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Kim Janey makes history as Boston’s first Black, first female mayor

Kim Janey stepped in to succeed Marty Walsh as he’s moved on to his position as President Joe Biden’s labor secretary.

Kim Janey Getty Images

Boston’s new mayor is nothing like the city’s ever seen before. Kim Janey is the first female and first person of color to take office in the history of Massachusett’s capital.

On Monday (March 22), Janey stepped into the role of acting mayor after Marty Walsh — who will move on to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary — resigned from the position. Following his departure, he acknowledged the history-making moment and congratulated Janey on her new job.

“Congratulations on making history, @Kim_Janey, I know you are going to continue serving our city and supporting an equitable recovery from #COVID19,” Walsh tweeted. “I am always here for you, my friend.”

“History will be made tonight,” he said last evening (March 22), per NBC. “We’re an extremely diverse city from different backgrounds and different nationalities and different skin colors. I think it’s a good thing for our city. I think it’s a great thing for our city.”

Janey, in turn, applauded Walsh for his accomplishment and shared a few words about her new role as Boston’s mayor.

“Congratulations on your confirmation, Secretary Walsh,” she penned in a tweet. “You are a proud son of Dorchester who will bring our city with you. The working people of America will benefit greatly from your passion.”

She added, “Now, we look ahead to a new day — a new chapter — in Boston’s history.”

According to NBC News, Walsh — who previously served as Boston’s city council president — had several conversations with Janey over the last two months to prepare her for her mayoral duties.

“Together, the council president and myself and our teams have worked diligently to ensure a smooth transition,” he said.

As a child, Janey — whose grandfather worshipped alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Twelfth Baptist Church — witnessed former Rep. Mel King run an unsuccessful campaign for the 1983 mayoral race. Years later, she started her career in advocacy, pushing for equity in Boston public schools as the senior project director at Massachusetts Advocates for Children.

In 2017, Janey was elected to Boston’s city council and became the first woman to represent District seven, which includes most of Roxbury, parts of Dorchester, the Fenway and the South End. She was re-elected in 2019; in 2020, she was chosen to be the council’s president.

Janey will be sworn into her new role as acting mayor on Wednesday (March 24). She will hold office until the municipal election in November.

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