By Joseph A. Curtatone
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville Times belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville Times, its staff or publishers)
The following is the beginning of the mayor’s inaugural address that was delivered at the inauguration ceremony on Monday, January 6, 2014. The full text is available here.
As I reflect upon the past decade, I think back to why I wanted to run for Mayor in the first place.
I love this city. My parents came from Italy and settled here seeking a better life for their family. They came to Somerville because they sought opportunity. They wanted to make their hopes and dreams a reality.
My neighborhood was filled with similar stories. Families from Ireland, Greece and Portugal, we all came together here to pursue our dreams.
I remember neighbors leaning over their fences to share their prized tomatoes or freshly grown basil. I remember walking down the street in my neighborhood and hearing different languages from all over the world.
I remember carrying my hockey gear in a bag down the street with my friends and kids playing ball in the street, while parents chatted on their porches. Somewhere, you could hear someone playing music.
I saw a city filled with hard working, optimistic, proud and creative people. I saw the potential in my family, my neighbors and my friends. I took in our diversity, all the tastes, smells, and sounds from neighborhood shops and squares, and I knew that here – here – we had something uniquely ours.
I took pride in being from Somerville. I knew that by working together, the potential within all of us – my family, my friends and my neighbors – could combine to create something bigger, better and brighter.
My story is your story – it’s Somerville’s story. We’ve all written our own chapters of that story, but they’re all part of the larger narrative that is Somerville.
It’s Alex Whitmore’s story. Inspired by his first bite of stone ground chocolate in Mexico, he came to Somerville and started his own chocolate factory – Taza Chocolate, lauded in the gourmet world.
It’s Silvia de la Soto’s story. She immigrated here from Peru, built up her credit while living in Somerville’s affordable housing, and used that credit to get a small business loan. And in the face of a tough economy, she decided to pursue her dream. Now she’s part of Somerville’s thriving restaurant scene as the owner of A-Gua-cate Verde.
It’s Tom Bent’s story. Born and raised here, Tom graduated from Somerville High School, earned a vocational degree and then set up shop in his hometown. Now he’s not only the successful owner of Bent Electrical, which offers great jobs in a union shop, he gives his time and passion here in the city and elsewhere.
It’s Gui Cavalcanti and Jenn Martinez’s story. Looking to pursue their passions of building robots and creating costumes, but lacking the space to pursue their dreams, Gui and Jenn saw the vibrant, creative and diverse community of Somerville as the perfect home for Artisan’s Asylum, a place where they and anybody could pursue their craft in an inspiring and supportive environment.
These are just a few of the many individual success stories that together form the narrative that is Somerville. These are stories of creativity, resourcefulness and dogged persistence.
I love being Mayor because I see these stories play out every day. I get to tap into this wonderful marketplace of ideas and rely on the collective depth and wisdom of this great community.
They say that leadership can be a lonely experience, but my experience as Mayor of this great city has taught me that I’m never alone.
When I fought for the Green Line, Orange Line, or the Community Path extension, I wasn’t alone – I had STEP, Mystic View, the Friends of the Community Path and scores of others beside me.
When I advocated for the Trust Act, Centro Presente was on the State House steps with me.
When I worked to help pass the Community Preservation Act my partners were many – the Somerville Community Corporation, Historic Somerville, Groundwork Somerville, Invest in Somerville and countless community leaders.
I am never alone when it comes to providing a voice for the aspirations and ambitions of this community – I can always count on you. That is why I love this job.