Marty Walsh ‘not going to speculate’ about Joe Biden Cabinet talk

Mayor Martin Walsh tried to bat aside questions over whether he might end up in Joe Biden’s Cabinet if his friend wins the presidency in November, saying he’s “not going to speculate” about such an appointment.

“No, I’m focused on being mayor of Boston right now,” Walsh said when the Herald asked him if he is seeking a Cabinet position in the former vice president’s potential administration.

Walsh had just wrapped up speaking at an unrelated press conference at a Seaport construction site, a stone’s throw from Martin’s Park, where he and the Democratic presidential nominee strolled around together on a warm day last summer, and right near where the pair had dinner three years ago.

Speculation has swirled for months about whether a Biden victory in November — which is far from assured, but the former VP does have a very stable polling lead — could end up with Walsh heading down to Washington. The mayor and Biden are friends, and the former vice president spoke at Walsh’s second inauguration after the mayor’s 2017 re-election. The most common landing place rumored for Walsh is secretary of labor, as the mayor was a laborer who became his local’s boss and eventually head of the powerful Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council.

Walsh, answering the question, pivoted toward some local issues.

“We had a call yesterday morning we’re talking about homelessness, we’re talking about Melnea and Mass Ave., how to deal with the problem we have with addiction and substance use disorder.” the mayor said, referring to the rough “Mass and Cass” area known as Methadone Mile in the South End. “I had a meeting yesterday afternoon talking about the trees on the project that’s coming that way. So I’m focused on being the best mayor I can be.”

The 53-year-old Dorchester native has declined to say whether he’s going to run for a third term for mayor in 2021. At-large City Councilor Michelle Wu announced on Tuesday her long-rumored leap into the race.

Asked if he’d take a Biden Cabinet position if it were offered to him, the mayor said, “I’m not going to speculate.”

Walsh noted that the Cabinet could end up being bare for Dems.

“Too many people, four years ago, were picking what offices they wanted,” Walsh said. “The night of the election, they all got a shock when Donald Trump won.”

“I find it very important that I do everything I can to make sure that Vice President Biden becomes the president and Sen. Harris becomes the vice president,” Walsh added.

If Walsh were to leave, City Council President Kim Janey would become acting mayor. She’d be the first person of color and first woman to sit in the big office on City Hall’s fifth floor.

A Walsh departure would almost certainly open the floodgates for other candidates, as an open Boston mayoral seat is seen as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Walsh, at that point a sitting state rep, won the last open race, beating nearly two dozen candidates in 2013.

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