Connolly Officially Kicks off Campaign for Mayor

March 26, 2013
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Appealing to younger voters from his generation At-Large City Councilor John Connolly officially kicked off his campaign for Mayor of Boston last week at the Omni Parker House downtown in an unconventional way that included a performance by Boston band, the Bad Rabbits.

Over 400 supporters packed the rally that included the spirited performance by the local R&B-funk-rock foursome. If there was anytime to paint himself as the new, fresh face of Boston last week was Connolly’s chance to do it.

If Mayor Thomas Menino decides to run the 39-year-old Connolly will be up against the 70 year-old politically entrenched giant. With Menino’s staying power and political might, Connolly’s only hope in a race against the incumbent Mayor is to emerge as the candidate of ‘change’ versus the candidate of ‘more of the same’.

Last week’s kick off was less about laying out a vision of Boston and more about symbolism.

“I am running for Mayor of Boston to transform our public schools, to bring a more inclusive, open culture to City Hall, and to usher in a new era of innovation across the City of Boston that puts us in the lead when it comes to creating safe, healthy and livable neighborhoods,” Connolly said.

The kickoff’s feel, energy and location wasn’t lost on those who attended. The Omni Parker was the same location a young John F. Kennedy launched his political career for U.S. Congress. The use of a local-hip-band like the Bad Rabbits is from the playbook of politicians like President Barack Obama who coined the campaign rally cry of ‘change’ and ‘hope’. Obama’s made it a point to use young recording artists like Jay Z and Beyonce to appeal to the younger generation and Kennedy became the symbol of ‘new’ politics versus ‘old’ politics in the 1960s.

Last week Connolly tried to energize Bostonians like himself—young, working parents that are not rank in file Menino supporters but a generation of people looking for a new leader with the same tastes, values and appetite for change.

“This campaign is about Boston’s future, and the need for new ideas, new energy and new leadership,” Connolly said.

At the event, Connolly unveiled an innovative social organizing tool to engage voters.  This feature, which will be available when the full campaign website launches in April, gives supporters the opportunity to mobilize their friends and neighbors through social networking sites.

Connolly, a former teacher and father of two young children, said that his campaign would focus on the need for new ideas and a transparent and inclusive approach to solving the challenges facing Boston and, especially, its public school system, the cornerstone of his candidacy.

“The success of our schools directly impacts our ability to create safe, healthy, and livable neighborhoods as well as our ability to create jobs, attract talent, and retain families in Boston,” Connolly said. “As Mayor, I will remake our system by decentralizing a school department headquarters that spends over $1 billion per year by focusing on investing in people and programs at our schools.

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