In 2007 he ran a successful campaign for mayor built around a 20-year career in public service and a pledge to create a more open, efficient and responsive City Hall. And in January 2008, he was sworn-in as the 33rd Mayor of Quincy.
Mayor Koch took office just as the worst recession of our generation was hitting, and he acted immediately to protect the City with a series of financial reforms accomplished by bringing stakeholders to the table and working together. His leadership prevented the wholesale loss of vital public services suffered by many other communities.
He tackled a series of tough issues head-on, his efforts addressing the drug problem affecting every city in the Commonwealth earning recognition across the state and even at the White House. He pushed successfully for an overhaul of the city’s financial systems and zoning code, embarked on a major reform of the city’s Water and Sewer Department, and brokered an agreement that is saving taxpayers and city employees millions of dollars on health insurance costs.
In just his first six years in office, Mayor Koch spearheaded an unprecedented number of important public projects to fruition, some of them discussed for decades. He opened the City’s first Senior Center, he completed improvements to Merrymount Park that include a beautiful fountain, built the City’s first regulation running track for our young people, finished a new Quincy High School on time and on budget and earned the highest-possible state payback – 80 percent – for the construction of a new Central Middle School, a project discussed for nearly a half-century.
He embarked on a widespread program to improve the City’s aging and faltering infrastructure, leveraging millions of dollars for major flood-relief projects, water and sewer line upgrades, road and bridge repairs, and the restoration of roofs, windows and building facades at schools across the City. While many cities and towns were searching for money to upgrade school security systems, Mayor Koch implemented a systematic security plan at every school in Quincy.
For the first time in a generation, the bell at the historic First Parish Church now rings throughout Quincy Center, one of a litany of historic preservation projects either underway or completed under Mayor Koch’s leadership. Most prominently, historic old City Hall, opened in 1849, has undergone a total restoration. The project, was completed in 2016, has saved a building that was very close to essentially falling down. At the same time, the Quincy Public Schools and a number of City offices have moved into a fully restored Coddington Building, another architectural gem preserved for future generations.
Always with an eye on the City’s bottom line, Mayor Koch has completed these projects while protecting the City’s financial position, earning a major bond upgrade from Wall Street in 2014. Many of the projects either completed or underway are leveraged by financing outside of the City’s general revenue, a fact highlighted by the City’s low borrowing levels. As a percentage of all spending, debt accounts for only 5 percent of the City’s total – among the lowest rates of any city in Massachusetts.
The mayor’s life-long dedication to Quincy doesn’t end at the office, as he’s actively involved in a number of groups and organizations around Quincy, including Sacred Heart Church, the Quincy City Club, and the Quincy Partnership.
Most importantly, Mayor Koch is a family man, raising children in the city where he was born and loves. He married his high school sweetheart, Christine Keenan, in 1990 and they have three children: Cornelius Richard, and twins Thomas Jr. and Abigail. The family lives just two doors down from the Mayor’s childhood home on Newbury Avenue in North Quincy