This morning Boston Mayor Tom Menino announced at Fanueuil Hall that he would not seek a sixth term in office.
Menino’s announcement doesn’t come as a surprise. Menino has been in poor health since his last re-election in 2009. He was hospitalized for two months at the end of 2012 for an upper respiratory infection and a blood clot.
Menino became Mayor in July 1993 after President Clinton appointed Ray Flynn as Ambassador to the Holy See. He was the city’s first Italian-American Mayor. Menino was elected in his own right that November and then re-elected four times.
Last summer, Menino made national headlines with his heavy handed efforts in opposing Chick-fil-A’s expansion into Boston because of CEO Dan Cathy’s views against same sex marriage. Menino quickly clarified his position following a public backlash.
Nicknamed “Mumbles”, Menino was not exactly known for skills as an orator. I remember when Menino appeared in a commercial with Red Sox slugger David Ortiz a few years back. I don’t have a link to the video but I can tell you this much. Big Papi’s English is easier to comprehend than Menino’s.
But I’ll give Menino this much. He was a graduate of the Woody Allen school of public life: 90% of life is showing up. Menino was everywhere. It didn’t matter if it was in Beacon Hill or in Roxbury, if there was a public event in the city limits, Menino was there. He was a master of retail politics. Without pounding the pavement, shaking hands and showing up, Menino would not have been a five term mayor. Whoever succeeds him this November will have some huge shoes to fill.
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