By Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh took a wide range of questions Thursday at his Senate confirmation hearing to become the next Labor Secretary.

President Joe Biden nominated Walsh last month, in part for his strong ties to labor unions. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the mayor saying she trusts him to fight for working men and women.

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In his opening statement, Walsh pledged to work with all necessary parties to stand up for American workers. He stated his support for a $15 minimum wage and free community college, but added he did not believe the free education should be mandated.

Senator Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas, later asked the mayor about recent reforms in the Boston Police Department.

“As a supporter of unions, how do you reconcile your actions to defund the department with your responsibility to protect officers and keep them safe?” Marshall asked.

“I love my Boston Police Department. If you had a chance to talk to any members of my police department they will tell you the support that I’ve shown them all along as my time as mayor and prior to that being mayor, that was not a defund movement,” Walsh said.

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“What we did there was we shifted $12 million from the police budget into programs such as mental health counseling, trauma counseling to deal with the issues that we’re dealing with in the city of Boston. My Boston Police Department officers have not lost one hour of overtime from the beginning of this budget cycle.”

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The hearing ended just after noon. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will now need to schedule a vote. If Walsh is approved, his nomination would then move to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. Staff