Mike Ross has represented District 8 on the Boston City Council since his election in 1999. One of the most diverse in Boston, the district includes Back Bay, Beacon Hill, West End, Fenway, Kenmore Square, Audubon Circle, and Mission Hill. Mike’s commitment to innovative leadership has strengthened the communities he serves—and the entire city—over the past decade.
Upon taking office, Mike faced an issue that would alter the character of not only the Fenway, but of the entire city—the debate over whether to build a new Fenway Park. He was one of the first elected officials to speak out against the proposed new facility, and was an advocate for mixed-use development around the stadium. Today, historic Fenway Park still stands and the neighborhood has seen one of the greatest renewals in our city, making it one of Boston’s most vibrant areas.
Mike has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of every resident of Boston. He brought physical education back to the Tobin K-8 School in Mission Hill and the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, and helped lead the effort to make physical fitness a priority in all Boston Public Schools. He has championed the opening of elementary schools in underserved neighborhoods. He led the effort to create a first-of-its-kind training and educational space in the basement of a state-of-the-art Longwood Medical Area research building, bringing local nonprofits like Sociedad Latina and Jewish Vocational Services to teach residents skills they will need to pursue careers in the healthcare industry.
Mike recently served two terms as President of the Boston City Council. Under his stewardship, the Council passed two budgets during the worst economy in modern times without gutting core services. In addition, Mike stood up against a costly arbitration settlement between the firefighters union and city administration, bringing in labor experts to offer alternatives. The compromise ultimately saved taxpayers $45 million over the life of the contract, and repaired the relationship between the city and its firefighters.
Mike has promoted greater transparency and accountability in government throughout his career. Prior to his election to the Council, Mike was part of a team that developed Boston's first website, which allowed residents to pay tickets online—unheard of at the time. The site received the "Best of the Web" award for municipalities by Government Technology Magazine. As Council President, he established a process for posting all Council business on the City’s website. Finally, the Council piloted and agreed to adopt technology that will promote even greater openness by providing searchable videos of all Council hearings and placing meeting dockets entirely online—well ahead of many of the nation’s other legislative bodies.
Mike is not afraid to look outside City Hall—or beyond the borders of the Commonwealth—for inspiration and input. In 2008, Mike led a delegation of his colleagues, city officials, and parks advocates to New York City to see what had turned that city’s parks around. One suggestion—a restaurant on the Common—has been publicly bid and is coming close to reality. As Council President, Mike took two trips—one to visit Harlem Children’s Zone to learn best practices from that successful program, and another to Los Angeles to see what worked—and what hasn’t worked—for that city’s flourishing food truck scene. Mike continues to work with city officials to streamline the permitting process for food trucks in Boston, allowing these small businesses to thrive, creating jobs and driving economic vitality. He worked with the Cambridge City Council to host the first-ever joint meeting of the Boston and Cambridge City Councils to discuss how best the region can retain the best talent and best businesses.
Mike is a first-generation American. His father, Stephan Ross, survived 10 concentration camps during the Holocaust, and was rescued by American soldiers at Dachau. Mike holds a Bachelor's Degree from Clark University in Worcester, an MBA from Boston University, and a Law Degree from Suffolk University. Mike currently lives in Mission Hill.