Jessica Ann Giannino made Revere political history in the 2011 election when she became the youngest person ever elected to a councilor-at-large seat on the Revere City Council.
Giannino, a 20-year-old sophomore at Salem State College, finished a strong fourth in a field of 11 candidates, receiving 3,590 votes in her first run for political office.
Giannino attended the Whelan and Garfield schools and is a 2010 graduate of Revere High School where was an outstanding student, a member of the National Honor Society, a yearbook editor, and captain of the golf team among other leadership positions.
English teacher Nancy Barile said she recognized Giannino’s brightness, determination, and potential early in her RHS academic career.
“From the moment I met Jessica in my sophomore English class, I knew she was going places,” said Barile. “She had a drive and determination — as well as the intellect to back it up — that is not often seen in students so young.”
Giannino went on to excel in Barile’s Introduction to Education class and Advanced Placement Literature and Composition class. “Jessica’s final paper in the AP class was so well researched and so well written it could have probably been published,” said Barile.
At Salem State Giannino has been a senator and public relations chairperson in Salem State student government, a radio talk show host, and president of the student commuter association. She is majoring in English and aspires to be a high school English teacher.
The daughter of Revere Police Sergeant Christopher Giannino, a 20-year veteran of the department, and Charlene Giannino, Jessica said she didn’t consider running for Revere City Council until 24 hours before the deadline for submitting nomination papers.
“I woke up one morning and decided this is something I needed to do and I did it – I felt now is the time,” said Giannino.
She and her father garnered the necessary signatures for her nomination papers, many from her neighbors on Sigourney Street in Ward 6.
Giannino began a citywide door-to-door campaign but did not hold any fundraising gatherings. “We have a lot of supportive friends and family that came to us to help out. I just went out there and talked to people.”
Giannino’s youthful energy and well-organized campaign quickly generated interest among Revere voters. She impressed Revere political observers with her poised performance in the Revere Journal candidates’ forum alongside such long-time councilors as former Mayor Robert Haas and Tony Zambuto, who will be two of her colleagues on the Council. Newcomers Brian Arrigo and Steven Morabito were also elected to the Council.
Giannino was hopeful for a victory but not overconfident.
“Honestly we worked really hard so I hoped it paid off but we went up against excellent candidates, so I wasn’t sure how the election was going to turn out,” said Giannino. “If we lost, I felt I would try again, but if I won it would be fantastic.”
Giannino was at City Hall on Election night, watching the returns come in, accompanied by her grandmother Joanne. As the night went on, it became clear that Giannino was going to win one of the five councilor-at-large seats.
“It’s exciting to be the youngest councilor-at-large ever to be elected,” said Giannino. “I’m honored and grateful to the residents of this great city where I grew up and went to school.”
The next day she shared news of her victory with her college professors at Salem State.
“The people at Salem State were so excited for me,” said Giannino. “I had actually gone to class the morning of the election. I had an eight o’clock class and my professor told me, ‘It says a lot about your character that you’re in class right now.”’
Giannino will bring a simple philosophy to her role as a councilor: be yourself, work hard, and stand up for your beliefs. She has the support and encouragement from what she calls “an unbelievable family.”
“Something I think what’s important about politics is really just being a real person and being out there and standing up for what you believe in,” said Giannino. “I want people to know that I’m ready to serve on the Council. I just didn’t jump into it. This is something that I’ve wanted and thought about for a while. The decision to run for the seat in this election was quick but I’ve thought about running for City Council my whole wife.”
Though her career in politics is off to an auspicious start, Giannino said she will pursue a career in education upon her graduation from college.
“I’ve always loved teaching and I think it’s probably the most rewarding profession you can have because you really have the opportunity to really change someone’s life,” said Giannino, who works part time as a makeup artist for Lancome. “Look, I had some really good teachers and this is where I find myself. It’s been a blessing.”
Giannino praised four teachers who were “phenomenal” during her four years at the high school: Nancy Barile, Antoinetta Fiero-Tucker, Jerry Cifuni, and Ron Terenzi.
Barile said this week that Giannino will be an outstanding city councilor. “I think Jessica will be a strong asset on the City Council: she has an amazing work ethic, unbelievable organizational skills, new ideas, and – most importantly – the intelligence necessary to handle the job. All of that, coupled with her tireless energy, should translate into great things for Revere.”