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Boston’s late, revered mayor explains the power behind the city’s dramatic success — and its lessons for Washington power brokers.
When Thomas Menino stepped down from office as one of the longest-serving major-city mayors in the nation’s history, he was among the most popular politicians in modern memory. In Mayor for a New America, Menino gives a play-by-play look at how he managed to wield political influence while staying fiercely loyal to the interests of the people he was elected to serve.
The unassuming guy from Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood was an unlikely politician. He’d been a backstage campaign workhorse whose career nearly ended the second he stepped into the spotlight, tongue-tied. Although not a fancy talker, Mayor Menino took to the details of running the city he loved. By taking care of the small stuff — fixing potholes, cleaning up parks, plowing the streets quickly after snowstorms — he won the public’s trust to deliver on the big issues. He had a progressive agenda and was forward thinking in his support of an innovation economy and a champion of gay rights. He also held fast to the values of his childhood — good schools, a growing middle class, and close-knit, welcoming communities.
In this candid look back at a career that spanned the busing crisis of the 1970s, the remarkable resurgence of the neighborhoods, and the city’s extraordinary response to the Boston Marathon bombing, Menino tells behind-the-scenes stories and gives a master class in urban politics. And his proven, people-focused track record provides inspiration for a dysfunctional Washington to actually get things done — just like he did in Boston.