Every election of a new mayor marks a change in the city’s direction. Sometimes the change is obvious, as when Raymond Flynn was elected to replace Kevin White in 1983, vowing an intensive focus on neighborhoods over downtown. Sometimes it is less obvious, as when Tom Menino replaced Flynn. All that was known back in 1993 was that Menino was friendly and approachable, attuned to neighborhood concerns but more pragmatic than Flynn. It took a while to see all that the Menino era would represent.
Martin J. Walsh is more of a Menino than a Flynn, at least in terms of his approach to governance. His narrow victory in a hard-fought contest against City Councilor John R. Connolly is an expression of faith in his character and personality, more than an endorsement of any particular platform. Like Menino, Walsh seems open to anything that will make the streets safer, improve city services, or attract new businesses. His core commitment is to the job itself; he wants to do what’s right for Boston.