Mayor's Bio

James J. Fiorentini, Mayor 

James J. Fiorentini has been Mayor of Haverhill since January 2004. In his 10th term, he is the longest serving Mayor of the city, and one of the longest serving Mayors in Massachusetts.  Since becoming the city’s chief executive, Mayor Fiorentini has directed and overseen a renaissance in downtown Haverhill, highlighted by more than $250 million in new investment and a thriving restaurant district. The downtown revitalization began with zoning changes designed by Mayor Fiorentini in the early 2000s. The zoning changes transformed abandoned and mostly-vacant former shoe-making factories into bustling housing developments and later mixed-use projects.  Under Mayor Fiorentini’s leadership, the city’s bond rating has been raised 7 times and is now at its highest level ever.  

A former city councilor and successful attorney, Mayor Fiorentini is a lifelong Haverhill resident, born here on April 14, 1947.  He graduated from Haverhill High School in 1965. As a grade school and high school student, Mr. Fiorentini worked in his grandparent’s restaurant and in other restaurants as a dishwasher and short order cook. In college and law school, he drove a taxi as a union cab driver in Boston.  Mr. Fiorentini graduated from Tufts University in Medford in 1969 with a degree in Political Science.  After college, he became a VISTA Volunteer (Vista is the domestic version of the Peace Corps) in Waterloo, Iowa where he lived and worked in the poorest areas of the city.  He attended Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1973 and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1974. He was later admitted to the New Hampshire Bar, and was the top finisher in the State of New Hampshire on the interstate portion of the bar examination.  Attorney Fiorentini was appointed by District Attorney Kevin Burke as an Assistant District Attorney and prosecutor in the Haverhill District Court.  In his legal career, Mayor Fiorentini represented labor unions and gained experience in labor law, criminal law, worker’s compensation and personal injury law. While he practiced law, he stayed involved in his community serving as Chairperson of the Haverhill High School Site Council where he led the fight to fix Haverhill High School. He also served as Chairperson of the Community Action Commission and served on the Salvation Army Board of Directors.  In 1995, Mr. Fiorentini saw an opportunity to become more involved in his community and ran for and won a seat on the Haverhill City Council.  In 2003, Mr. Fiorentini ran for Mayor and was elected with over 55% of the vote. In his campaign, he stressed his vision to put abandoned shoe factories back onto the tax rolls and increase the city’s tax base. Soon after his election, he scheduled a developer’s conference that succeeded in bringing national development firms to the city, sparking his plan to revitalize downtown.  Mayor Fiorentini's effort to revitalize downtown Haverhill has so far brought more than 600 new housing units, a satellite campus of Northern Essex Community College on the site of the former Woolworth's department store, a boardwalk along the Merrimack River, the upcoming $30 million Haverhill Heights mixed-use development that will bring rooftop dining and a culinary school to the city, and many other small and medium-sized projects.

The growth and excitement these projects have brought to the city has led to an increase in downtown festivals such as the River Ruckus and the very popular weekend farmers market. On the other side of downtown across the Merrimack River, Mayor Fiorentini directed the creation of what is now known as the Fiorentini Rail Trail, a well-used recreational walking path that will eventually loop downtown and stretch toward the Groveland line.

Mayor Fiorentini has been re-elected nine times -- in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021. He is a past Chairman of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Brownfield’s Association and has been selected three times to speak at the Kennedy School at Harvard on what has become known as the “Haverhill Renaissance. In 2014, Mayor Fiorentini was chosen by his colleagues to be President of Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Under Mayor Fiorentini’s leadership, Haverhill became one of the first cities in the area to institute curbside single stream recycling and has improved its recycling rate by nearly 50%. In 2010, the Haverhill Gazette referred to Mayor Fiorentini as “the Green Mayor” because of his efforts to improve recycling and protect the environment.

Mayor Fiorentini has worked to improve the delivery of services and quality of life in every neighborhood in the city. He has greatly expanded street sweeping operations in the city, and has improved numerous parks and playgrounds. In addition to hosting weekly office hours for constituents at his City Hall office, Mayor Fiorentini has an open-door policy. He loves meeting and talking with constituents and takes great pride in recognizing their successes and solving their problems.

Mayor Fiorentini maintains a busy schedule of attending community events and can often be found visiting city schools or inspecting a pothole, sidewalk or roadway that a resident has asked him to personally look at for them.

Mayor Fiorentini has been married to Martha Fiorentini since 1977. They have 3 children, James, Regina and Chrissy.
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