Anyone in Beacon Hill wondering if Mayor Thomas Menino is ready for another term had his or her doubts quelled Tuesday night during his State of the City address at Faneuil Hall.
Menino received a six-minute standing ovation from the 800 plus attendees that packed the hall.
There was no doubt everyone there was hanging on every word to see if there was any hint of a reelection bid. The speech took a somber tone at the beginning with the Mayor reflecting on his health and mortality saying simply “I’m just a guy from Hyde Park”.
It was evident this was not a policy speech but a political one. Menino, a man who plays the political game on his own terms, laid the foundation for another shot at Mayor of Boston.
Health issues aside the speech was carefully crafted and rehearsed and Menino waited to the end to hint he’s back and in the game.
In the speech Menino pledged to make Boston the premier city for working women.
Many may have overlooked this but it was the signal that Menino is running again.
“To outshine all cities we must unlock the potential of all of our women,” Menino said. “Recent college graduates are earning less than their male classmates in the same jobs and with the same degrees. We can do better than that.”
The Mayor’s proposals include appointing a Women’s Workforce Council, the first of its kind in the country. Together with the Mayor, the Council will tackle challenges facing Boston’s working women. The first priority will be the wage gap, as Boston seeks to become the first major city to achieve pay equity for women. The Council will include executives, entrepreneurs, industry and workforce leaders, and young women to represent the next generation.
Menino said he would also launching “Women on Main”– a networking program aimed to better connect the City’s female-owned Main Streets businesses and foster peer-to-peer learning. “Women on Main”, said Menino, will enable the City to learn more about the unique challenges of female entrepreneurs, and provide them with the tools needed to grow and thrive.
All this was playing to the growing young working female voter base in the city. During the last Presidential election, the woman vote was a tour de force nationally and here in Boston.
Here the woman vote help hand victories to Elizabeth Warren and other woman candidates running for local and county offices.
Menino’s focus on woman in this year’s speech can be interpreted as his realization that the woman vote will play a huge role in the next mayoral election.
In addition, the Mayor announced $30 million in new funding for underperforming schools, a pilot program to bring online learning to Boston’s neighborhoods and enhanced public safety partnerships. Menino emphasized that the commitment of residents and political leaders to each other, and the City of Boston, will continue to propel the city forward in 2013. “Our progress is real. Our future is bright. The state of our city is striking, sound, and strong,” said Menino. “Our untapped human potential is enough to power Boston’s growth if we muster the courage and the creativity to unleash it.”