President-elect Joe Biden introduced Thursday that he has chosen Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to be his labor secretary, choosing a former union employee who shares Biden’s Irish-American background and working-class roots.
Walsh, 53, has served because the Democratic mayor of Boston since 2014. When he took the oath of workplace in 2018 for his second time period as Boston’s chief govt, Biden presided over the inauguration. Biden made the announcement hours after Walsh’s choice was confirmed by two folks accustomed to the president-elect’s resolution. The folks spoke on situation of anonymity earlier than Biden’s formal announcement.
Biden deliberate to introduce the latest additions to his financial crew to the general public at an occasion Friday in Wilmington, Delaware.
“This crew will assist us emerge from essentially the most inequitable financial and jobs disaster in fashionable historical past by constructing an economic system the place each American is in on the deal,” he stated in a press release. “They share my perception that the center class constructed this nation and that unions constructed the center class.”
Biden additionally introduced that he has tapped Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to be commerce secretary and Isabel Guzman, a California small-business advocate, to steer the Small Enterprise Administration.
Walsh was a state consultant for greater than a decade earlier than turning into mayor.
Walsh, a former union employee, has a protracted historical past with labor. He served as president of Laborers Native 223 and, earlier than turning into mayor, headed up the Boston Constructing Trades — a union umbrella group.
At Walsh’s second mayoral inauguration, Biden praised him for his character and efforts to create a thriving center class, calling him a “man of extraordinary character in a second after we want extra character and unbelievable braveness.”
“We’re at a second when mayors and governors matter greater than they ever did,” Biden stated on the occasion. “We want leaders who will arise in opposition to the ugly divisiveness spewing out of Washington day-after-day.”
Throughout his tenure as mayor, Walsh has overseen the town’s ongoing rejuvenation, which has led to challenges that embrace gentrification and rising housing prices.
He’s additionally grappled with the town’s historical past of racial tensions to attempt to make the town extra welcoming for folks of all backgrounds.
Most just lately, Walsh has helped lead the town by the continuing coronavirus pandemic with its myriad challenges, from serving to preserve native companies to making sure widespread testing for the coronavirus to determining the way to preserve entry to public colleges.
Walsh and Biden share an Irish American background.
Final yr, Biden videotaped a message for the town’s annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. The occasion pulls collectively the state’s high elected officers, Democrats and Republicans, to get pleasure from Irish music and meals — and cringe-worthy jokes.
“We Irish, as you realize, we’re dreamers, but we’re realists. We’re religious, but we’re doubters. We’re compassionate, but we’re demanding. All the things in us runs deep: unhappiness and pleasure, heartache and hope, fortitude and religion,” Biden stated in his message final yr. “We’re the one folks on earth who’re at all times nostalgic for the long run.”
The son of Irish immigrants, Walsh grew up in a triple-decker in Boston’s working-class Dorchester neighborhood. As a toddler, he survived a four-year bout with Burkitt lymphoma beginning when he was 7.
Walsh stated one of many hardest issues about his most cancers remedy was dropping his hair, which he stated was crimson on the time and laborious to match for a wig. He later recalled how somebody residing on the highest ground of the three-family house clipped a little bit of his hair and got here again later with an an identical crimson wig.
Walsh has additionally been forthcoming about his early struggles with alcohol and has used his historical past with habit to encourage others to hunt assist. He started his speech on the 2016 Democratic Nationwide Conference by saying: “Good night. My identify is Marty Walsh, and I’m an alcoholic.”
“On April 23, 1995, I hit all-time low. I awakened with little reminiscence of the evening earlier than and even much less hope for the times to come back,” he stated on the time. “All people was dropping religion in me, everyone besides my household and the labor motion.”
His nomination was praised by union leaders Thursday.
Mary Kay Henry, worldwide president of the Service Workers Worldwide Union, stated Walsh brings a “pro-worker imaginative and prescient” to the Labor Division that’s badly wanted and known as him a “champion for working folks.”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka stated Walsh shall be an “distinctive” labor secretary who understands that collective bargaining will fight inequality, beat COVID-19 and develop alternatives for immigrants, ladies and other people of energy.
“From the Boston Constructing and Building Trades Council to the Massachusetts State Home to the mayor’s workplace to his personal private journey with overcoming habit, Marty Walsh has at all times been a fighter who understands the ability of working folks standing collectively for a greater life,” Trumka stated.
Walsh’s union historical past has led to some awkward moments as mayor, together with when two former Walsh aides had been charged with bullying music competition organizers into hiring union staff.
Kenneth Brissette, the town’s former director of tourism, and Timothy Sullivan, who was chief of intergovernmental affairs, had been convicted in federal court docket in 2019 of conspiring to extort the organizers of the Boston Calling music competition by withholding metropolis permits.
A federal choose later tossed the convictions, saying the federal government did not show the existence of a quid professional quo.