William Lantigua

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William Lantigua
Mayor of Lawrence, Massachusetts
In office
January 4, 2010[1] – January 4, 2014
Preceded by Michael J. Sullivan
Succeeded by Dan Rivera
Member of the
Massachusetts House of Representatives
16th Essex District[2]
In office
January 2003 – February 12, 2010[3]
Preceded by Jose L. Santiago[4]
Succeeded by Marcos Devers[5]
Personal details
Born ( 1955 -02-19) February 19, 1955 (age 62)[2]
Dominican Republic[2]
Political party Independent,[6][7] Democratic[2]

William Lantigua (born February 19, 1955) is a politician in Massachusetts. He became Mayor of Lawrence, Massachusetts in January 2010 following his November 2009 defeat of Lawrence City Councilor David Abdoo. Upon taking office, Lantigua became the first elected and second serving Hispanic mayor in Massachusetts history.

Early life and career[edit]

William Lantigua was born in the Dominican Republic on February 19, 1955 to Enrique Lantigua and Ana Elvira Soto. Lantigua has three siblings one sister and two brothers. He moved to the United States in 1974 from the Dominican Republic. Educated in the Dominican Republic and later worked for 23 years for Schneider Electric in North Andover, MA. William Lantigua is the father of three daughters; Veronica, Vanessa, and Valerie as well as his son William Kennedy.[8]

For years during the 1990s, Lantigua worked as an organizer in the City of Lawrence helping elect Jose Santiago, the second Puerto Rican to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives (the first was Nelson Merced, elected in 1988[9]) and later Mary-Ellen Manning to Massachusetts Governor's Council over incumbent and Mayor of Lawrence Patricia Dowling.[8]

Massachusetts House of Representatives[edit]

In 2002 Lantigua, ran as an independent against Democrat Jose Santiago and was elected a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2002. In 2004 Jose Santiago again ran against Lantigua eventually losing for a second time.[6] In 2006 Lantigua decided to run for the first time as a Democrat this time being challenged by longtime city councilor and former Mayor of Lawrence Marcos Devers. But Lantigua was able to have Devers removed from the ballot challenging his residency in the district since Devers lived in the district under one year. Lantigua went on to win the election unopposed.[10] In 2008 Devers again challenged Lantigua in the Democratic primary this time with his name on the ballot only to lose by 399 votes.[11] Lantigua was unchallenged in the general election winning his 4th election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Lantigua was State Representative of the 16th Essex district from 2003 until his resignation February 2010.[12]

As a State Representative, he served as Vice-Chairman of the Elder Affairs Committee and as a member of the Ways and Means Committee along with the Committee on Bonding and Capital Expenses. Lantigua also served two one-year terms as chair of the Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus.[8]

Mayor of Lawrence[edit]

Upon taking office, Lantigua became the first Hispanic mayor in Massachusetts history and only the second Dominican-American Mayor in the United States, after Mayor Alex Blanco of Passaic, New Jersey, elected 2008. Lantigua caused controversy when fellow lawmakers on Beacon Hill questioned his ability to hold the position of mayor and State Representative simultaneously in the midst of a citywide financial crisis.[12] Simultaneously holding state and municipal elected positions in Massachusetts has occurred before but Lawrence's time requirements were higher under financial reorganization. The commute time was also higher than for example Saundra Graham or Timothy Toomey who were from Cambridge.

In April 2011 Lantigua was the subject of a federal investigation into possible corruption and other potential wrongdoing.[13] This investigation was the latest in a series of bizarre events[14] that have led to a recall petition to oust Lantigua from office after 15 tumultuous months.[15][16]

On May 11, 2011 Lantigua was criticized for receiving fuel assistance totaling possibly $1,165, despite a combined household income of $145,000. Lantigua later returned the money.[17]

In the summer of 2012, Mayor Lantigua married the principal witness against him, his longtime girlfriend and City Hall worker Lorenza Ortega. Ortega gave evidence to the grand jury in May 2012, when she and Lantigua had been rumored to be split up, but now, if they are indeed married, Ortega might claim spousal privilege (the right of a spouse to avoid giving incriminating evidence or testimony against the other spouse when the other spouse is on trial), which, if the trial proceeds, could possibly make it harder to secure a conviction.[18]

Originally Lantigua benefited from the support of popular Mayor Michael J. Sullivan to garner enough votes to victory. Lantigua's questionable legal antics during his four years caused former mayor Sullivan and other influential leaders to work against his reelection. He lost to city councilor Daniel Rivera in his bid for reelection


  1. ^ Conti, Kathleen (January 5, 2010), "Amid optimism, Lantigua takes office in Lawrence Outlines goals, challenges the city faces", The Boston Globe, Boston, MA, p. . 
  2. ^ a b c d Welch, William F. (2007), Public officials of Massachusetts 2007–2008, Boston, MA: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, p. 159. 
  3. ^ Estes, Andrea (February 13, 2010), "Lantigua resigns as state representative Vows to do his best as Lawrence mayor", The Boston Globe, Boston, MA, p. . 
  4. ^ Scanlan, Patrick E. (2001), Public Officials of Massachusetts 2001–2002, Boston, MA: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, p. 209. 
  5. ^ Associated Press (June 17, 2010), "Devers fills vacated state House seat", The Boston Globe, Boston, MA, p. . 
  6. ^ a b Crittenden, Jules (November 6, 2002), ELECTION 2002; Finneran could be stronger than ever, Boston, MA: The Boston Herald, p. 26. 
  7. ^ Scanlan, Patrick E. (2003), Public officials of Massachusetts 2003–2004, Boston, MA: Commonwealth of Massachusetts, p. 164. 
  8. ^ a b c http://www.cityoflawrence.com/mayor-lantigua-biography.aspx
  9. ^ Hardy-Fanta, Carol (2002). Latino Politics in Massachusetts: Struggles, Strategies and Prospects. New York: Routledge. pp. 55–67. ISBN 0-8153-3142-8. 
  10. ^ Mason, Edward (February 21, 2008), Devers-Lantigua rematch looms in 16th Essex, Lawrence, MA: The Lawrence Eagle Tribune, p. . 
  11. ^ http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2008democratic_primary_results.pdf
  12. ^ a b Article from Lawrence Mayor Resigns As State Representative February 12, 2010, WBUR
  13. ^ Abel, Dave (April 27, 2011). "On Lawrence streets, frustration over mayor". Boston Globe. Boston, Massachusetts. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  14. ^ Abraham, Yvonne. "The Mayor Of Mayhem". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Critics Try To Oust Mayor". thebostonchannel.com. WCVB-TV (Channel 5, Boston, MA). Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ Betances, Yadira. "Lantigua recall papers to be filed this week, group leader says". eagletribune.com. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  17. ^ "$100K Mayor Returns Fuel Assistance Money". WCVB website (thebostonchannel.com). WCVB-TV (Channel 5, Boston, MA). Retrieved May 11, 2011. 
  18. ^ http://now.msn.com/mayor-may-have-married-star-witness-in-corruption-trial

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Michael J. Sullivan
Mayor of Lawrence
January 2010 – January 2014
Succeeded by
Daniel Rivera
Preceded by
Jose L. Santiago
Member of the
Massachusetts House of Representatives
16th Essex District

January 2003 – February 12, 2010
Succeeded by
Marcos Devers