Mayor-Elect Walsh says goodbye to House colleagues

On his way from the House of Representatives to Boston City Hall, Mayor-elect Marty Walsh brought his fellow lawmakers to their feet several times Wednesday afternoon, as he gave a farewell, imparted thanks on most everyone in the chamber and recounted his days as a “hotheaded” freshman representative in 1997.

Walsh, who beat City Councilor John Connolly for the mayoralty on Nov. 5, said he would be back in the chamber in January asking for more money for Boston.

Walsh paid particular attention to Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty, whom he said he had not known before taking office, when the two grew a close bond. Walsh also singled out Councilor Frank Baker, who he said had gone to school with him and supported him from his first run for office. “I’m very proud of the work that happens in this building," Walsh said.

"Often times you know we don’t get looked upon favorably by the press and by people outside but I’m proud of all my colleagues.”

Before taking over for Mayor Thomas Menino, Walsh plans to remain in the House for the rest of the year, when both branches will meet in lightly attended informal sessions.

The State House News Service coverage of his remarks is below. It is an accurate summary, not a verbatim transcript.

As Rep. M. Walsh took the podium, the members and guests stood and cheered. Time was 4:28 p.m. Sen. Petruccelli stood next to Sen. Finegold.

Rep. Martin Walsh of Dorchester said, It’s great to be here today. Actually it’s not great. It’s a sad day. I was thinking about what do you say when you work in a place that you love. I walked through these doors April 12, 1997. I walked into then Speaker Finneran’s office. I didn’t know what to expect, and I said I didn’t have any prepared remarks, so he gave me a pencil. My mother and father were here and my uncle Pat. My father and uncle Pat aren’t here today but they’re watching. I’m very proud of the work that happens in this building We don’t always agree on all the issues. Early on, the minority leader was going off on something. Someone said to me, what happens in the chamber, stays in the chamber. I try to treat all my colleagues with respect. It’s important we have that. Every time I walk into the chamber, I look up at the ceiling. When this country was founded, it was founded with this Legislature. I’m honored to get elected to lead the city of Boston. I can tell you already, this is one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had. All the people in my life. I’ve had them hidden. There are some people up there waiting for me to stop talking so they can get their bill through (laughter). Everyone I had on my staff, they made me look good. The reason I was successful was the people who worked with my over the years. I want to thank you all for the work you have done. (Standing ovation). I also want to introduce a childhood friend. He supported me from the first day I wanted to run for state rep, my friend City Councilor Frank Baker. (Standing ovation). As you know I got elected halfway through the term. We were named the Band of Merry Men by the speaker. That was because the gentleman from Malden filed an amendment, which I loved, and we went down swinging. The speaker had to go around getting some votes flipped around. Some from that class are still here in this chamber. I want to mention a few colleagues. Jack Hart, who’s here today (Standing ovation). After that amendment, the gentleman from Southie had some budget stuff, and he couldn’t get it through. And the gentleman from Burlington couldn’t get it through. We tried to stare down the speaker and that didn’t work. The gentleman from Hyde Park told me to look up at that board and whatever the top lefts says, vote that way. I would take that advice later on. Now I try to give him advice. I want to thank the gentleman form North Reading, the minority leader. Thank you. I don’t regard you as Republicans; I regard you as friends. I want to thank you for your help and support and backing off amendments when I asked you to at times. I want to thank you as well. (Applause). I want to thank the clerk’s office. I want to thank you for your support. I want to thank House counsel. I want to thank all the staff. We might think we’re special, but it’s our staff that makes us look good everyday. (Applause). I want to thank the park rangers as well, who protect us. I want to thank you all for the work you do. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for everything you helped me with and the support you showed me when you made me the chairman of Ethics. I will be back in January looking for more money for the city of Boston so remember that. (laughter and applause). I want to thank the gentleman from Chelsea. I didn’t know him. I knew Jack. I didn’t know Gene. Our parents met and they got along like long lost friends from Ireland. We’ve fought over the years. He’s my friend. I’m going to miss him. (Standing ovation) I want to thank all of you, my colleagues. I want to thank you for the sacrifices your families make. I’d love to name every single one of you. I didn’t forget you Chip, I see you. I want to thank my constituents, Chip and Mike, who are here. This has been an incredible journey that I’ve had. When I came into this chamber, I might have been of a hotheaded guy from Dorchester. I’m rambling now, so I’m going to stop talking in a second. I didn’t know what I was going to say when I came to this rostrum today. I’m glad I went off message. There’s one other person to thank. That’s Lorrie. She’s been a rock for me the last eight years, and especially the last eight months. I want to thank Lorrie. (Standing ovation.) To the people of the Thirteenth Suffolk, I want to thank you for sending me here nine times. To the people of Dorchester, and the last time the people of Dorchester and one precinct in Quincy. There was the longest serving member. He grabbed me and said, you’re not a freshman because you’re from Dorchester. The Thirteenth Suffolk will send a great member to this chamber in 13 months probably. Thank you. (Standing ovation)

Rep. M. Walsh greeted Reps. Basile and Donato on the rostrum and Clerk James. He greeted and posed for photos with Rep. Mariano, Rep. Jones, Rep. Kafka and others as a line formed to greet him.

Sen. Jehlen and Sen. Kennedy were both present along the back wall. Time was 4:46 p.m.



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