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Boston City’s First Woman and Person of Color Mayor

INTERNATIONAL: Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu on Tuesday officially became the first woman and person of color to be elected mayor of Boston in nearly 200 year-long history.

The new mayor is an American lawyer before becoming a politician. She is of Chinese descent. She was the first Asian American woman to serve on the Boston City Council, who campaigned on liberal policies such as policing reforms, rent control and a Green New Deal for Boston, and was sworn in as mayor amid cheers from her supporters inside the Boston City Hall Council Chamber.

On the Boston City Council, she has authored a number of ordinances that have been enacted like preventing the city from contracting with health insurers that discriminate in their coverage against transgender individuals, protecting wetlands and supporting adaption to climate change, enacting a plastic bag ban, adopting Community Choice Aggregation, and providing for paid parental leave to municipal employees. She also pushed for a successful effort to put in place regulations on short-term rentals. She has argued for reforming the city's permitting and zoning system, including abolishing the Boston Planning & Development Agency, which she argues is overly politicized and lacks transparency.

Mayor Michelle Wu was quoted as saying, “the first time I set foot in Boston city hall I felt invisible, reminded me of why my immigrant family tried to stay away from spaces like this. We have so much work to do and it will take all of us to get it done, so let's get to work.”

The woman mayor is a progressive Democrat who has a close relationship with Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren was one of Wu's professors in law school, and Wu later worked on Warren's 2012 United States Senate campaign. Her opponent, fellow Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, is herself a woman of color, and had presented herself as the more moderate and pragmatic choice.

The city had elected only white men as mayor for nearly 200 years until the mayoral election earlier this month, though the current acting mayor, Kim Janey, who took over when former Mayor Marty Walsh joined the Biden administration, is a Black woman.

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