Asked after the speech about what would be his first act as mayor, Rivera responded, “The first thing you do, you have a conversation with (Police Chief) John Romero. What do we do to make public safety better? Second, you have a conversation with (school superintendent) Jeff Riley. What do we need to do to kick start the education process?”
Lawrence mayors chair the city’s School Committee.
Rivera, an Army veteran of the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations in Iraq, also was asked by Marine veteran Jorge Torres about how he would improve life for local veterans. He responded that as chairman of the council’s budget committee, he pushed for more funding for the city’s veterans’ office and supported the effort to open a shelter for homeless veterans.
Lantigua announced Dec. 28 that he would seek a second four-year term. He could not be reached last night, but in a State of the City address to the City Council Tuesday, he said both the unemployment and crime rates have dropped during his three years in office and noted that student test scores recently began rising.
Unemployment in Lawrence is now 13.9 percent, down from 17.7 percent when Lantigua took office in January 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor.
The rally for Rivera yesterday offered a first public clue about how other public officials in the city and region may be lining up in the race for mayor. City Councilors Eileen Bernal and Kendrys Vasquez attended the rally, as did former state Rep. David Torrisi and two members of local school committees. Evan Silverio, the son of former mayoral candidate Julia Silverio, also attended. Reached afterward, Julia Silverio said she has not endorsed any candidate.