Michelle Wu Sworn In as Boston Mayor, First Woman and First Person of Color Elected to Post

Michelle Wu was sworn in Tuesday as Boston mayor, becoming the city's first woman and first person of color to be elected to the position.

Wu is taking over the role from Kim Janey. According to the Associated Press, Janey was Boston's first woman and first Black resident to serve as mayor, though she was not elected to it.

Janey took over the role from Marty Walsh, who stepped down to become the U.S. secretary of labor under President Joe Biden.

"City government is special. We are the level closest to the people, so we must do the big and the small, Wu said after taking the oath of office. "After all, Boston was founded on a revolutionary promise: that things don't have to be as they always have been. That we can chart a new path for families now, and for generations to come, grounded in justice and opportunity."

During her campaign, Wu's promises included pursuing rent stabilization and a fare-free public transit system. In the AP report, Wu said she would work with partners in the state government to try to implement these proposals.

"Not only is it possible for Boston to deliver basic city services and generational change—it is absolutely necessary in this moment," Wu said. "We'll tackle our biggest challenges by getting the small things right."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Michelle Wu, Boston mayor
The election of Michelle Wu marked the first time that Boston voters elected a woman, or a person of color, to lead the city. Above, Wu raises her hand as she is sworn-in as Boston Mayor during a ceremony at Boston City Hall, on November 16. Charles Krupa/AP Photo

Wu said when she first set foot inside the cavernous Boston City Hall, she felt swallowed up by the maze of concrete hallways, checkpoints and looming counters—all reminders of why her immigrant family tried to steer clear of such spaces.

But she said her family's struggles eventually brought her to an internship with then-Mayor Thomas Menino and ultimately a seat on the Boston City Council where, she said, she learned the ropes of city government and politics.

"Today I know City Hall's passageways and stairwells like my own home," she said.

The swearing-in means Wu will now face the daunting task of trying to make good on a slew of ambitious policy proposals that were the backbone of her campaign.

The biggest hurdle to Wu's rent stabilization proposal is the fact that Massachusetts voters narrowly approved a 1994 ballot question banning rent control statewide.

Wu has said her fare-free public transport proposal would strengthen the city's economy, address climate change and help those who take the bus or subway to school or work.

Like the rent control pledge, Wu can't unilaterally do away with fares on the public transit system. Wu has said she would try to work with partners in state government to make each proposal a reality.

Wu, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan, grew up in Chicago and moved to Boston to attend Harvard University and Harvard Law School. She has two small children.

Janey made brief comments before Wu was sworn in, thanking the city for the chance to serve as mayor, even for a brief period.

"I know that Boston is in good hands and I am so proud to call you Madam mayor," Janey said to Wu.

Janey had been president of the Boston City Council before taking over as mayor, the second of the city's three mayors this year.

Janey attempted to use the status of the office in her run to replace Walsh, but she failed to garner enough votes to make it past the preliminary mayoral election that whittled the field down to two candidates—City Councilors Wu and Annissa Essaibi George.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, Democratic U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley attended the swearing-in.

Michelle Wu, Boston, swearing in
Michelle Wu is the first woman and person of color elected Boston mayor. Above, Wu raises her hand as she is sworn-in as Boston Mayor during a ceremony at Boston City Hall, Tuesday, Nov. 16. From left with Wu are her two sons Blaise and Cass, husband Conor Pewarski and Judge Myong J. Joun. Charles Krupa/AP Photo