City Councillor-Elect Michelle Wu on Wednesday defended her decision to back Councillor Bill Linehan of South Boston for the City Council presidency. After news of her expected vote for Linehan broke on Monday, she faced a backlash from progressive activists who prefer Councillor Tito Jackson of Dorchester or Councillor Matt O'Malley of Jamaica Plain in the president's seat.
In a statement, Wu said Linehan plans to decentralize the power of the office of the president and empower the council's committees. "After many, many conversations with my future colleagues, I believe Bill is the best person for the job – which is to guide the Council procedurally and to oversee the structure and independence of the body," she said.
The full statement is below.
"I have received many calls and messages regarding the upcoming vote for City Council President, from those who agree with me and those who don't.
I intend to govern as I campaigned--by listening, learning, engaging, and communicating with the communities I represent, and by building coalitions that can advance all of the City’s neighborhoods.
That is why I wanted to let you know directly that I am supporting Bill Linehan for City Council President. This wasn’t an easy decision, and it wasn’t a decision I took lightly. I’ve spoken with all the Councilors and asked about their ideas and vision for the position in detail. After many, many conversations with my future colleagues, I believe Bill is the best person for the job – which is to guide the Council procedurally and to oversee the structure and independence of the body.
I'm supporting Bill because of his ideas for the structure of the Council and his years of experience in City Hall. His plan to decentralize power and engage individual committees in deciding relevant priorities will empower Councilors to advocate for Boston residents more directly, clearly, and effectively.
To be clear, I don’t agree with every position that Bill has taken, and I have forcefully spoken my mind to him about the areas where we disagree. There’s no question that Bill Linehan and I will have some vigorous disagreements in the future, and I will use all the tools I have to change his thinking and others’ in certain areas.
Over the last year, there has been a lot of talk about a “New Boston” and an “Old Boston”, but I reject the notion that Boston is a City hopelessly divided by neighborhood, income level or political outlook. A central theme of my campaign was inclusion, and the only way we can move the whole city forward is by working together – even if that means reaching beyond the confines of what’s easy or comfortable.
My core values do not change with this vote, nor will they ever. Every person on the Council believes deeply in our city and working to make it a better place, and each person has their individual focus and priorities. I will make sure that diversity, inclusion, and access are always part of the conversation.
As my supporters, you can always count on me to be thoughtful, caring, and open about my stances and my decision-making process. Thanks for engaging in the process with me. I look forward to continuing the conversation."