Governor Patrick, Attorney General Coakley, Treasurer Grossman, Auditor Bump, Senate President Murray, Speaker DeLeo, The Boston Delegation, Members of Congress, District Attorney Conley, members of the City Council, distinguished guests – especially our soldiers and veterans – and fellow residents.
Last year I said we would face tough times, and we have. I also said that our commitment to one another would carry us through, and it did. So I stand before you, a grateful Mayor.
I am forever grateful to my wife Angela. I ruined our trip, and she still hasn’t kicked me out. She stood by me and our city like she always has.
I am grateful for my doctors, nurses, therapists, and hospital staff. They embody the words of a young president who spoke of God’s work truly being our own.
I am grateful to our public servants. They didn’t seek the spotlight, and they didn’t miss a beat.
I’m especially grateful for all of the visitors, the prayers, and the hundreds of cards and well wishes that poured in day after day. I am just Tommy Menino from Hyde Park. I can’t tell you how humbled I am and how lucky I feel. I don’t need fancy words to say this to all of you: Thank you. You pulled me through.
The outpouring of concern and support was truly incredible, but the truth is those cards said more about Boston than me. They are full of pride for our city, and they should be. Because from Orient Heights to Dorchester Heights, we continue to make great strides.
Last year, Boston broke ground on $1.6 billion worth of development. Twenty-two major projects put thousands of construction workers back on the job. Our real estate market is stronger than any place in the country.
Hundreds of companies and thousands of jobs have come to the Innovation District. Pay-Pal is along the Greenway. Converse is coming to Lovejoy Wharf. New Balance is expanding in Brighton. Digital companies are making downtown their new home. Innovation is raising our game not just on our waterfront, but across our city.
In our neighborhoods, we are making investments to keep Boston a livable city for families. We upgraded the Shelburne Community Center in Roxbury. We broke ground on a stunning new library in East Boston with a fantastic reading porch and outdoor classroom. And we welcomed 40,000 new library cardholders this past year. In West Roxbury, work is underway to improve Billings Field, and soon we’ll open Draper Pool to the park around it.
Our Neighborhood Response Teams have raised the quality of life, and our public safety strategies have reduced violent crime. Two thousand units of housing are under construction across our city.
Think about this for just a moment. Think about how much has changed: The Orchard Gardens School is a national success story. One of our school system’s biggest challenges is over-enrollment. We’ve gone from what some have called a food backwater to a national leader on food policy and food innovation. Condos are selling out in Downtown Crossing, of all places. Our South Boston waterfront is a hotspot. There is a crane over Dudley Square. Young people are flooding, not fleeing the city. Older Bostonians are returning.
Our progress is real. Our future is bright. The state of our City is striking, sound, and strong.
Uncertainty around the globe and gridlock in Washington create real challenges. We shouldn’t excuse Washington for their actions, but neither should we make them an excuse for our in-action. We shouldn’t focus on the inability of others to get things right. We should do right by the abilities of people here in Boston. Our human potential is enough to power Boston’s growth if we muster the courage and the creativity to unleash it. Others can help us get better, but only we can make us great.
Our most important collection of talent lies in our young people. So our first task is improving public education in our city. Our 2010 reforms created turnaround schools, launched in-district charter schools, overhauled teacher evaluation, and won new resources for our classrooms. The best way to celebrate those accomplishments is not with applause, but with an encore.
I am fighting to gain the power to extend freedoms in hiring and learning time to many more schools across the district. If a school has to fail before it gets flexibility, it’s not just the school that is failing, it’s us!
I am also proposing to eliminate the cap on In-district charter schools, like UP Academy. They took over the Gavin School in South Boston, taught the same kids and had great success. UP had the highest growth in math of any middle school in the state.Continued...