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Road To City Hall Part 4: A City They Love

By Mary Blake, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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Mary Blake is an award-winning reporter and anchor who joined WBZ News...
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BOSTON (CBS) —- After 20 years as Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino has had time to reflect on being the city’s longest serving Mayor.

Asked what he likes best about the job, he responds quickly.

“The people. They tell you their happy days and their sad days and you can do something about those problems. Mayors can act instantly on a problem. A lot of Governors and Congressmen can’t do that. Mayors can.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports

The 12 candidates vying to succeed Menino have been out in the neighborhoods hoping to gain traction in a wide open race. Bill Walczak has been working the casino issue.

Related: Road To City Hall Part One

“As Mayor, I will absolutely ensure that that casino is never built in East Boston and instead, we start making the plans for an Innovation District in East Boston,” he said.

Three term Dorchester State Representative Charlotte Golar Richie is the only woman running.

Related: Road To City Hall Part Two

“I do get asked a lot about being a woman, and I only think about it when I’m asked the question. I understand the historic significance of it, but I don’t really dwell on it. Yes, I suppose it is suprising. I think after this run, there will be many, many more women jumping out there, because they’ll say if Charlotte can do it, I definitely can do it,” she said.

Read: Meet The Mayoral Candidates

Former Boston Police Officer Charles Clemons talked about his qualifications to be Mayor.

“I’ve created five different businesses. I’ve hired thousands of Boston residents. Seventy five-percent of them had CORI’s. 100 of them went on to start their own business,” Clemons said.

Boston City Councilor Felix Arroyo wants employees to reflect diversity.

“We’re going to start working to ensure that our Police Department and all of our departments reflect our neighborhoods and reflect our city ensuring that people of color and women have opportunities to work in the city as well,” Arroyo said.

Charles Yancey points to his long service on the City Council. He was first elected in 1983.

“No one comes even close in terms of my experience in dealing with the budget and dealing with every department of city government, not just one, every one, for 30 years,” said Yancey.

All of the candidates profess a deep love for Boston. City Councilor John Connolly, when asked what his Boston moment is, said, “I’ve been having Boston moments my whole life. I grew up in Roslindale and live in West Roxbury and am raising three kids here. Certainly being sworn in in Faneuil Hall to the Boston City Council was an incredible moment for me. Boston is a beautiful, awesome city. I love it.”

For Mike Ross, it was his first trip to Fenway Park, when he was 7 years old.

“Seeing that green field with my dad, there’s nothing better,” said Ross.

For Marty Walsh, it was election night, 1997.

“I couldn’t sleep and I got in my car and I drove up to the Statehouse. I parked in front and it was about four in the morning and I was looking up there saying ‘Oh my God, I got elected to the House of Representatives. People put their faith and trust in me’,” Walsh recalled.

Felix Arroyo is irrevocably linked to the South End home where he grew up.

“It’s so much of a sense of my feeling about Boston that when I did our campaign kickoff when I campaigned for Mayor, we did it at Villa Victoria,” Arroyo says.

Former Boston School Board member John Barros, a community leader who interrupted his campaign only briefly last week to be with his wife for the birth of their second child, said his Boston moment is at an annual neighborhood festival on Dudley Street each August.

“We celebrate all the different cultures in the neighborhood and it is an amazing event. We go there and we learn about other cultures and other languages and other food and other customs and dress and music and for me, that’s what Boston represents. Boston represents a city that is a gateway city for immigrants, a city with rich history and a city that if actually we can celebrate that, we have a lot to offer,” said Barros.

Dan Conley now points to the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings.

“I say this a lot on the campaign trail now. I talk about being One Boston, and how important that is. And that’s not even just all of our neighborhoods. You know, even people who live outside the city really care about what’s happening here in Boston and who the next Mayor will be. But for me, that was a defining moment for us as a city when we all came together in a way, that probably nobody could have predicted and persevered through this and came out stronger,” said Conley.

Boston votes September 24th.

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