Felix D. Arroyo

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Felix D. Arroyo (born Apr 16, 1948) is the Register of Probate for Suffolk County, Massachusetts effective 2018,[1] and a former at-large member of the Boston City Council.

Early years[edit]

Arroyo was raised in a public housing project in Puerto Rico by his late father, Felicito Arroyo, a World War II veteran and police detective, and his late mother, Elisa Arroyo, a garment seamstress and an ILGWU member.[2]

Arroyo completed his undergraduate studies and received a Masters in Secondary Education at the University of Puerto Rico. He was the first member of his family to earn a college degree; he continued with his graduate studies at Harvard University, MIT, and the University of Puerto Rico.[3]

A long-time resident of Boston, Arroyo taught at Springfield College, UMass Boston, Roxbury Community College, Boston University, and Emmanuel College.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Arroyo ran for the Boston School Committee in 1981 and 1983, becoming the first Latino to run citywide, and the first Latino to pass a primary.[citation needed] In 1984, Arroyo founded the Latino Democratic Committee, the first statewide Latino political organization in Massachusetts, and served as the Latin American Affairs Director for United States Senator John Kerry. Arroyo served in the cabinet of Mayor of Boston Raymond Flynn from 1985 until 1992. In 1992, Arroyo resigned his salaried position as the Director of Personnel for the City of Boston, in order to take an unpaid position as a member of the Boston School Committee. He would later serve as Vice President and President of the Boston School Committee, where he served from 1992 until 1999.

Boston City Council[edit]

Arroyo joined the Boston City Council as one of its four at-large members in January 2003, after placing fifth for an at-large seat in the November 2001 election;[4] he was seated after Francis Roache resigned.[5] Arroyo was re-elected in November 2003 and November 2005. He narrowly lost in November 2007, placing fifth in a field of nine candidates—his loss was attributed to low turnout among nonwhite communities, coupled with disproportionately strong turnout in traditionally white, Irish enclaves; overall turnout was only 13.6%.[6]

Register of Probate[edit]

Arroyo announced he was running for Register of Probate for Suffolk County on February 11, 2014.[7] He won the Democratic nomination with over 53% of the vote on September 9, 2014, and won an uncontested general election in November 2014.[8] He was the first Latino to win a county-wide political race in Massachusetts.[citation needed] Arroyo was suspended from his job in February 2017, reportedly due to questions about his performance; he returned to work in October 2017 and has deemed the suspension "unjust".[9] He was re-elected in November 2020, garnering a 77.1% majority against two opponents including perennial candidate Althea Garrison.[10]

Anti-war activism[edit]

For more than 25 years, Arroyo has worked to promote peace and justice on a local and global level. Locally, he has sought to curtail domestic violence, gang violence, and hate crimes and was a vocal advocate against the War in Iraq. Working globally for peace, he has traveled to Nicaragua with Witness for Peace and to El Salvador with Sister Cities Program. He has traveled to Haiti and visited Israel as a peace delegate, and went to the Dominican Republic in 1999 to distribute supplies with a hurricane relief delegation.[11]


The City of Boston proclaimed October 28, 2011, as "Felix D. Arroyo Day", in honor of his lifelong commitment to social and economic justice and the many racial barriers that he has broken.[citation needed]

Two of Arroyo sons have also been elected to the Boston City Council: Felix G. Arroyo served as an at-large member from January 2010 to January 2014, and Ricardo Arroyo took office in January 2020 representing District 5.[12][13]

Selected positions held[edit]

  • Boston City Councilor At-Large, 2003–2008
  • Latin American Affairs Director for United States Senator John Kerry, 1984
  • Committee Chair: New Bostonians and Youth Affairs
  • Committee Vice Chair: Human Rights
  • Committee Member: Environment; Health & Human Services; Housing
  • Director of Advocacy at the Hispanic Office of Planning and Evaluation
  • President, Vice President and Member of the Boston School Committee, 1992–1999
  • Director of Personnel for the City of Boston[14]
  • Education Advisor to Mayor Raymond Flynn[14]
  • Chair of the Boston Arson Commission
  • Encuentro5 Adivory Board member
  • Teacher at Springfield College, UMass-Boston, Roxbury Community College, Boston University, and Emmanuel College


  1. ^ "Suffolk Probate and Family Court". mass.gov. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "Councillor Felix Arroyo Biography". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  3. ^ "Councillor Felix Arroyo Biography". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  4. ^ Beard, David (January 12, 2003). "HISTORY MADE, ON A HOLIDAY". The Boston Globe. p. 3. Retrieved March 9, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  5. ^ Yvonne Abraham, "'I arrived here, and the whole city was judging people by their color'", The Boston Globe, 26 October 2005 (accessed 22 July 2008).
  6. ^ Donovan Slack and Matt Viser, "Turnout at polls lowest in decades", The Boston Globe, 7 November 2007 (accessed 9 November 2007).
  7. ^ Andersen, Travis (February 11, 2014). "Elder Arroyo launches bid to take on embattled register". The Boston Globe.
  8. ^ Fox, Jeremy C. (September 9, 2014). "Former council member Arroyo claims win over Campatelli". The Boston Globe.
  9. ^ Valencia, Milton J. (March 22, 2018). "Arroyo uses 70th birthday bash to pay bills from suspension". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  10. ^ "Municipal elections in Suffolk County, Massachusetts (2020)". ballotpedia.org. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  11. ^ "Councillor Felix Arroyo Biography". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2012-02-27.
  12. ^ Valencia, Milton J. (October 30, 2019). "In District 5, the race for City Council is a microcosm of the divide over establishment politics". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  13. ^ "Ricardo Arroyo: City Councilor, District 5". boston.gov. 7 January 2020. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  14. ^ a b Ryan, Andrew (April 9, 2013). "Felix G. Arroyo formally enters race to be next mayor of Boston; first Latino to run for job". www.boston.com. Retrieved 8 April 2023.