Lantigua’s Money, Rivera’s Headaches and the Hotly Contested Mayor’s Race
By: Tom Duggan – June, 2017
The Lawrence mayor’s seat is a four year term and is limited to two terms. The mayor is in charge of the day to day operations of each city department, from police and fire, to water and sewer services, maintaining streets and parks.
Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera is finishing up his first term and running for reelection amid a myriad of scandalous headlines about the explosion in crime and drug distribution in the city.
There are seven candidates running for mayor of Lawrence; incumbent Mayor Dan Rivera, City Councilor Modesto Maldonado, former mayor Willie Lantigua, former candidate Nestor DeJesus, DPW worker Jorje Jaime, fired Lawrence Police Officer William Green (who is appealing his firing), and Ruben Nieves.
Lawrence resident Ruben Nieves has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting and finance, MBA from Southern NH University, and a grad certificate in human resources from SNHU. Nieves graduated from Bible College in Puerto Rico and has received training in community development leadership, and is the former head of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce. Nieves ran for selectman in Andover in 1998.
Nieves says that he is running because he doesn’t believe the current mayor, Dan Rivera, has united the city or focused on the real problems facing Lawrence.
“What I’m doing in this campaign is not for ego, or name recognition. I’m someone who has been involved in the community for a long time because I have a passion for Lawrence. I have a passion for people and the community. I do it because Lawrence needs real leadership and a long term plan. Lawrence needs to change our image but working on Lawrence’s image without working on Lawrence’s problems that give us that image hasn’t worked the last ten years. We need a resolution to the crime epidemic and the safety issues in our neighborhoods and looking towards the future.”
“One of the problems that we have in the Merrimack Valley is that the City of Lawrence is a point of contact for criminals and drug abusers, for the people who are transitioning into a worse situation than they were recently in. We have to help those people get out of the life of dependency, substance abuse, and if possible poverty.”
Nieves says that the opioid epidemic and all of the crimes stemming from it leads to neighborhood violence, and “a disruption of the fabric of our communities and families. If we don’t have leaders capable of addressing these very real problems, we need to change those leaders or we are going to keep failing.”
Nieves says that the city needs to be focused on how to be honest with its’ citizens about the problem and stop playing to different factions within the city. He also said additional resources need to be raised to combat the crime and drug response by using every department in the city.