“I have a proven track record – and I can jump in on Day One”
Councillor-At-Large Dan Rizzo has decided to join fellow City Councillors Gerry Visconti and Patrick Keefe in the upcoming race to be Revere’s next mayor.
Rizzo, who served seven terms on the City Council and one term as mayor, will no doubt run on his record. In looking back over his term as mayor, he immediately recalled a surprise tornado that ripped through Revere late in July 2014. That storm followed on the heels of a merciless winter that dumped eight feet of snow on the city. He’s ready to go toe to toe with opponents on the city’s financial health, among many other issues, and he believes that his experience of being able to take over on day one sets him apart from the others.
Rizzo said his deep knowledge of municipal finance sets him apart from Ward 4 Councillor Keefe, Visconti and at-large Councillor Stephen Morabito, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon.
“With the new High School debate dominating the news lately, I’m the only candidate in this race who has real life experience in actually building a school,” he said in a telephone interview this week. “I have a history of putting things together.”
Fiscal responsibility, transparency and a commitment to protecting the interests of taxpayers have been part of Rizzo’s message throughout his political career. It is where he stands now in the debate over the new high school. He’s confident he has the numbers to make the case for building a more affordable project on the existing site.
“It’s an issue I believe I will be able to handle,” said Rizzo, adding that he has good, solid evidence.
A lifelong Revere resident, Rizzo is Revere through and through. He grew up during the city’s rough and tumble days, left for a six-year stint in the US Navy, but came back and launched Rizzo Insurance Group, a small family business, with his brother, Paul.
Rizzo’s campaign will not be weighed down by the vision thing. He doesn’t think that’s in the job description. “When I was mayor, I didn’t think I should give people a vision of what I wanted Revere to be, but rather what they envisioned” he said, adding that “listening is the best way to make decisions as public officials. God gave us two ears and one mouth.”
“We’re going through a renaissance of changing times and demographics. We need to adapt and find out what people want and need,” he said.
Still, Rizzo has some overarching ideas of what he would like to do to improve the quality of life for families in the city.
During his term as mayor, the city built the Hill Elementary School, the Harry Della Russo Stadium with a football field and modern regulation competition track, three ball fields and tennis courts thanks in part to a $2.72 million state grant and a $5.5 million community investment. The city was able to take the St. Mary’s property from the Archdiocese by eminent domain, finally providing three new ballfields for the city’s youth. Along with the Broadway Revitalization Project obtaining $9 million in grant funding, the city enjoyed new storefront and street lighting along Broadway following the devastating tornado. On the north side, Market Basket reenergized the Northgate Shopping Center as a great anchor tenant, providing 500 local jobs and boosting the Squire Road business district.
During his tenure, Revere earned the distinction in 2014 as the “Best Urban High School in the US” at the National Excellence in Urban Education Symposium in San Diego, Calif., earning a Gold Medal and a check for $5,000.
“We need to always prioritize and focus on education,” said Rizzo, adding, “We need to work towards those things that made us stand out during my tenure.”
“These are the things young families want and expect if they are to stay in Revere”, said Rizzo, who conceded that municipal government isn’t rocket science.
“A lot of things are common sense and my approach will be 100 percent common sense,” he said. “I have a proven track record – and I can jump in on Day One.”