Walsh confirmed as labor secretary, Janey becomes first woman and person of color as Boston mayor


Emily Devlin

Boston City Hall

The Senate confirmed Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as labor secretary Monday, making him the first union leader to serve in the position since 1977.

Walsh was confirmed with a 68-29 vote, according to NPR. He was the final department secretary to be confirmed for President Joe Biden’s cabinet.

“I’ve spent my entire career fighting for working people and I’m eager to continue that fight in Washington,” said Walsh, who has served as mayor since 2014, at a farewell news conference at Faneuil Hall.

Despite his new position and responsibilities, Walsh promised to stay true to Boston’s spirit as he takes on the Biden administration’s pledge to protect unions and raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“Wherever I go, I will bring Boston with me. I will work to make the new administration in Washington, D.C., the best federal partner Boston and America’s cities have ever had, and I will never stop fighting for the values we believe in,” Walsh said.

Walsh became a laborer in a Boston union with his father and brother at age 21, and rose to be president of Laborers’ Union Local 223. He was also the head of the Boston Building Trades Council, an umbrella group of 20 construction unions.

“Workers protection, equal access to good jobs, the right to join a union, continuing education and job training, access to mental health and substance use treatment, these are not just policies to me,” he said at his confirmation hearing in February.

Walsh officially resigned as mayor Monday night, leaving Kim Janey, the Boston City Council President, to take over in his place until the election. Janey will be the first woman and first Black mayor of Boston.

In the days ahead, partnering together, we will focus on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, safely reopening our City and renewing our communities,” Janey said in a statement Tuesday. “And, as we reopen, we will take the steps to become a more equitable, more joyful, more resilient Boston.”

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