Connolly announces campaign for mayor of Boston

BOSTON, MA – Boston City Councilor John Connolly announced today his candidacy for Mayor of Boston. A former teacher and father of two young children, Connolly said that his campaign will focus on the need to bring change to Boston Public Schools and to bring new ideas and new energy to the challenges facing Boston.

“I am running because every child deserves a world-class education from the Boston Public Schools, and the time to deliver that education is now,” Connolly said.

Connolly has been an outspoken voice for improving Boston’s schools. Over the past year, Connolly has led a campaign with parents and elected officials to overhaul how BPS assigns students to schools, promoting the “Quality Choice Plan” that focuses on improving school quality while giving parents a guaranteed seat at a school close to home. As Chair of the City Council’s Education Committee, Connolly cast the lone vote to oppose the approval of the teacher’s union contract that failed to lengthen the BPS school day, leaving Boston with one of the shortest school days in the country. He previously exposed BPS schools serving expired food to students, called for an overhaul to the teacher evaluation process, and has been an independent voice criticizing administrative failures in a school department that spends over $1 billion per year.

“As a former teacher and a current Boston Public School parent, I know firsthand that urban schools can succeed,” Connolly said. “But through my work on the City Council and alongside other frustrated BPS parents, I’ve also learned how much work still needs to be done.”

“Boston’s future depends on building great schools, because the success of our schools directly impacts our ability to build safe, healthy, and livable neighborhoods,” Connolly said. “Failing schools have forced many young families to flee Boston, and they are a huge obstacle to Boston’s ability to create jobs, attract talent, and retain families.”

Connolly believes that a change in Boston’s leadership is necessary to bring about change in the Boston Public Schools.

“Mayor Menino is a good man, and I respect his deep commitment to our city – but transforming our schools requires new ideas, new energy, and a bold desire to challenge the status quo,” Connolly said.

In addition to his focus on schools, Connolly articulated the need for fresh leadership in reducing crime and violence, creating jobs and economic development, and improving quality of life in Boston’s neighborhoods.

“Mayor Menino has accomplished many great things during his 20 years in office, but if we want to reverse the trend of young families leaving Boston, then we need a new vision and new leadership for Boston,” Connolly said.

Connolly also unveiled his campaign web site:

Connolly and his wife Meg have two children: 4-year old Clare, who attends the Trotter Elementary School in Roxbury, and 3-year old Teddy. They are expecting their third child this summer. Meg Kassakian Connolly is a psychologist and former social worker. John Connolly grew up in Roslindale and he, Meg and their children now live in West Roxbury.

Connolly began his career as a teacher. After graduating from Harvard in 1995, he taught middle school students at the Nativity Mission School in Manhattan’s Lower East Side before returning to Boston to teach at the Boston Renaissance Charter School.

Connolly, who is 39, was first elected to an At-Large (Citywide) seat on the Boston City Council in 2007 and was reelected in 2009 and 2011. Connolly is a graduate of Roxbury Latin, Harvard College, and Boston College Law School.

In addition to his efforts to overhaul the Boston Public Schools, Connolly has also focused on improving quality of life in Boston and promoting sustainability and green policies across the City. Connolly previously chaired the Special Committee on a Livable Boston, through which he engaged community groups citywide through a year-long series of public meetings to publicize what Boston residents saw as the biggest challenges to quality of life in Boston’s neighborhoods.

Connolly also served as Chair of the Environment and Health Committee, where he was a leading voice on the Council for environmental justice and working to make Boston the greenest and healthiest city in the world. Connolly filed legislation on issues such as local strategies to combat climate change, the safe usage and disposal of energy-efficient CFL light bulbs, building a bike-share program in Boston, and the needs and challenges facing autistic children and their families in Boston. Connolly also served on Boston’s Climate Action Leadership Committee, a task force that was charged with setting goals for community-wide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

During his tenure as Education Chair, Connolly has introduced innovative truancy legislation to keep kids in school and stop the spread of youth violence. He fought to bring transparency to the school budget process, and he filed legislation urging Boston Public Schools to build an Environmental Science Academy that would set a national standard for environmental education.

Connolly’s work as Education Chair also focused on closing the achievement gap, providing universal afterschool programs for every student, fostering parental involvement, and increasing community-based learning models which link schools with community centers, libraries, and health centers to create a healthy and supportive learning environment for every child.

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