In an announcement that stunned the political community and elicited much emotion from his colleagues in government, Ward 3 Council Arthur Guinasso said he will not be a candidate for re-election this fall.
The longest-serving member of the Council, Guinasso received the go-ahead Monday night from Council President Anthony Zambuto for â€œa moment of personal privilegeâ€ and the highly respected dean of Revere government used that time to make the historic declaration that his distinguished career as a city councillor will be ending.
The speech was brilliantly delivered. The remarks were humble and gracious, and featured the Guinasso trademarks of self-deprecating humor and wit. One of the chief messages in one of the most important speeches of his political career was, â€œBe kind to one another.â€
â€œOver the the last several months, I have been thinking about what my intentions are for re-election in this current campaign,â€ began Guinasso. â€œI have been encouraged by so many people throughout the city, family members, members of this Council â€“ which Iâ€™m so proud that youâ€™ve asked me to join you again. Iâ€™ve taken all of this into consideration.â€
Noting his public service record of 40 years total, 34 in the position of Ward 3 councilor, Guinasso thanked his constituents stating, â€œfor that Iâ€™m forever grateful for the past residents of Ward 3 and for the current residents of Ward 3.â€
Guinasso said a public official must â€œtake sidesâ€ on certain issues. â€œSometimes itâ€™s the hardest thing in the world that you do. You put friend against friend and then you make a determination and you let the chips fall where they may.â€
He said that being a councillor has been a privilege and an honor. â€œI certainly think serving in city government is one of the highest privileges a person could have.â€
Guinasso, who served with five different Revere mayors (George Colella, Robert Haas, Tom Ambrosino, Dan Rizzo, and Brian Arrigo), said,
â€œThis City of Revere is in great shape right now. We look to other communities that arenâ€™t doing as well as we are, so we are privileged here. We are a chosen city. We have a beautiful beachfront. We have a lot to be thankful for. We have city services second to none. Our police, fire, and DPW staffs â€“ everybody does a collective job thatâ€™s so great that itâ€™s hard to match in other cities and towns.â€
Guinasso had praise for his colleagues. â€œThese are wonderful people I serve with here. I will never forget the warmth that they have shown to me and my family,â€ he said.
â€œYes, I thank the people of Ward 3. Yes, I thank the City Council. More importantly I thank my family for allowing me the privilege to serve the City of Revere and also giving me good advice,â€ he continued.
Guinasso said â€œas a candidate if youâ€™re not one thousand percent behind the effort that your friends are going to do for you, thatâ€™s not the thing to do. Itâ€™s not being fair to your friends.
â€œHaving said this, Iâ€™m very sad tonight and yet Iâ€™m sort of happy. I want to thank you all and now I will officially tell you I am not a candidate for re-election,â€ he declared.
In the Council Chambers, Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna was visibly moved by Guinassoâ€™s touching remarks and the magnitude of the moment in the cityâ€™s history.
Guinasso also noted the presence of City Clerk Ashley Melnik, who has served with distinction for more than decade.
â€œAshley, you mean a lot to me,â€ said Guinasso. â€œYouâ€™ve done wonderful things. You recognized when I was the longest-serving city councillor in Revereâ€™s history and you brought that to my attention. And you placed my picture so nicely [in the Council Chambers] and I will never forget that.
â€œGod bless all of you,â€ said Guinasso in concluding his remarks.
Zambuto, who has served with Guinasso for more than two decades, said, â€œThat makes it a lot tougher to continue this meeting now without getting choked up. Iâ€™m losing my ward councillor and a dear friend, but Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll be in touch. Thank you for your service and all the wonderful years.â€
Guinasso said he will remain in his position until the end of his current term. Certainly, a major testimonial will be planned as Revere prepares to bid farewell to one of the greatest and most influential public figures in its history.