Flynn's Record Victory in Boston Hard to Translate into National Success
Nov. 06, 1991
BOSTON (AP) _ With a record victory in hand, Mayor Raymond Flynn feels poised for a national role.
He wouldn't mind running the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1993, for instance. Of course, that would require a Democratic presidential victory in 1992.
''I'd be all over the place,'' he told the Boston Globe in an Election Day interview. ''I'd be fixing up every park and playground in America, dealing with the issues of quality, affordable housing and building neighborhood partnerships.''
With a war chest larger than any Democratic presidential candidate, an unprecedented 75 percent win Tuesday and visibility as head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the 52-year-old Flynn frequently makes the list of potential vice presidential candidates.
Still, Flynn carries liabilities. He opposes abortion rights, putting him at odds with much of his party. He's an awkward public speaker, lacking passion and eloquence.
He won all 252 precincts in the city, although to a weak opponent in a mediocre turnout.
''A strong message has been sent to Washington that issues of economic importance, the future of young children, neighborhood stability are being ignored,'' he said. ''People are looking for someone who has developed hope and opportunity for needy families in America's cities.''
At a time when incumbents have been booted out of office or simply scared out of running again, Flynn is looking forward to a third term.
''There's tons of problems in Boston; some of them may never go away, but Ray Flynn has done his best. He gives people honest answers and it sells,'' said Lawrence DiCara, a former city councilor who once unsuccessfully challenged Flynn for mayor.
Flynn was one of four sons of an Irish longshoreman and a scrubwoman who lived in the city's Irish ''Southie'' section. He and his wife, Cathy, have raised their six children in a modest house in the same neighborhood. His home telephone number is still listed.
When Flynn realized his hustling on the basketball court at Providence College wasn't enough to compete with National Basketball Association giants, he shifted careers, working as a probation officer and a community counselor.
He served in the state Legislature for four terms, from 1971 to 1978, and the Boston City Council until 1983.
Through it all, he still remembers how he was first tempted into politics.
It was one evening in 1967. Flynn got a telephone call U.S. House Speaker John McCormack, who told him to watch the evening news. President Lyndon Johnson announced he would not seek re-election and Flynn hit the road with Hubert Humphrey.
''I came back with the fire in my belly,'' Flynn said.