New mayor makes Boston history

Acting mayor Kim Janey talks about her historic role as the first Black person and first woman to hold the office in Beantown.
5:22 | 04/02/21

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Transcript for New mayor makes Boston history
Following Boston mayor Marty Walsh's confirmation as U.S. Labor secretary bean town has a new mayor and she represents many first force that city. She is the city's 55th mayor but the first who is black and the first woman to hold that top job and there she is, everybody, let's welcome Boston mayor Kim Janey. Good to see you. Thanks for being here. You've been on the job two weeks. How is it going? . Hi, T.J. Thank you for having me. It is an amazing two weeks. This is an incredible city. And I'm so grateful for the opportunity to lead. Now, officially it's supposed to be, and in some articles and things I still read, it says acting mayor, as you took over, but you have said flatly and plainly, not acting, doing. What do you mean by that? Well, doing the work. As I said, there are a lot of challenges facing our city. Our whole country in fact, as we battle covid-19, and so it's important to just do the work, and I've hit the ground running, making sure that our residents are well served here in our city, launching vaccine equity grant, $1.5 million, to engage community partners in that work. $50 million for rental relief to help our residents stay in their homes. There's just too much important work to do an act. So I'm doing the work. Is there anything that limits you? I think officially there might be some limits to what you are able to do, but in your mindset, there is no acting there, is there anything that limits your ability to go full steam ahead, put whatever policies in place, and like you said, you talk about a grant program, is there anything that hinders you from going full steam ahead? Well, we are focused on recovery, reopening, and renewal here in our city, so that we come out of this pandemic a stronger city, a stronger Boston, a more equitable city, a more just, resilient, and just better than before. So we cannot go back to normal. We have to go better. And that is the work that I am focused on. Mayor Janey, a lot of people hear Boston and they know a complicated racial history even if they don't know it that well but sometimes people just kind of defer to what they heard about Boston or what they think about Boston, how does the fact that I am sitting here talking to the first black mayor and the first woman mayor of Boston, how does that begin to change some of the conversation and the narrative? Well, I think certainly symbolizes how far our city has come. This is an amazing time, an amazing moment in our city's history. You know, we have, as a city, gone through a lot. I personally have gone through a lot in this city, and so many other residents have, but we have come a long way, and we certainly have much more work to do. And you just mentioned, you went through a lot, and I think many people might be familiar - with the story now, and they might not, you were bussed to school. Yes. During desegregation there in Boston. How does that memory, how does that experience still inform you sitting in that seat where you are now? Well, you know, that was a very painful time, a very traumatic time for me personally, and so many other children who experienced that, but on my very first day, as mayor, I went back to my childhood school, and it was just so incredible to see our students learning about that era, that our city's history there, and to have me be able to share my own story, and then stand before them, as the first black mayor and the first woman mayor. Madam mayor, how do you answer that question when people say what took so long for Boston to have a woman in that seat, a black person in that seat? You know, I am just grateful that we are moving forward. You know, there are challenges here, there are challenges everywhere, Boston is not unique in terms of dealing with sexism, and racism and any of the other "ism"s and I think there is a spirit that I want to tap into and make sure we come out of this better than before. And I know the acting thing is there, you are doing, and still, you have a chance now to officially run for mayor of Boston, coming up I think in seven months or so. Now I know you have to get the campaign gear together, you got to get the official signs, and all of that stuff, but there's no way you're not going to run for mayor, in seven months, is it? Well, I will be sharing some news next week, and hope you will tune in then. Where are you sharing that news? So we have you booked back here on the show for next week is what you're saying? Oh, great, I'd love to come back. That sounds wonderful. Okay. Mayor Janey, congratulations, I see you've got the flowers I sent you there behind you. Yes, you got the flowers I sent. That's great. Thank you. And you're wearing that red sox shirt as well.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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