Councilor Michelle Wu is one of the thirteen Boston City Councilors, and she represents the whole city in her capacity as City Councilor At-Large. First elected to the Boston City Council in November 2013 at the age of 28, Wu is the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Council. In January 2016, she was elected President of the City Council by her colleagues in a unanimous vote, becoming the first woman of color to serve as Council President.
Councilor Wu was the lead sponsor of Boston's Paid Parental Leave ordinance and Healthcare Equity ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity -- both of which passed unanimously through the Council and were signed into law by Mayor Martin J. Walsh. She also authored Boston’s Communications Access ordinance, which guarantees translation, interpretation and assistive technology for access to city services regardless of English language proficiency or communications disability.
As a former restaurant owner, legal services attorney, and legal guardian of her younger sister, Wu understands firsthand the barriers that families and communities face. She has a background in community advocacy, having worked at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain, providing legal advice to low-income small business owners, as well as at the Medical-Legal Partnership at Boston Medical Center on immigration law cases for survivors of domestic violence.
In 2016, Councilor Wu was honored as one of Ten Outstanding Young Leaders by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and as part of Marie Claire magazine’s New Guard: The 50 Most Influential Women in America.
Michelle Wu graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She lives in Roslindale with her husband Conor and her sons Blaise and Cass.
2018 Internship Reflection:
City Councilor Michelle Wu is committed to improving the lives of all Bostonians by advocating for social, economic, and environmental justice issues that stem from Boston’s history of inequality. On the daily at the office, I address constituent concerns, write policy memos, and support full-time staff on their neighborhood-specific initiatives. Along with Councilor Wu’s many other interns—fondly nicknamed the “Wuterns” or “Wu Tang Clan”—I have the opportunity to see my research directly influence City Council ordinances and our constituent outreach efforts. I have specifically completed projects on ways to support female, minority, and immigrant entrepreneurs in the city; proposed possible regulations on formula “chain” businesses; and performed outreach to local restaurants regarding BYOB policies.
Working at Councilor Wu’s office also brings the major benefit of working with staff who are kind, passionate and committed. They make sure that we can work on projects of our interest but that we also have exposure to all the moving parts of municipal government. We often go on field trips to different city departments, quasi-public agencies, and NGOs such as the Boston Redevelopment Authority, New Urban Mechanics, Boston Metro Housing, and the Nashua Street Jail. There is also the opportunity to sit in on meetings with community advocates as well as attend weekly City Council meetings and hearings. Councilor Wu’s office provides a foray into local government and is a perfect opportunity to break the Harvard “bubble” and become involved in Metro Boston civic life.
Fiona Fitzgerald '19
2017 Internship Reflection:
Working for City Council President Michelle Wu has been a wonderful experience. Council Wu strives to be "a voice for Boston's future through inclusion, innovation, and transparency," and as an intern I have been involved in dealing with constituent issues, drafting policy positions, writing memos, and conducting research. Along with several other undergraduate interns and two graduate student interns, I work in close conjunction with Council Wu's staff. The office has a great workplace environment -- everyone is approachable and eager to share insights. Council Wu has a personal relationship with each intern and takes interest in their research pursuits. I am specifically looking into environmental justice issues this summer, particularly examining tree coverage, green space access, heat islands, and green roofs and their correlations with neighborhoods and neighborhood demographics.
Working in Downtown Boston is a great way to spend a summer. The Boston Common and Public Garden are only a five minute walk away, and endless recreation and dining options surround the area, providing a perfect opportunity to meet up with friends or other interns during lunch break or after work. City Council hearings are always interesting, with representatives from various departments, sectors, and backgrounds presenting all kinds of new perspectives on a host of concerns. From budget hearings and conversations about the opioid crisis, to liquor licensing talks and discussions about "greening" City Hall, there is always a lot to learn in the council chamber. I've additionally had the pleasure of sitting in on meetings between Council Wu and non-profit groups, city officials, and representatives from other cities. This internship has been a wonderful introduction to public service at the local level.
Alessandro Ferzoco '18