Council Approves One-Year Residency Requirement for Candidates for Elected Positions

If you want to serve as Mayor of Revere or as a member of the City Council or School Committee, you now have to live in Revere for at least one year in advance of the municipal election.

The Council unanimously approved Councillor Jessica Giannino’s motion on the one-year residency requirement at the Oct. 26 City Council meeting. The matter goes before for the Mass. State Legislature for its approval.

“I just think this makes sense,” said Giannino. “When you look at some of our surrounding communities and what you have to do at the state level, it doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary other than make the City of Revere fall in line with other elected officers.”

The Council enthusiastically supported Giannino’s motion though Council President Patrick Keefe asked for an amendment regarding any redistricting enacted as a result of the 2020 census.

 Keefe used Mountain Avenue as an example, stating that the street is currently split among Wards 3 and 4 and that redistricting may preclude a candidate from running for office because he/she has resided in his new ward (in 2021) for less than one year.

“My only concern is that this doesn’t fall under what they do at the state level,” said Giannino. “If redistricting happens, you can get redistricted out of your district also. I think it [President Keefe’s concern] is well intended, however, I think it will be difficult to police and I also think: where do you draw the line?”

Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky said, “I love this motion. Thank you, Councillor Giannino.”

“I understand what Council President Keefe is talking about, but I think when you start watering the motion down, it becomes more complicated.”

Novoselsky noted that redistricting happens only every ten years, “so the motion should be the way it is right now.”

Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto said, “I  wholeheartedly support my colleague on this. I think it’s fine the way it is and anytime you do special legislation, it should be as streamlined as possible.”

Ward 5 Councillor John Powers also requested that the motion go forward as constructed, calling it “perfect the way it is.”

Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said that the motion was “well-written” and it adhered to the state-level guidelines for elections, and he would be supporting the measure.

Councilor-at-Large Steven Morabito said the only issue he had with the motion was: “How could [a lifelong resident] run for a ward seat if there is a lag of one year [due to redistricting]?”

Morabito said he always encourages new candidates even if they were running for an at-large seat on the City Council.

Calling it “a great question,” Giannino responded that, “If that situation does happen, run at-large. Or run for the ward that you’re in. Again, it’s no different than the state level. There are five councilor-at-large seats, six ward seats, and there’s School Committee [seats] as well. So it’s only restrictive to a ward seat and I really don’t think it’s irrational to want to live in a community for a year before just representing that community.”

Ward 1 Councilor Joanne McKenna cited an example in which an individual moved into her ward from another city and lived in the ward for three months before running against her in the election.

“She didn’t win, of course – I’m still here,” said McKenna. “But these things are not fair. You need to be invested in the city. If you’re going to be a ward councilor, you need to be invested in the ward. And that’s how I feel. No one should come in and after three months run against a ward councilor. No one should come into the city for three months and run for mayor. Councilor Giannino is right on.”

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