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 “a moment of personal privilege” 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, “Be kind to one another.”
“Over the the last several months, I have been thinking about what my intentions are for re-election in this current campaign,” began Guinasso. “I have been encouraged by so many people throughout the city, family members, members of this Council – which I’m so proud that you’ve asked me to join you again. I’ve taken all of this into consideration.”
Noting his public service record of 40 years total, 34 in the position of Ward 3 councilor, Guinasso thanked his constituents stating, “for that I’m forever grateful for the past residents of Ward 3 and for the current residents of Ward 3.”
Guinasso said a public official must “take sides” on certain issues. “Sometimes it’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.”
He said that being a councillor has been a privilege and an honor. “I certainly think serving in city government is one of the highest privileges a person could have.”
Guinasso, who served with five different Revere mayors (George Colella, Robert Haas, Tom Ambrosino, Dan Rizzo, and Brian Arrigo), said,
“This City of Revere is in great shape right now. We look to other communities that aren’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 – everybody does a collective job that’s so great that it’s hard to match in other cities and towns.”
Guinasso had praise for his colleagues. “These are wonderful people I serve with here. I will never forget the warmth that they have shown to me and my family,” he said.
“Yes, 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,” he continued.
Guinasso said “as a candidate if you’re not one thousand percent behind the effort that your friends are going to do for you, that’s not the thing to do. It’s not being fair to your friends.
“Having said this, I’m very sad tonight and yet I’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,” he declared.
In the Council Chambers, Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna was visibly moved by Guinasso’s touching remarks and the magnitude of the moment in the city’s history.
Guinasso also noted the presence of City Clerk Ashley Melnik, who has served with distinction for more than decade.
“Ashley, you mean a lot to me,” said Guinasso. “You’ve done wonderful things. You recognized when I was the longest-serving city councillor in Revere’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.
“God bless all of you,” said Guinasso in concluding his remarks.
Zambuto, who has served with Guinasso for more than two decades, said, “That makes it a lot tougher to continue this meeting now without getting choked up. I’m losing my ward councillor and a dear friend, but I’m sure we’ll be in touch. Thank you for your service and all the wonderful years.”
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.