Former Mayor Thomas Menino dies at 71, leaving a legacy of progress.
On Thursday, former Boston mayor Thomas Michael Menino, who served five consecutive terms on the promise and practice of pragmatic and effective leadership, passed away after having been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. He was 71.
Menino was an anomaly of the Boston politico. Never shy to abandon the grander surrounding what the city could be, opting instead for a position of practicality, asking himself: What can I actually do for the city? In criticism to the starry-eyed dreamers he saw dotting the political scape, Menino once famously said, “visionaries don’t get things done.”
Whether he was right or not is certainly a topic for debate, but one thing that’s certain, is that while in office Menino inspired progress.
“No man possessed a greater love for our city, and his dedicated life in service to Boston and her people changed the face of the city,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Menino’s successor, told The Boston Globe.
His mayoral tenure, which began in 1993, ushered in an age of development for the historic city. Menino accelerated and expanded building throughout Boston, adding millions of square feet of both residential and commercial space.
“With sheer determination and unmatched work ethic, (Menino) put us on the world stage as a national leader in healthcare, education, innovation and the nitty-gritty of executing basic city services,” Walsh said.
And though Mayor Menino has passed, his legacy and contributions to public policy will continue improving the city for years to come, particularly his Housing Boston 2020 program, which promised to add 30,000 new housing units in the city by the year 2020. However, an alteration to the plan by current Mayor Walsh extended the timeline to 2030 and tacked on an additional 23,000 planned units – something that should help address the city’s crippling shortage.
In a statement following the celebrated politician’s passing, President Barack Obama released a statement applauding Menino’s efforts and career, saying, “As Boston’s longest-serving mayor, Tom helped make his hometown the vibrant, welcoming, world-class place it is today. His legacy lives on in every neighborhood he helped revitalize, every school he helped turn around, and every community he helped make a safer, better place to live.”