(FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Mayor Thomas Menino said Tuesday night in his annual State of the City address that he's never been more optimistic about Boston's future, and outlined new initiatives to improve education and equal opportunities for working women.
In front of a large audience, including Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and other top office holders, Menino started off by giving thanks to the many people who strengthened the Commonwealth over the year, as well as the many individuals and supporters who gave him strength while he was on the mend in the hospital.
"I'm just Tom Menino of Hyde Park. How humble I am and how lucky I am…thank you, you pulled me through," Menino said referencing his recovery from an illness that landed him in the hospital and a rehabilitation center.
Menino mentioned the departure of Sen. Jack Hart who officially resigned from the Legislature on Tuesday.
"Sen. Hart has been a true friend to the City of Boston. Going to miss you, Jackie," Menino said.
Despite the gridlock in Washington, D.C. and around the globe, Boston has made strides in the initiatives set forth in the 2012 State of the City address; however, the best way to celebrate all of Boston's accomplishment is with an encore.
"Our progress is real. Our future is bright. The state of our city is striking, sound and strong," he said in prepared remarks that cited progress on economic development and crime reduction.
Menino said Boston's first initiative should be improving public schools because young people are the key to Boston's future and continued success. He announced $30 million in new funding for underperforming schools, and described a new pilot program with Harvard and MIT through edX to bring online learning to community centers.
However, Menino also wants to address another group of individuals that make up half of the city's population: women.
Menino wants to make Boston a premiere city for working women by creating several initiatives that strive for equality, including a new Women's Workforce Council, a $1 million loan program for day care providers, and a women's networking program.
Through a Boston-wide and hopefully nation-wide initiative, Menino hopes to reduce gun violence. In light of the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Menino asked everyone to stand together and say "enough is enough."
Gun control is an issue that needs to be tackled in 2013 in order to ensure the safety of Bostonians and their neighborhoods.
Menino thanked the Boston Police Dept. and the countless others who take to the streets every day in an effort to make Boston a safer community. As a result, crime, including homicides and property crimes, were down from last year.
In last year's address, Menino promised to focus on advancing education, improving public safety, engaging the community, and creating more jobs. He also wanted to tackle and prevent obesity.
Menino's address comes hours after Sen. John Kerry was confirmed as secretary of state, setting off a special election battle for his seat.
Menino spent eight weeks in the hospital with a respiratory infection and a blood clot, complicated by a compression fracture in his spine and a diabetes diagnosis. Aides says he continued running the city as he recovered. He's made fewer public appearances as he rehabs, but looked like he was in his element while giving the State of the City.
Boston's longest serving mayor, now 70, was re-elected to a fifth four-year term in 2009; however, he did not mention if he was planning to seek re-election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.