BOSTON U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday swore-in Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera at a public inaugural ceremony Saturday attended by about 600 people, including key state and local political leaders.
The morning ceremony marked the public transfer of power from William Lantigua, who did not attend the event after conceding the mayor’s race to the former city councilor.
U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, state Treasurer Steve Grossman and State Auditor Suzanne Bump joined mayors from around Massachusetts as well as supporters and well-wishers who gathered at a public auditorium at the old Lawrence High School to witness the transfer of political authority to the city’s second popularly elected Latino mayor.
Tsongas told the crowd that she has long believed that Rivera has the right mix of leadership, ideas and experience to lead Lawrence. She said the new mayor – the son of a single mother who emigrated from the Dominican Republic and who had served in the U.S. Army – has demonstrated the courage necessary to stand up and be a forceful and effective voice for change.
Rivera has pledged to work for all residents of Lawrence and asked those who supported Lantigua to work with him in the wake of the bitterly-contested vote. Rivera had been endorsed by Warren, Tsongas and the local teachers union.
“Stabilizing the city’s financial well-being will require a deep-seated commitment from the mayor’s office. But he will not be alone,” Tsongas said at the inauguration ceremony. “Dan is well-positioned to hit the ground running in partnership with federal, state and local officials and others who care about the future of Lawrence to help move the city forward.”
“Dan’s impressive education and commitment to public service will help the city continue along the path towards growth,” Tsongas said. “There is great possibility here, and I am enthusiastic about the movement Dan has initiated to rebuild this great city guided by the principle of shared responsibility and the potential of public/private partnerships.”
Lantigua, 58, was the state’s first popularly elected Latino mayor when he won in 2009, but the polarizing figure has faced several high-profile political troubles during his four-year term. He was recently named in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley that alleged he violated campaign finance laws.
Two of his associates, including his former chief of staff, pleaded not guilty in June to corruption charges.
He has also survived a recall attempt. He has never been charged with any crimes.
Lantigua has also been credited with stabilizing the city’s finances and improving city streets.