying in May that he was running for mayor of Boston.
His platform during the mayor’s race was boiled down to this: He was the only Republican in the race and he was against abortion.
The Roxbury resident, who could not be reached for comment despite attempts by phone, rarely appeared on the trail in 2013, making only a handful of public appearances. The same was true in this year’s Senate race.
His campaign account is negative $3,125, according to campaign finance records, and he’s amassed $50 in fines for failing to fill out his reports on time.
Charles Yancey did not give up his long-held council seat when he ran for mayor. But when voters went to the polls, it was clear how they wanted him to serve. He received three times more votes for City Council than for mayor.
And that’s fine with Yancey, who has spent 31 years as a councilor from Mattapan. He’s seen disappointments before, having run twice unsuccessfully for the council as well as for Congress and state auditor.
“I was humbled,’’ he said in an interview this week. “I truly appreciate every vote I received in that election and all the other previous ones. . . . Maybe they did me a favor for not voting for me for mayor. I don’t know, but I certainly enjoy representing the people of Boston in whatever capacity they want me to represent them.”
Yancey, dogged in his pursuit for the causes he champions, went right back to work on the council after the preliminary election.
And he picked up where he had left off, calling at least a half dozen audit hearings to press the new administration to address race and gender disparities at the upper ranks. He sought answers about the city’s fiscal practices and pushed to block a high-security research laboratory from opening in Boston.
He has not always been successful in his efforts, but Yancey is known for not giving up. Recently, he got some traction in his bid to open a high school in Mattapan, though that effort has since stalled.
Will he run for another office?
Yancey said he’s not sure.