Michelle Wu becomes 1st Asian American elected Boston mayor

Progressive Michelle Wu defeated Annissa Essaibi-George to win Boston’s race for mayor on Tuesday, becoming the first woman of color and Asian American elected to the office in Boston’s nearly 200-year history. Essaibi-George conceded the race .

Why it matters: The majority of Boston’s residents today are people of color and they are flexing their political muscles as they are in other parts of the country. Wu’s victory is a dramatic turnaround for a city that nearly 50 years ago experienced one of the nation’s most violent race riots over busing, Axios’ Russell Contreras notes.

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Of note: Kim Janey became the first woman and person of color to lead the city earlier this year when she was named acting mayor after Marty Walsh resigned from the post to serve as President Biden’s Labor secretary.

Catch-up fast: Wu, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, became the frontrunner after September’s preliminary election. The progressive city councilor kicked off her campaign early last year with a focus on climate action, racial justice and housing policy.

The big picture: The face-off between the two women of color drew attention as the historic nature of the race became clear. Boston has been signaling the change from an Irish American-Italian American political machine stronghold for some time. In 2019, Boston elected the most diverse council in city history and the first with a majority of women.

As mayor, Wu will join a small but growing contingent of Asian American and Pacific Islander elected officials. AAPIs make up 2.4% of elected officials in citywide positions, and only 0.9% of all elected officials in the U.S. , according to a Reflective Democracy Campaign report released in May.

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