Michelle Wu announced on Sept. 15 that she is running for Mayor of Boston in the 2021 mayoral election.
Running on a progressive platform, Wu hopes to tackle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism during her campaign. Both issues are at the forefront of political campaigns this year.
Wu plans to double down on testing in Boston, and to increase the effectiveness of contact tracing. She aims to address the racial disparities in healthcare as well, citing the pandemic as the force that exposed the gap between white people and BIPOC in terms of healthcare access. Additionally, Wu wants the healthcare system to be more inclusive of people with disabilities, non-English speakers, and people seeking gender-affirming care.
Wu is a critic of recent steps Walsh has taken to address racial justice in Boston. Walsh announced that he will be creating a Boston Racial Equity Fund, where nonprofits that aim to improve BIPOC’s access to quality education, economic development, and other areas, will be given investments. Wu fears that officials would not take further action in implementing reforms to achieve racial justice due to the funds.
Wu is also a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained national attention due to the anti-racism protests spurred by the death of George Floyd. She appeared in a video released in July, which featured Asian-American leaders in the state expressing support for the fight against the racism Black people face in the U.S.
Wu developed various policy outlines, such as the Boston Green New Deal, abolishing the Boston Planning and Development Agency and Free-the-T.
The Boston Green New Deal includes many goals for reaching environmental and racial justice for the city, such as becoming carbon neutral by 2040 and improving environmental conditions in communities largely populated by BIPOC.
Wu’s Free-the-T plan also ties into the idea of sustainability. Eliminating MBTA fares would aid those who take the train instead of driving a car in order to reduce emissions, along with easing the burden for working-class people who use the MBTA as their main transportation.
According to Wu, the Boston Planning and Development Agency is lacking transparency. Despite the increases in developments, Wu believes that core issues surrounding development, such as housing prices and segregation, coupled with the flaws of the MBTA, are not being addressed by the BPDA.
Wu’s proposal—to abolish the BPDA in order to increase the government’s influence over developments—seeks to make housing in Boston more affordable and to end urban renewal.
Wu is the daughter of Taiwanese parents. She received her B.A. from Harvard University, attending Harvard Law School afterwards to receive her J.D. Wu became the first Asian-American on the Boston City Council in 2013. She is also the first woman of color to be elected as the President of the City Council. She worked with Senator Elizabeth Warren for Warren’s 2012 campaign, serving as the Constituency Director. Wu also worked with former Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy.
The mayoral election in Boston is set to be on Nov. 2, 2021. Although he has not officially announced it yet, incumbent Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh is expected to run for re-election. Wu will campaign against Walsh and Boston city councilor Andrea Campbell, who recently joined the race.