February 28, 2018
Parkland Mayor Christine (McGuire) Hunschofsky is the daughter of a Mayo man, and grew up in Bosotn's Roslindale neighborhood.
by Ed Forry
As the grieving residents of Parkland, Florida seek to recover from the tragic Valentine’s Day massacre at their high school, the city’s government is led by a woman with deep Boston Irish roots. Mayor Christine Hunschofsky is a Boston Latin School graduate who was born and brought up in Roslindale, and holds several degrees from Boston University and Babson College.
She is the 48 year-old daughter of John McGuire, a native of County Mayo and a well-known and respected leader in Boston’s Irish community.
On Feb. 25, McGuire joined with pastor Rev. John Carroll and parishioners at St. John Chrysostom church in West Roxbury after Sunday Mass to create a memorial tableau with photos of the 17 victims of the mass murder. The parish planned to send letters of condolences to the principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as a way to show support to the mayor’s grieving city.
The proud father said his daughter was among the invited attendees at a highly publicized “listening session” at the White House immediately after the massacre. In a broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition, Mayor Hunschofsky spoke about the session.
“I left that meeting feeling like the president wants to take action, and there seems to be a resolve. Vice President Pence was also there. He seemed resolved. I think we're just really now at a point where people of all parties and of all areas of the country just want to see some action and some solutions,” she said. “So many times, people get so caught up in their own ideals and beliefs, and we forget about what we really need to focus on, and that's to make sure that something like this never happens again.”
The whole community is grieving,” said Mayor Hunschofsky. “We lost 17 lives from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community, and for the last week, we've been going to memorials, to funerals. And we live in such a wonderful, close-knit community in Parkland, very family-oriented. Most people have been somehow affected or knew someone. So it really hits home for our residents and makes it very tough.
“So we're definitely going through a grieving process, and it's going to be a long process,” she said. “The good news is - if there is good news in this - because we have such a tight-knit, bonded community, we'll get through this together.”
Speaking with the Reporter after a Feb. 25 Éire Society event at Doyle’s in Jamaica Plain, McGuire said his daughter has always been a leader. “Christine went to Boston Latin School and got a full scholarship to Boston University. She got two degrees from BU and then she did a one-year international entrepreneurial degree at Babson [College]. She won an Ernst & Young accounting award.
“After she finished college she said, ‘Dad I’m going over to Austria for a month or two,’ which ended up becoming three years. And I’m saying, ‘When are you coming back?’ She got a job with an engineering company there and her husband was an engineering manager there they hit it off and that’s the story.”
The family settled in Parkland, a small city a half- hour drive from Fort Lauderdale, where Christine became active in community affairs. She was a coach in youth soccer and little league, a member of her parish school board. She has volunteered for many years at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“She decided to run for city commissioner in the city of Parkland and eventually mayor,” McGuire says. “And when she ran for mayor in 2016 she got more votes than both of the major candidates, Hillary and Donald.”
McGuire said he regularly visits with his Florida family.
“I have been going there for 17 years. I just spent the month of January there with Christine. When I go down, I’m the handy man. I fix the light bulbs.”
He said when he first heard word of the shootings, he immediately recognized the neighborhood.
“It is very bad for the families,” he said. “Absolutely terrible.”