Following Marty Walsh’s recent resignation to become the nation’s Secretary of Labor, Boston has sworn in his successor — Kim Janey is officially the first Black and first female to hold the position in the city’s history.
Ahead of her swearing-in, the former City Council president said “History will be made tonight. We’re an extremely diverse city from different backgrounds and different nationalities and different skin colors. I think it’s a good thing for our city. I think it’s a great thing for our city.”
According to CBS News, “Janey grew up in Roxbury and is a graduate of the Boston and Reading Public Schools, as well as Smith College. She was elected the first woman to represent District 7 in 2017 and was voted president of the council in 2020.”
Janey also has a long history of advocacy work, participating in programs with MassVOTE, the Boston NAACP, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus and Massachusetts Advocates for Children.
In an opinion piece she wrote for The Boston Globe before officially taking office, Janey promised to focus on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While there are signs of hope and we are making progress in this fight, we must do a better job of making vaccines accessible, especially to the communities hardest hit,” Janey wrote. “I will partner with other federal, state and local community leaders to support testing and vaccinations across our city.”
Janey also vowed to address the city’s enormous wealth gap.
“Let’s be clear — the problems laid bare by the pandemic were here before COVID-19,” Janey wrote. “The issues of affordable housing, public transportation and climate change are not new. This is not an accident. It’s the product of discriminatory policies that we have all inherited. Under my leadership, we will call out this gap and implement workforce, housing, and education policies to address it.”
“Unemployment rates spiked to 18.5% for Hispanic and Latino workers and 16.6% for Black workers at the start of the pandemic, compared to 12.8% for white workers,” she continued. “The same communities hardest hit by the public health crisis are experiencing the highest rates of housing and food insecurity. My administration will address these economic disparities with new urgency to reopen Boston’s economy with equity.”