Menino: "I'm not retiring, but turning one page on this chapter" - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Mayor Menino: 'I did it my way'

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – Boston's longest-serving mayor took center stage at Faneuil Hall Thursday to formally announce that he would not seek a sixth term in office.

It was a hard decision, one he said was made in the last few days, but as Mayor Tom Menino strode towards the podium to the sound of Frank Sinatra's "My Way," everything seemed as it should be. He shook hands with Gov. Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Rep. Stephen Lynch, Interim U.S. Sen. Mo Cowan, and many others who supported him during his 20 years in office.

One sign held by a Menino supporter captured the pulse of the crowd, "Boston Mayor Tom Menino best mayah evah."

Menino, tried in vain to quiet the roaring crowd. "You're making it harder than it is. Enough's enough!" he said.

When things finally quieted down, Menino asked if the audience liked his music selection.

"You notice the music? ‘My Way?' I did it my Way," said Menino.

Taking a more serious tone Menino thanked all those in attendance, his family, staff, and fellow politicians, before briefly listing some of the accomplishments of which he is most proud, including graduation and enrollment rates and Boston's thriving neighborhoods.

Menino touched on his health problems saying he is "blessed" to have regained so much of his health.

"I feel better today than I have in a long, long while," said Menino.

After thanking everyone for their continued support during his sickness and rehabilitation, Menino began the hardest part, his formal announcement.

"It may not be the right way, it's how I'm doing it. I'm here with the people I love to tell the city I love, I will leave the job that I love," Menino said. "I can run. I can win," to which everyone stood on their feet and broke into applause, before Menino could finish saying, "but not in the neighborhoods all the time as I like."

Menino said his decision not to seek reelection does not mean he plans to retire. He said he plans to continue to serve the city and the public, but in a different capacity.

"Boston is the greatest city on Earth…and if you work together that will never change," Menino said.

Menino was quick to point out that his plans to step down in November should not take away from the remainder of his term.

"I have no intention of letting up just yet. I will be very proud if I change our city in some way that lasts," he said.

At the end of his scripted speech, Menino said in a somewhat joking tone, "Just think of what I can do in nine months. I don't have to worry about anything. No voters. We can have some real fun."

Rumors spread that Menino planned to leave his post Wednesday night. Then, he confirmed the rumors on the Fox 25 Morning News Thursday morning, saying the decision was agonizing.

"I love the job I love the city, once again I can do a mayor's schedule, but I can't do a Menino schedule," said Menino who, in addition to his mayoral duties, is well known for his deep commitment to attending community events.

In a 2009 study by the Boston Globe, an unprecedented 57-percent of Bostonians said they had met the mayor. He tells FOX 25 he hopes his legacy will be his commitment to community involvement.

"I hope that's what people remember me by, that I've been out there in every neighborhood in Boston," said Menino.

Menino was the city's first Italian-American mayor, breaking a nearly century-long domination of city politics by Irish-American mayors that began with John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, the grandfather of President John F. Kennedy and Sens. Robert and Edward Kennedy, and would include the legendary James Michael Curley.

Menino grew up in Hyde Park, far from the city's traditional political power bases. This, said Lawrence DiCara - a onetime mayoral candidate himself - gave Menino empathy with residents who often felt ignored by City Hall.

"He grew up an Italian kid in an Irish city and he grew up in a neighborhood that no one came from," said DiCara.

"I could win reelection easily," joked Menino at an emotional staff luncheon Thursday afternoon.

Menino said he had hoped to tell his staff about his decision before the media found out, but that didn't go according to plan. At the luncheon he thanked his staff for years of hard work and public service.

"You guys make the city what it is," Menino told staffers. "You're the heart and soul of Boston."

Menino also said he had no plans to retire.

"Can you imagine me being retired?" Menino asked. "I will still be involved in something, someplace that makes a difference in the city."

He also joked about another job in public service.

"A friend of mine owns a couple of Dunkin Donuts shops," said Menino. "That's the first job offer I got."

Politicians from across the state took time out of their day to thank the mayor for his storied career on Thursday. Gov. Deval Patrick released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying it is hard to imagine Boston without Menino as mayor.

"No one loves this City and her people more, or is more excited about her future," says Gov. Patrick. "Mayor Menino has become a valued partner to me on policy and politics, and a trusted and beloved friend. I thank him for his extraordinary and tireless service to the people of Boston, and look forward to leaning on his wisdom for many more years to come."

In March, Menino, now 70, told FOX 25's VB that he loved being mayor, but hadn't decided if he would run for a sixth term.

Boston City Councilor John Connolly believes he is up for the challenge and officially announced his running for the city's top job in February. Connolly released a statement Thursday morning saying it was not the day to discuss the city's future, but rather a day to thank "a great man for being a great mayor."

"Today we celebrate and thank Mayor Menino for his service and unquestionable love for our City," says Connolly. "There is no doubt in my mind that we live in a better Boston because of Mayor Menino's many years of thoughtful and caring leadership."

Another city councilor says he is giving "great consideration" to running. City Councilor Charles Yancy thanked Mayor Menino for his service during the FOX 25 Morning News on Thursday and also said he was discussing a potential run for mayor with family, friends, and his campaign team.

Late last year, Menino was hospitalized for eight weeks with a respiratory infection and a blood clot, complicated by a compression fracture in his spine and a diabetes diagnosis. Aides said he continued running the city as he recovered. He had made fewer public appearances as he rehabilitated, but looked like he was in his element while giving the State of the City Address in January.

 

 

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