Who Is Marty Walsh?

Marty Walsh is the current U.S. secretary of labor. Previously, he was the mayor of Boston, a post he'd served in since 2014. Then-President-elect Joe Biden nominated Walsh on Jan. 7, 2021. Walsh was confirmed by the Senate on March 22, 2021, and was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris on March 23.

Marty Walsh

Investopedia / Alison Czinkota

As secretary of labor, Walsh is a member of the president's cabinet. He is responsible for leading the Department of Labor's (DOL) efforts to promote the welfare of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees across the U.S., including administering and enforcing a wide range of labor laws.

A Democrat and Boston native, Walsh was elected mayor of Boston in 2013 and reelected to a second term in 2017. In his first term as mayor, Walsh is credited with adding more than 70,000 jobs and taking major steps to improve the public school system.

Prior to becoming Boston's mayor, Walsh was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1997 until 2014. In this position, he served as chair of the Committee on Ethics and as a co-chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party Labor Caucus. Walsh also previously served as president of the Laborers' Union Local 223 and head of the Boston Building Trades.

Walsh is viewed by many Democrats as a strong choice for labor secretary because of his extensive experience and relationships with labor unions. Walsh is the first labor secretary in nearly 50 years who is also a union member. But Biden has drawn criticism for selecting Walsh—a White man—drawing attention to what some see as a potential lack of diversity in the cabinet.

Early Career and Education

Before his career in public office, Walsh was a member of Laborers' Union Local 223. As a child, he survived a serious case of Burkitt lymphoma. Walsh has been forthcoming publicly about his early struggles with and recovery from alcoholism.

Walsh received a bachelor's degree in political science from Boston College's Woods College of Advancing Studies in 2009.

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  1. NPR. "Biden Taps Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary." Accessed Jan. 11, 2021.

  2. Politico. "Biden Chooses Boston Mayor Walsh as Labor Secretary." Accessed Jan. 11, 2021.

  3. Boston Globe. "Walsh Sworn in as Labor Secretary by Vice President Harris." Accessed April 2, 2021.

  4. U.S. Department of Labor. "Statement by Marty J. Walsh Following Senate Confirmation of His Appointment as 29th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor." Accessed April 2, 2021.

  5. U.S. Department of Labor. "About Us." Accessed Jan. 11, 2021.

  6. CBS Boston. "Marty Walsh Re-Elected as Mayor Of Boston." Accessed Jan. 11, 2021.

  7. Boston.com. "State Representative Martin J. Walsh Formally Announces Bid for Mayor of Boston." Accessed Jan. 11, 2021.

  8. Boston Herald. "Joe Biden Taps Marty Walsh for Labor Secretary." Accessed Jan. 11, 2021.

  9. Boston.gov. "Martin J. Walsh." Accessed Jan. 11, 2021.

  10. Boston College Gavel. "BC Grad Marty Walsh Becomes the Next Mayor of Boston." Accessed Jan. 11, 2021.