In front of a crowd of enthusiastic supporters in historic Faneuil Hall last weekend, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ’09, announced his support for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president in next year’s election.
“Get your sledgehammers ready, because we have a glass ceiling to demolish,” Walsh, a former labor leader, to a cheering crowd of union members at a recent campaign rally for Clinton, The Boston Globe reported.
Walsh had previously withheld his endorsement because he was torn between Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, who made his decision not to run this past October.
This, however, does not mean that the mayor is endorsing the Democratic frontrunner “in name only.”
He then added that he had wanted to wait for the field of Democratic candidates to solidify before making his choice, which for some time had been clouded by doubt.
One of the reasons the Boston mayor favors Clinton over the other candidates, which include Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and the former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, is her $10 billion plan to target drug and alcohol abuse.
Walsh, who himself is a recovered alcoholic, has received a lot of emotional and political support from his recovery community—meaning this plan is not only in line with his policies but connects to him on a more personal level.
Given Walsh’s past as a labor leader, it does not come as a surprise that Clinton began her “Hard Hats for Hillary” platform with him by her side.
Clinton announced this campaign to mobilize union workers to support her five-year, $275 billion plan to improve infrastructure.
This plan comes as Democratic candidates Sanders and O’Malley have been focusing on increasing federal spending, with Sanders introducing a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, which he plans to fund through increased taxes on the wealthy.
“I’m the only Democrat in this race [who has] pledged to raise your income, not your taxes,” Clinton later said, The Boston Globe reported, in what was a clear swipe at Sanders and his plan.
The Republican National Committee has criticized both Sanders’ and Clinton’s plans to increase federal funding, stating that while Clinton and Sanders have both said they will place the burdens of their projects on the shoulders of corporations and the wealthy, hardworking Americans would also feel the ripple economic effect of their plans.
Undoubtedly, Clinton’s new infrastructure and labor plans will continue to be a hot-button issue in the coming weeks of the campaign. For now, the goal remains to use $250 billion of the plan to directly invest in fixing roads, bridges, public transit, and airports.
The additional $25 billion would fund a national infrastructure bank. Unfortunately for Clinton, this has already been proposed in Congress by Democrats multiple times and has been blocked by Republicans every time. Concerning her labor campaign, the primary focuses are income equality and the stagnant wages of U.S. workers.
“My job as your president will be to do everything I can to create more good-paying jobs, to get wages rising again for American workers and families,” Clinton said in the same rally. “Americans have not had a raise [in a while].”
In making labor law a primary focus of her campaign, Clinton shows some similarities to her husband, President Bill Clinton.
During his tenure in office, he amended the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), with sanctions for countries’ violations of labor laws.
Furthermore, President Clinton had one of the most well-known secretaries of labor in Robert Reich, who himself is very pro-union and a strong advocate of the correction of income inequality.
“When you think about a candidate who has the experience and the resume for this job, there’s nobody ever in the history of this country that has the resume that Hilary Clinton has to run for president,” Walsh said, according to The Globe.
“At the end of the day, that’s why I opened the business,” she said.
Featured Image by Steven Senne / AP Photo