‘Back to Work': Wu Looks Ahead After Victory in Boston Mayoral Preliminary

by 24USATVSept. 15, 2021, 11 p.m. 17
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Democrat Michelle Wu spoke briefly Wednesday morning as she greeted commuters at the Forest Hills T station, emerging as the top vote-getter in a runoff election for the next mayor of Boston.

"I am grateful for every single person who came out to participate in the election, grateful for the chance to continue on in asking for votes but asking for partnership from all across the city and making sure we're building the city that we dream of," the Boston city councilor said.

Wu, who had been leading in recent polls, easily won Tuesday's preliminary balloting.

The second spot toggled for much of the morning between Essaibi George, acting mayor Kim Janey and city councilor Andrea Campbell as results slowly trickled in. Essaibi George ultimately came out on top.

"I'm excited to have the chance to continue this conversation with voters. We are seven weeks from the election, but we are in a moment of time where we have to act as a city," Wu said. "I'll continue to do what we've been doing from day one, a year ago today."

State elections officials explained that the delay in results had to do at least in part with ballot drop boxes, one of the ways voters were encouraged to return their ballots this year.

Click here to see more election results as they come in.

Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu told supporters she's confident she has enough votes to make it through to the general mayoral election in November.

Janey and Campbell conceded defeat late Tuesday night. All four are candidates of color, as is John Barros, Boston's former economic development chief and the only man in contention. Barros trailed well behind the four women.

The race ushers in a new era for Boston, a city that has elected an unbroken string of white men to be mayor in its first 200 years.

"It's been an honor to be part of this historic field," Wu said Wednesday. "And for the last year, we have seen an incredible conversation all across every neighborhood across every community, so I'm humbled to be part of this moment in Boston."

She reiterated that message during a press conference later in the morning, saying she is grateful to be able to continue making the case that she is the right person to lead Boston forward.

"This is the moment in Boston that our campaign and our coalition has been calling for for a long time, she said. I got in this race exactly one year ago today to ensure Boston would step up to meet this moment."

Wu was the first to speak after polls closed Tuesday. She told supporters she believed she had the votes to make it to the general election.

"We are confident we've made the top two and are moving on to the final," Wu proclaimed to supporters in Roslindale.

"While votes are still being counted tonight, we already know what the choice is for the City of Boston," Wu said. "This is about a choice for our future, this is a choice about whether City Hall tackles our biggest challenges with bold solutions or we nibble around the edges of the status quo."

But there is more work to be done, Wu said.

"Tonight is not a victory celebration. It is a thank you for how far we have come together and a reminder that we have 49 days to get it done. For the next 49 days I'm going to give it all that I've got, but I need it all from you too."

NBC10 Boston's Alison King sat down for a 1-on-1 interview with Michelle Wu, who is in the race to be Boston's next mayor.

Michelle Wu was the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Boston City Council, having first been elected in 2013 at the age of 28. She became the first woman of color to serve as council president when she was elected in January 2016.

Wu’s parents emigrated to the United States from Taiwan in the early 80s, before she was born. She is fluent in Mandarin and Spanish.

Wu, 36, graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Law School. It was while she was a student at Harvard, as her parents were separating, that Wu noticed her mother showing signs of mental illness. Shortly after graduating, just months into her new job, Wu was called home to Chicago by her younger sister, with their mom in a full-blown mental health crisis.

After stabilizing the home life, Wu moved the entire family back to Boston where she began to attend Harvard Law School. Wu believes the move saved her mother's life. Wu's mom was diagnosed with late onset schizophrenia and was inpatient at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Wu got her start in City Hall working for Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy. She later served as statewide Constituency Director in the U.S. Senate campaign of her former law professor, Elizabeth Warren.

She is a former restaurant owner, legal services attorney, and legal guardian of her younger sisters. She also has a background in community advocacy, having worked at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain and at the Medical-Legal Partnership at Boston Medical Center.

Wu lives in Roslindale with her husband Conor and her sons Blaise and Cass. Wu and her family share a two-family house with her mother.

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