The Race for City Hall

Globe profile of John Connolly highlights his passion for schools

The Boston Globe has been profiling all 12 of the mayoral candidates for the past two weeks. In today’s feature, reporter Wesley Lowery sizes up City Councilor John Connolly. Here is an excerpt:

The dashboard clock reads 7:44 a.m. as John Connolly carefully straps Teddy, just shy of his fourth birthday, into the back seat of the family’s dark gray minivan. First stop, the Parkway School, a two-story preschool with a half-dozen “John Connolly for Mayor” signs on the front gate.

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Then it is back home, where he helps his wife, Meg, corral the rest of the Connolly crew in the van, including newborn MaryKate, who has miraculously slept through the morning’s tumult, and their very excited 5-year-old, Clare, purple lunchbox in hand.

For a man who has gone to great lengths to carve out a profile as the race’s “education candidate,” the morning’s task is as symbolic as it is personally important: It is the first day of school.

“Wait, wait,” Clare calls out, reaching back into the house to grab a second campaign sticker for her lunchbox before they all drive to the Trotter School in Dorchester for the start of kindergarten.

While campaigning recently, John Connolly spoke with Mary Franklin on Woodrow Avenue in Dorchester where her husband was killed in 1996.

Connolly’s ideas for shaking up the city’s schools are central to his bid for office, the reason he entered the race, the reason his supporters love him, the reason his detractors despise him.

His speeches include passionate appeals to improve school quality, his television commercials chronicle his fight to rid school cafeterias of expired food, and many of his endorsements have been announced on elementary school steps.

The 40-year-old councilman even held his February campaign launch, which came well before Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced he would not seek reelection, at a school, speaking just feet from Brighton High School.

Time and time again, Connolly has stressed that schools are the key to ensuring that Boston’s children can grow up, be educated, and come back to raise their families in the city, as he did.

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For more candidate profiles and a breakdown on where the hopefuls stand on key issues, go to bostonglobe.com/mayor.

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