BOSTON (CBS) — Charles Montgomery, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Roxbury, had a pointed question for Marty Walsh during the mayoral candidate’s appearance at the 12th Baptist Church Veteran’s meeting last Wednesday.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mary Blake reports
“I see there are two candidates, and it’s like a toss up. I want to know what would make me vote for you over the other candidate,” said Montgomery.
Walsh gave an immediate response.
“The first way I would separate myself is by my life experiences. I grew up in Dorchester in a three family house. I got sober 18 years ago. I went to college at night school, ” he told the crowd.
With less than a week to go before the election, the Walsh campaign was at full tilt, and had been for awhile that day.
“I was up at five. The first stop was an Elevate Boston event. Then I had a meeting at my campaign office. After that, I had a senior building at Mission Hill, and that was all by ten, and now, I have these veterans, ” said Walsh.
At the meeting, Walsh was asked about services for vets, neighborhood crime and specifically, what he would do for Roxbury.
Montgomery again spoke up.
“We are paying through the nose for everything and get kicked on for everything and get nothing in return,” Montgomery said.
Mel Viera, a retired postal worker from Mattapan, said he wished he could vote for both candidates. “It’s a toss up right now,” he said.
Walsh said he was very aware of the undecideds in the room.
“That’s why I’m gonna work 18 hours a day for the next six days to convince as many people as I can,” he said.
But 18 hour days mean little sleep.
“I’m getting between five and six hours a night. I can sleep Wednesday,” joked Walsh.
Long days also mean lots of miles around the city. Walsh walked over to his car, and looked at the odometer.
“11,070 miles since the campaign started,” he declared.
Walsh also said his favorite part of the campaign is meeting people.
“I love it. That’s what makes wanting to be mayor fun.”
Walsh took a break from meeting people midday to go to work. The legislature was in session.
“Actually, I wasn’t able to finish the session. I had to leave a little early today. They were in the process of going through the calendar and they were talking about some amendments for a bill for next week,” said Walsh. Walsh ducked out to speak to a packed audience at the Genesis House in Brighton, where senior issues were discussed in English, Russian, Mandarin and Cantonese. “As State Representative for 16 years, one of the issues I have always worked on has been elderly issues,” he told the group.
Walsh’s next stop was at Tent City. There, he received an endorsement from civil rights leader and one-time candidate for Mayor, Mel King.
“I’m here because of my experiences and my contacts with Representative Martin Walsh,” said King. Walsh fielded some questions about whether his campaign has gone negative. Walsh responded. “The only negativity that has gone on in this campaign has been a push pull against myself and my campaign, and that’s all I pretty much have to say about that.”
King ended his endorsement by playing a recording of a song he had written. Walsh was prodded to dance at the podium. “He’s doing okay up there,” laughed an onlooker.
As the sun set, Walsh stopped at a women’s fundraising event at the Carrie Nation Bar on Beacon Hill.
“In five weeks, this event has put us raising over one million dollars, in five weeks,” Walsh told a cheering crowd. “Tonight is an exciting night because I have a lot of colleagues and friends and women here. There’s just a lot of momentum here in our campaign and it’s great to have the support. I’m honored to have the support,.”
Walsh also caught up with his girlfriend of 8 years, Lorrie Higgins, at the fundraiser. “As long as I’ve known Marty, this is what he’s wanted and it’s finally here. I’m just so proud of him. I really am,” she said.
Both headed to the last scheduled event of the day, a forum in Dorchester co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.
“In my district here in Dorchester, we have a lot of immigrants who live here, so, I knew a lot of people in the room, and just talking about their needs and concerns that people might have, particularly with language barriers and things like that,” he said after he spoke.
John Doherty showed up. A life long Dorchester resident, Doherty said he wanted to see both candidates since both made separate appearances at the event.
“I think at this point it’s coming down to personality, you know,” said Doherty.
Walsh had this parting comment.
“I felt good today, I think it was a pretty good day today. We were pretty much all over the city. We went from Dorchester this morning to Brighton. We were all over the place. And go Sox,” he quickly added.
The Red Sox won the World Series three hours later, and Walsh is hoping for his own win tomorrow.