Politics

Here’s what the 4 outgoing Boston city councilors said at their last meeting

"You've given me the greatest opportunity and the truest professional honor of my life. I will never forget it."

Boston City Council members pose for a photo at the conclusion of Wednesday's City Council Meeting at City Hall. It marked the last City Council meeting for Kim Janey, Annissa Essaibi George, Andrea Campbell, and Matt O'Malley. Erin Clark/Globe Staff
Inside City Hall

In the latest changes at City Hall, four city councilors attended their final meeting as sitting elected officials on Wednesday, offering gratitude for their time in the chamber and a few lessons learned along the way.

Councilors Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi-George, Kim Janey, and Matt O’Malley all made their curtain calls with reflections on their tenures and a clear appreciation for the colleagues they’re soon to leave behind. (For some, tears and a few tissues also made an appearance.)

“The energy in this space is amazing. It’s amazing,” Campbell said, as she took the dais. “This is love.”

All four councilors opted not to take a crack at another term in the November election, though Campbell, Essaibi-George, and Janey — the council president who served as acting mayor for the majority of this year — all launched bids for the mayor’s office this cycle.

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Remnants of the election, however, were largely absent from their goodbyes.

The lone, now former, councilor successful in her pitch to become the city’s top executive did, though, stop by the council chamber to offer parting remarks and gifts: Revere bowls with transcriptions of thanks, as per tradition.

Mayor Michelle Wu, in her remarks, underscored the historic importance of Janey’s work in the mayor’s office.

“I want to emphasize the many ways in which your impact has spilled over beyond the borders of our city to show Boston in a different light nationally (and) to build the coalitions across our state of Black and brown municipal elected officials, who now all stand ready to help us it is because of your service and leadership,” Wu said.

Also clear on Wednesday was how the council will continue to shift in 2022.

Many congratulated Councilor Lydia Edwards, who was fresh off a Tuesday state Senate primary race win in the 1st Suffolk and Middlesex District.

Edwards, a Democrat who will not face a Republican in the general election next month, will eventually leave behind her District 1 council seat.

“I’m grateful that you ran for Senate because you’re leaving the body means that I don’t have to miss being able to work with you … You have given me such an education on what it means to be a legislator,” O’Malley told her. (Each of the four councilors offered compliments to their colleagues). “You take the tough issues. You build the consensus and through sheer force of your personality and your smarts, you get things done.”

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Here’s what else the four, outgoing councilors said in their farewell remarks:

Matt O’Malley: ‘We live in the greatest city in the world, with the greatest people with the most resilient spirit.’

Councilor Matt O’Malley delivers his farewell speech to his fellow councilors. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Boston is not a Ben Affleck movie.

But O’Malley, who is departing the council after 11 years of service, said that’s the reputation the city tends to receive outside of its limits.

“People outside of my neighborhood like to make assumptions as well,” he said. “The fact of the matter is we live in the greatest city in the world, with the greatest people with the most resilient spirit.

“Do we have work to do? Of course we do. Nobody’s perfect and we should always be striving to be that better version of ourselves. But Boston is the greatest city in the world.”

O’Malley went on to call representing District 6 his dream job.

“You’ve given me the greatest opportunity and the truest professional honor of my life,” he said. “I will never forget it.”

Watch his full remarks:


Annissa Essaibi George: ‘It’s OK to do hard things. You just can’t do any of them alone.’

Councilor Annissa Essaibi George accepts a personalized gravel while attending her final City Council meeting. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Essaibi George, like many who spoke up on Wednesday, had family on her mind.

She recalled how her father once told her, “An Arab girl with an Arab name could never run for anything or be elected to anything here in this city.”

“I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to do just that more than once,” she said.

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Essaibi George expressed gratitude for the support of her parents, her husband, and her four sons.

“It was with their amazing support and encouragement that this work was all possible,” she said. “It’s OK to do hard things. You just can’t do any of them alone.”

Watch her full remarks:


Andrea Campbell: ‘Tragic things can happen in your life. It’s how you respond. It’s what you do with it. What you do with it.’

Councilor Andrea Campbell attends her last City Council meeting at City Hall on Wednesday. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Throughout her life in politics, Campbell has often drawn inspiration for her work from the life of her late twin brother, Andre.

He died in 2012, at the age of 29, from an autoimmune disease while in state custody. Their lives’ trajectories are proof of how Boston can essentially be two cities to two people, even siblings, she has said.

“It’s more than a story,” Campbell said Wednesday. “Tragic things can happen in your life. It’s how you respond. It’s what you do with it. What you do with it.”

What Campbell did with her time in City Hall, well, the experience made her a different person — “and that’s a beautiful thing,” she said.

She thanked the residents of District 4 for showing up for her over the years, and for investing in her.

“This is a district where all the red flags, every inequity you can think about exist,” Campbell said. “But yet I say that is not the narrative that we choose to tell about this district. This is a district with hardworking Black and brown residents who are civic leaders, who wake up every single day in the midst of trauma to get things done on behalf of not just themselves and their families, (but) their neighbors, their community, their city.

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“They are remarkable human beings,” she said.

Watch her full remarks:


Kim Janey: ‘I am forever-ever grateful.’

City Council President Kim Janey attends her last City Council meeting. – Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Janey, who spent much of her last year on the council serving as acting mayor, turned her attention on Wednesday to a specific area of the city: District 7, her home.

She remarked she has often said the district is “kind of ground zero for the ways that many of the inequities play out in our city.”

But she also noted how the narrative must be changed: that District 7 is resilient and serves to make Boston, as a whole, all the better.

“It is the heart of our city — literally and figuratively the heart,” she said. “And so, I am forever-ever grateful to all of them.”

Watch her full remarks:

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