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Mayor James J. Fiorentini
Inauguration Address* - January 5, 2004
City of Haverhill Massachusetts

Dear Haverhill Citizens,

Thank you, for coming here this morning. To my family-my wife Martha, my children, parents and extended relatives-thank you all of you for coming.

There are several former Mayors in the room, and I want to thank then for their service and for the advice that many of them have given me over the past few weeks: John Guerin, Jim Rurak, Ted Pelosi, William Ryan, Lewis Burton, and James Waldron. I particularly thank John Guerin, for his years of service when things were toughest, and for his extraordinary efforts to make my transition the smoothest in history.

Haverhill. Massachusetts Mayor James J. Fiorentini
Haverhill, MA Mayor
James J. Fiorentini

To our many public officials, past and present, who have taken the time to be here today, thank you. I see State Representative Brian Dempsey, State Representative Harriett Stanley State Senator Steven Baddour and Congressman Martin Meehan.

Today we speak of sacrifice. I want to recognize some members of the audience who have sacrificed for their country and thank them publicly for their service.

To the crew that put all of this together, to the young people who have stepped forward to help us out - thank you.

To our city clerk, who came back from retirement to help her city once again, thank you!

To a young man who spent four months in Iraq, who fought in Baghdad for our country, please join me in welcoming Specialist Alan Wheeler. Thank you, Specialist Wheeler, for your service to your country.

To Pvc Joshua Brewster who as we speak is serving our country in Baghdad, I welcome his father and later will present them with a citation thanking their son for his service.

In addition, I would be so remiss if I did not recognize Evan O'Neill, who paid the ultimate price for freedom by fighting in Afghanistan. His parents could not be here but after later, we will send them a citation for their son's sacrifice for our country.

Most of all, I welcome all of you, the people of Haverhill, I welcome you to your auditorium, to your city hall. I accept the job you have given me and promise you, in words of the great coach Vince Lombardi, I will give it my all.

Today, Haverhill begins a journey to a newer and better city.

Nine tenths of a century ago, a 12 year old boy left his home with a brother only two years older to set out on their own journey.

One can imagine that in that journey the seas were often rough, that there were times when it seemed that their problems were so great that they could not make it.

However, they did make it. The journey of those two young boys, like the journey of so many millions of others, ended here in America, where, with determination and sacrifice, they were able to create a better life for themselves and their families.

That 12 year old boy was my grandfather. We stand here today, the immigrants and their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in the great city that they built.

Today, that city sets forth on its own journey, a journey to build a new and better city for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

Our journey will be long and difficult. The seas may be rough at times. There will be times when it may seem that our problems are so great that they can not be solved. We will succeed. We will build a better Haverhill for our families and ourselves.

When some see Haverhill today, they see a city with immense financial problems, with a ballooning deficit and a crushing debt.

IF that is all that we see, we miss the forest for the trees. We are so much more than that. We are a city with immense resources, with open space, in so many ways, when it comes to quality of life, we have it all. This quality of life will be so critical to building the Haverhill of tomorrow.

The Haverhill of tomorrow, the Haverhill that we will build will be different from the city that our grandparents settled in. The city they settled in was a manufacturing city, where people were lured by the quality of factories and the quality of life was often an afterthought.

The new city that we will build is what urbanologists call a consumer city, a city where we will attract people and jobs not by the quality of our factories by the quality of our life. It is here that we have so much to offer and where our future is so bright. The new Haverhill that we will build will be the great city that we know we can be-the cultural center of this region. It is those new people and those new jobs that will give us the resources to get through this crisis and build the city of tomorrow.

To complete that journey to a consumer city, we need to see the beauty of Haverhill that others see: magnificent rivers, lakes and ponds, - lush fields and woods- loads of open space. We have the beginnings of an artist and restaurant zone-. We already have the historic and cultural sites and we are close enough to Boston, to the oceans and to the mountains to have them at our side.

To complete our journey and build the new Haverhill, we need to see all of this, but we still need to see so much more. We need to follow the words of the play-write George Bernard Shaw as quoted at the funeral of Robert F. Kennedy, it is not enough to look at things and ask why, we must see things as they could be, and ask why not.

We need to look at our school system, and ask how we can do more to reward those students who do well, and offer extra after school and summer school programs to those who fall behind.

We need to look at our parks, our playgrounds, trees and libraries and we need to ask, how can we do more.

We need to look at our downtown, at the great factory buildings that once lured our grandparents to work, and ask how can we put them back to use as housing and artists lofts, how can we remake that area?

We have so much to offer and so much more we can do. Stressing our quality of life, selling Haverhill, will put us on the path to bring in the tax base we need, to revitalize our city and complete our journey. We know that we can get there.

But we also know that to complete this journey to the great city we will be tomorrow, we know that we must first confront our fiscal crisis of today.

To meet that crisis, to get to the Haverhill of tomorrow, we will need a government that is leaner but not meaner. For the short term on our journey, we will not be able to offer all that we want, all that you deserve or all that we offered before. To get to the new Haverhill we will need a common sacrifice, and a common sense of mission. Some will get less, some will be asked to do more, and some will be asked to pay more. The sacrifices we will be called upon to make will sometimes seem too great, try our patience, but compared to the sacrifices of those that came before, they will seem tolerable.

As we proceed on our journey to the new city that we can be, we know that we will make mistakes and wrong turns. I ask in advance for your forgiveness for mistakes that will be made, but in the end, we will build together a new and better Haverhill.

More than forty years ago, John Kennedy said, that government "is not a set of promises-it is a set of challenges."

Today I challenge ask you to join us on that journey to a new Haverhill. Lend your city your hand, lend us your ideas, and lend us your energy.

Together we will complete that journey and build a new Haverhill.

Thank you,

Mayor James J. Fiorentini
City of Haverhill, Massachusetts

*Source: City of Haverhill, Massachusetts Web Site: www.ci.haverhill.ma.us 1-5-04

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