Mayor Marty Walsh Talks Alcoholism in DNC Speech

‘Eighteen years later, I became Mayor of Boston, a city of big dreams and big hearts.’

Mayor Marty Walsh points as he exits the stage after speaking during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Photo via AP

Update, 11 p.m.: Mayor Walsh delivered his speech to the Democratic National Convention Monday night, and as promised, he shared his personal story of recovery from alcoholism, linking his sobriety to support from the American labor movement. Here’s the full text from his speech:

Good evening. My name is Marty Walsh, and I’m an alcoholic.

On April 23, 1995, I hit rock bottom. I woke up with little memory of the night before and even less hope for the days to come. Everybody was losing faith in me, everybody except my family and the labor movement.

I followed my father into the Building Trades when I was 18 years old. Labor gave my immigrant family a chance. And the labor community got me the help I needed, and gave me a second chance. Eighteen years later, I became Mayor of Boston, a city of big dreams and big hearts.

As Mayor, I work to get everyone a fair shot and a second chance, whether it’s apprenticeships, free community college, or help starting a business. There’s no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton is the champion American workers need. She will help workers get the skills, the jobs – and the childcare – they need to support strong families.

She believes in an America that’s not just for those with advantages. She believes in an America for those who need a helping hand: People with addictions, moms working two jobs, students with debt, seniors struggling to retire, workers facing layoffs — and people like the carpenters and electricians Donald Trump hired but then refused to pay — just because he could.

We may not have our names in gold on the outside of any buildings we worked on. But our sweat, our work, and our pride is on the inside of every one of them.

Hillary Clinton knows that. She believes what I learned in my labor family: We are stronger together.

This is our choice: Are we going to let Donald Trump stiff working families so he can take more for himself and those at the top? Or are we going to stick together and build an economy that works for everyone?

I know where I stand. I stand with the women and the men of every race, creed, and color who built this country. And I stand as a living example of Hillary Clinton’s vision for America: Where everyone gets a fair shot, and a second chance, to achieve their dreams.

That’s the America I believe in.

That’s the America I’ve lived.

And that’s why America’s working people are going to elect Hillary Clinton our next president.

Thank you, and God Bless America.

Previously: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has been outspoken about his ongoing recovery from alcoholism, and he says he will take the story of how he got sober to a national audience Monday night.

Walsh is scheduled to be among the first speakers at the Democratic National Convention tonight in Philadelphia when he takes the stage—sometime between 7 and 8 p.m., according to Politico.

“It’s an important conversation. It’s about second chances and giving people opportunities for those second chances. I believe, as a city, and Secretary Clinton believes as a country, we have to believe in second chances,” Walsh said in an interview this afternoon with the New York Times, which was broadcast on Facebook Live.

Walsh has been sober since 1995, and his well-documented journey has helped define him as a politician and informed his takes on some of the hottest-button issues in Massachusetts right now, notably his opposition to an effort to legalize recreational marijuana via a ballot question in November. More than 20 years into his recovery, he reportedly still attends meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous.

In today’s interview with the Times, he also criticized last week’s Republican National Convention for what he described as a lack of substance and a focus on “buzzwords.” He also touted his administration’s efforts to house homeless veterans and defended himself against criticism about funding for Boston schools.

Walsh went on to weigh in amid party infighting between supporters of Hillary Clinton and those who back Bernie Sanders, given how popular Sanders was for Massachusetts voters.

“I understand the issues that a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters are supporting,” he said. “They’re going to get those addressed under a Clinton White House. They’re not going to get those issues addressed under a Trump White House. And I think that, as a matter of fact, the Trump White House would set a lot of different progressive issues back generations, and that is what’s at stake in this election for a lot of Bernie Sanders voters.”

  • Mumbles

    I’m glad Walsh turned his life around and I admire him for working on his recovery.

    That said why is this part of a political convention? Yes I know he linked his recovery to labor, but that is a very tangential connection. He could have talked about labor and its positive effects on economies and wages writ large.

    We should treat elected officials as people we hire for a job. Do you go around telling your bosses about your personal life? FDR went out of his way to not be shown in a wheelchair. John Kennedy never talked about his bad back or thyroid condition.

    People complain that elections have become personality contests – less about issues, more about ‘who would you rather have a beer with?’ To stop that, perhaps we should keep elected officials’ lives private.