Mayor Martin J. Walsh, an accomplished advocate for working people and a proud product of the City of Boston, was sworn in as the City’s 54th Mayor on January 6, 2014. With a commitment to community, equality and opportunity for every resident and neighborhood, Mayor Walsh has the record, skills and passion to move Boston forward. In all his endeavors, Mayor Walsh has become known as someone whose word is his bond.
In April 1997, at the age of 29, Mayor Walsh won election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 13th Suffolk District in Boston, which ranks among the most diverse in the state. During his 16 years in the House, Mayor Walsh established himself as a leader on creating and protecting jobs and growing the economy. He authored landmark public construction law reforms that increased flexibility and accountability, helped pass transit-oriented mixed-use “smart growth district” legislation, and was a strong supporter of infrastructure and zoning improvements. During the state fiscal crisis, he was a key broker in compromise legislation giving municipalities more tools to negotiate substantial savings on health insurance benefits while protecting the rights of hardworking people to receive the decent pay and benefits they have earned.
A co-founder and former board member of the Neighborhood House Public Charter School, Mayor Walsh has long been an aggressive advocate for strong public schools. In the Legislature, he fought for annual funding for alternative schools and helped pass a law that allows the city to transform underperforming schools into pilot, magnet and in-district charter schools.
A champion for civil rights, Mayor Walsh was a vocal early advocate for marriage equality, which he calls his proudest vote ever as a state lawmaker, and he compiled a strong record in support of communities of color, immigrants, seniors and all the people of our city and state. He also became known as the State House leader on substance abuse and recovery issues.
Rising up through the leadership of his Laborers Local 223 union, Mayor Walsh eventually served for two years, 2011 to 2013, as head of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District, where he worked with business and community leaders and city officials to promote high quality development and new jobs for the city. In partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, he created Building Pathways, a pre-apprentice program connecting building trades jobs and opportunities with those traditionally underrepresented in the industry, mainly women and people of color.
Mayor Walsh’s parents both emigrated from Ireland in the 1950s and came to Boston. John and Mary Walsh married and settled in a home on Taft Street in St. Margaret’s Parish, Dorchester, where they raised their two sons, Marty and Johnny, and where Mayor Walsh’s mother still lives. At age seven, Mayor Walsh survived a bout of Burkett’s lymphoma, a form of childhood cancer, thanks in part to experimental treatments and extraordinary care he received at Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
After attending St. Margaret’s School in Dorchester and Newman Prep High School, Mayor Walsh followed in his father’s footsteps to become a union laborer, working his first job at the age of 18 at Commonwealth Pier (now known as the World Trade Center) on the South Boston waterfront.
Mayor Walsh lives on Tuttle Street in Dorchester and is a graduate of Boston College. He shares his life with his longtime partner, Lorrie Higgins, and her daughter, Lauren.
Note: This biographical sketch is to be used only for background information. Under no circumstances should it be read in its entirety to introduce the Mayor.