Local lawmakers and members of Mayor Thomas Menino’s cabinet on Sunday morning flocked to the Cedars of Lebanon’s hall in Jamaica Plain for a fundraiser. Over 400 people attended the small-dollar event, one of several neighborhood fundraisers held every year by Menino’s campaign committee.
Menino did not tell the crowd whether he’ll be running for a sixth term, though he and Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley defended the mayor’s education record. City Councillor At-Large John Connolly, a former teacher who announced last month he will wage a mayoral campaign, is making his critique of the school system the central plank of his platform.
Conley, a former city councillor who is frequently mentioned as a potential candidate for mayor if Menino chooses not to run, emceed the Sunday fundraiser, referring to the longtime mayor as a “second father” and a mentor.
With his wife Angela by his side, Menino received standing ovations when he was introduced and after he finished his speech. He thanked the crowd, saying he was touched by the outpouring of support in the form of prayers and cards while he was in Brigham and Women’s and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital at the end of last year.
“He certainly has the energy and the ability to continue to run our city and run it well,” Conley said after the fundraiser.
Asked whether the mayor is running for reelection, Conley said, “Who knows?” before adding, “It certainly appears that way. We’re all waiting as a city to know for sure.”
Supporters of the mayor packed the wood-paneled community center, built on a hill near the Brookline-Jamaica Plain border and named for Richard Cardinal Cushing, who served as archbishop of Boston for 26 years. Some stood in line – 40 to 50 people deep at several points during the fundraiser – to shake Menino’s hand and chat with him before and after the speaking program, while others noshed on waffles, quiche and strips of bacon.
Some wore vintage buttons from Menino’s previous campaigns for mayor and City Council. One attendee, using an anonymous handle, noted Conley and Menino’s remarks and posted a picture of the fundraiser on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
The roster of local elected officials who attended the Jamaica Plain fundraiser included state Reps. Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain), Angelo Scaccia (D-Hyde Park) and Ed Coppinger (D-West Roxbury). Stephen Murphy, Ayanna Pressley, Felix Arroyo, Rob Consalvo, Michael Ross, and Matt O’Malley were among the city councillors who attended.
Top Menino aides were also in the room, including Michael Kineavy and the mayor’s chief-of-staff Mitchell Weiss, among others. Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and School Committee member Alfreda Harris also attended.