(Editor’s Note: The mayor’s SOTCA was delivered last night at the Susan B. Anthony Auditorium and Live on RevereTV)
Thank you all so much for being here as I deliver my eighth and final State of the city address.
To my wife, Daveen and my two boys, Joseph and Jack. The three of you are my everything. Daveen – you have supported me over these last eight crazy years. It has been an incredible adventure and I could not have done it without you. I love you.
To my family, friends and colleagues, I would like to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for your love, support and dedication during my time in office. Your trust and confidence in me has been a constant source of inspiration, and I am grateful for the many opportunities I have had to work alongside all of you to achieve our shared goals.
When I first started preparing for tonight, I took a little bit of time to reflect on the last eight years. Wow, what a journey we have been on together.
We have always been focused on moving forward. We have always leaned in to change and harnessed it for the good of our residents. Year after year, we’ve kept pushing to be better.
Together, we transformed and modernized city services to improve the lives of all of our residents.
Together, for the first time in over 40 years, we applied our values and principles as a community to develop the Next Stop Revere Master Plan.
Together, we ushered an unprecedented amount of public and private investment in our community to revive Revere Beach, Shirley Ave., and Suffolk Downs.
Together, we overcame the challenges of a pandemic – expanding our health and human services division to meet the needs of all of our residents – especially our most vulnerable.
And together, we will see a new Department of Public Works facility, a new Point of Pines Fire Station and the new Robert J. Haas Health and Wellness Center.
While we have had a good number of successes – we have been far from perfect. Our most recent – and I would argue our biggest failure came earlier this week with our inability to move a new Revere High School forward.
While the wounds are still relatively fresh, I am sad that many high school parents and grandparents – including some in leadership positions in our city – will continue to choose to send their children and grandchildren out of district because our high school doesn’t meet their standards. Yet when it comes to doing the work to make a new high school a reality for future generations – they are too timid and distracted by hypothetical uncertainties and political implications.
I am sad that we failed the 7,168 children under the age of ten currently living in our city who do not have a voice and will not have the opportunity to grow up looking forward to attending a new state of the art high school.
By subjecting another generation of our youth to a 50-year-old building that hasn’t served our needs for a long time, our elected leaders, including many who are quick to proclaim their own families’ working-class, immigrant roots – pulled the ladder out from underneath our young families and violated one of our key covenants: our duty to continuously lay the groundwork for a healthier, safer, and more prosperous community.
This most recent failure reminds me of the politics of the past.
As I reflect on our last eight years, I can’t help but think about my first few days in the Mayor’s Office.
In 2016, we inherited a city that was depleting its Rainy Day Fund while having millions of dollars sitting around that nobody knew existed.
Since then, we have consistently improved our financial policies and procedures. As a result, in 2018 our bond rating was upgraded and today our Rainy Day Fund is the largest in our city’s history, setting us up for financial success for decades to come.
In 2016, we inherited a city without a Human Resources Department – employee morale was at an all-time low and the culture of City Hall was centered around intimidation and bully tactics. Employees were judged by the political sticker on their car, not the level of their performance.
Since then, we have invested in our people at City Hall, providing training and professional development opportunities to our employees and regularly celebrating our talented and diverse workforce.
In 2016, we inherited two empty racetracks, nine vacant parcels along Revere Beach and no master plan to guide us into the future.
Since then, we have proven ourselves as trustworthy partners – attracting a record amount of public and private investment to update our infrastructure and create great places to live, eat and work. Miles of new streets with updated water and sewer pipes, thousands of new places for people to live and 15 new restaurants in our city.
In 2016, we inherited a Department of Public Works that was neglected. From their rusted and rotted equipment to the blue tarps that were used to cover the computers when it rained out because of the holes in the ceiling of their facility.
Since then, we invested in new equipment, we invested in additional staff and I’m proud to say that our new DPW facility will be ready to occupy this fall.
I can go on and on and on giving examples of what we inherited in 2016 and contrast that with where we stand today…but the bottom line is this:
Because of all of the work that we have done together – all of the trust we have built in each other – all of confidence we have about our shared future – and because we truly believe that we – as a community – deserve the best, I can proudly stand here tonight and say the State of Our City will remain strong – long after I leave office.
We have built the momentum. We will hand off a city that, across every measure, is in better shape than when my Administration took office. It was my dad’s voice as my North Star in the earliest days: “This is the opportunity of a lifetime, kid. Don’t mess this up – and if nothing else, you have to hand it off better than you got it.”
Eight years later, the foundation has been cemented. My time leading our city is coming to an end, and now it will be up to all of you to ensure that we continue on a path forward with leadership that builds trust, collaborates, looks forward – and does the work. And as we look to the future, we cannot forget our past. As a community we need to put our faith and trust in those who will continue to build up from this foundation and steer clear of those who would like nothing more than to tear it down.
Over the last eight years, we tried like heck to build trust. In today’s world it is harder than ever. Social media has given a voice and a platform to many people lacking credibility. We have become more interested in likes, shares and comments and less interested in context, nuance – and the all-important details.
And over the last eight years, I’ve been constantly reminded that it is not the critic who counts – especially the critics behind the keyboard.
So that’s why it will be so important for all of you to demand that your leaders – especially those elected – accept all of the responsibility that comes along with this work. The leaders of this city – both current and future – will have to continue building trust, collaborating and doing the work while ignoring those who lack credibility. The people of this city deserve nothing less.
As we prepare for the next chapter in our city’s history, I stand here confident that Revere will continue to thrive and grow under the leadership of my successor. You should all be so proud of what we have accomplished together, and I know that this community has the resilience, determination, and vision to overcome the challenges that lie ahead.
Serving as your mayor has been the greatest honor of my life, and I will always cherish the memories I have made here in Revere with all of you. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have made a difference in the lives of our residents, and I am confident that this community will continue to grow and flourish for many years to come.
Thank you for everything, and God bless Revere.