Michelle Wu is mayor of Boston. Well, sort of

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Michelle Wu smiled after her election as Boston City Council president.
Michelle Wu smiled after her election as Boston City Council president.(David L. Ryan)

Michelle Wu has only been president of the Boston City Council for a single day. But already she has risen to the position of mayor.

Well, sort of.

With Mayor Martin J. Walsh in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, to support President Obama's latest push to strengthen gun control laws through executive action, Wu became the stand-in for the mayor.

"She is acting mayor," said Walsh spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin in an e-mailed statement.

According to the city's charter, in the mayor's absence, the City Council president assumes the position held by the city's top elected official.

The temporary role comes one day after Wu was sworn in during an inauguration ceremony at Faneuil Hall, becoming the first woman of color to serve as the council president.


Wu, a 30-year-old attorney and new mother, is no stranger to setting records. In 2013, she became the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the council.

"The mayor called me last night, and let me know," said Wu in a brief telephone interview. "He asked me not to spend too much money today."

Wu said the temporary role hasn't added anything to her day. "It's just sort of a formality. The mayor is still the mayor, and is checking in with all of his staff."

Wu said she was busy catching up with council members, and unpacking her office.

Wu's position as acting mayor will be short-lived, however. Unless there are flight delays.

Walsh is expected to return to Boston around 5 p.m. Tuesday, McGilpin said.

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.