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Michelle Wu shies away from ‘progressive’ label with mayoral election in sight



Michelle Wu shies away from ‘progressive’ label with mayoral election in sight

Mayoral hopeful Michelle Wu is working to soften her “progressive” image as she battles it out to be the city’s next CEO with fellow city councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, who leans moderate.

“I will stand on the side of moving forward and ensuring that we are putting in place the changes and the policies to aim for our brightest future,” Wu said, during an appearance on WBZ’s “Keller at Large” on Sunday morning. “In city government, it’s about getting things done, not being judged on a scorecard of whether you said yes or no on a certain thing.”

Wu also shied away from using the hot-button phrase “defund the police” during Sunday’s interview.

‘”We need to see more resources in the combination of public safety and public health but we have to use our dollars wisely,” Wu said.

It’s a tactic the leftist could be using to woo conservative Boston voters, who largely stayed away from the ballot box during last week’s preliminary election in which Wu was the top vote-getter. Barely 108,000 voters turned up out of the city’s roughly 430,000 registered voters.

During one of the last debates, Essaibi-George attacked the field of mostly liberal Democrats, accusing them of wanting to “defund the police” and slash budgets. On the other hand, she is looking to expand them, she said.

Essaibi-George, who has been endorsed by police, firefighter and nurses unions, has wasted no time pivoting into attack mode ahead of the Nov. 2 citywide election and highlighting her centrist appeal.

During her victory speech following Tuesday’s election, Essaibi-George attacked Wu’s “unrealistic policy goals” saying, “The mayor of Boston cannot make the T free. The mayor of Boston cannot mandate rent control. These are issues the state must address.”

Wu on Sunday hit back saying any time someone characterizes her vision as “pie in the sky,” she considers it a “badge of pride.”

“We can’t afford to just nibble around the edges of the status quo,” Wu said. “We need to take the actions to secure our neighborhoods, to make sure that everyone has opportunity.”

‘We are fighting for what our communities need right now,” Wu said, citing her action to address the scale of the housing crisis, schools and ensure an equitable recovery from the coronavirus.

Essaibi-George, however, has declared it would be her to “do the work” to address issues at Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, and to improve the city’s schools.

Essaibi-George and Wu both hit the campaign trail over the weekend as they work to define their message and distinguish themselves ahead of the election.

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