Council Makes History:Joanne McKenna and Jessica Giannino Elected to Top Spots

January 6, 2018
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By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Council Vice President Joanne McKenna and Council President Jessica Giannino take over the gavel.

History was made Monday night when the city council elected two women to the top posts on the council for the first time.

Councillor-at-Large Jessica Gianinno was elected to the position of Council President and Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna was elected to the position of Council Vice President.

“I’m extremely honored for the vote of confidence from my councillors to be council president,” Giannino said. “And I am honored to be working with Joanne McKenna. She was my teacher in school and she has been a great colleague on the council.”

“Jessica and I made history tonight and that is a true honor,” McKenna said. “I’m really happy my colleagues put their trust in me.”

“This is a tremendous time to have two female elected officials that are in power and I’m looking forward to doing a lot of great work with her,” Gianinno said.

“It’s a historic statement for the city of Revere,” said State Sen. Joseph Boncore, who attended the swearing-in ceremony with Mayor Brian Arrigo, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, and State Rep. RoseLee Vincent.

“It’s my goal to help create and amend ordinances with my colleagues to eliminate billboards, alleviate parking concerns and promote an environment that welcomes new businesses to the city. I am looking forward to a productive year,” said Gianinno, who is entering her seventh year and fourth term in office.

The council also welcomed a new member back with the swearing in of former mayor and 12-time councillor Dan Rizzo.

“I am happy and proud to return to city government , I believe my experience will help both the council and the Mayor’s office service our residents and provide necessary checks and balances that the public deserves. I will continue to focus on education and smart growth, and protecting the city’s strong bond rating that we left in 2016,” Rizzo said.

Also being sworn in were fellow incumbent councillors Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky; Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso; Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe, Ward 5 Councillor John Powers; Ward 6 Councillor Charles Patch and Councillors-at-Large Steven Morabito, George Rotondo and Anthony Zambuto.

Also being sworn in were members of the Revere School Committee: Carol Tye, Susan Gravellese, Stacey Rizzo, Fred Sannella and newcomer Gerry Visconti.

Keefe, who served the past few months as council president due to the passing of Robert Haas, did garner three nominations for council president from himself, McKenna, and Patch. Gianinno took away nine votes from Guinasso, herself, Morabito, Novoselsky, Patch, Powers, Rizzo, Rotondo and Zambuto.

“I want to promote fiscal stability in the city with controlled economic development, a mix of things that work,” Zambuto said.

“My hopes are to continue to go commercial revenue in Revere to offset  the tax burden on Revere residents. Looking into the future use of the McKinley School, we have positive inquiries lately and the transformation/renovation of the parking lot and basketball courts will help clean up the blighted area,” Keefe said.

“I also want to help with our city’s public safety department and the SUDI office to reduce the opioid issues we face in our community. I see the work being done and positive movement but still see an opportunity to do more to fight this issue.”

One of Power’s goal is to reopen the Point of Pines Fire Station, especially because of all the building on the Boulevard.

“With the proposed new construction it’s evident is needs to be opened,” Powers said, adding that he’s working on getting blighted properties out of his ward.

Morabito he’s looking forward to tackling economic development and addressing the image of the city.

McKenna said one of her goals on the council is to work with Suffolk Down developer HYM. She plans on holding community forums to let the residents know what is coming in the future. She’d also like to work with Speaker DeLeo’s office to get some mitigation for residents impacted by the airline traffic. In addition she was to work on an ordinance to prohibit developers from charging for parking that force cars onto the street.

For Guinasso, the coming year means not letting social media control anything on the council.

“We have to protect our residents,” he said. “Making sure we have adequate police and fire personnel and make sure we as a council leave petty differences aside.”

Novoselsky said he will continue to focus on Shirley Avenue, MassWorks grants, sidewalks, street lights.

“I’m looking forward to good things.” Novoselsky said.

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