A Life of Service
Jim Fiorentini was born and raised in Haverhill, educated in Haverhill schools and graduated from Haverhill High School.
Jim earned a Political Science degree from Tufts University and after college, he became a VISTA Volunteer (the domestic version of the Peace Corps) living and working in the poorest areas of Waterloo, IA.
After college, Jim graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. Later he was also admitted to the New Hampshire Bar, appointed Assistant District Attorney and Prosecutor in the Haverhill District Court and served as a Special Assistant Attorney General.
Jim has been married to his wife Martha since 1977, and they have 3 adult children - James, Regina and Chrissy.
Champion for Working People
Jim knows about working hard and has always supported people who need his help. As a grade school and high school student, Jim worked in his grandparents’ restaurant – and other restaurants - as a dishwasher and short order cook. He worked his way through college and law school as a union cab driver in Boston.
In his private practice, Jim represented labor unions and hard working people - gaining experience in labor, criminal and personal injury law law as well as workers’ compensation. Even as a VISTA volunteer, he spent hours driving people 80 miles to a hospital that would treat them without insurance.
As Mayor of Haverhill, Jim has devoted himself to making Haverhill a good place to live, work and raise a family – and he has made enormous progress in the past 20 years.
In 1995, Jim ran for a seat on the Haverhill City Council - which he won. As a Councilor, Jim stressed adequate funding for public education and worked hard to fix Haverhill High School.
In 2003, Jim ran for Mayor and was elected with over 55% of the vote. His campaign message stressed his vision to renovate abandoned shoe factories and put the properties back on the tax rolls. Mayor Fiorentini fulfilled his pledge to realize a downtown renaissance in Haverhill, successfully rezoning the area to transform abandoned buildings.
In 2005, Jim was re-elected for a second term by 81% of voters, the largest majority in the history of mayoral elections in the city. Jim has been elected 9 times and is the longest serving Mayor in Haverhill’s history.
Envisioned Downtown Renaissance
Jim brought a national firm, Forest City, to redevelop the Hamel Leather Factory - once the largest shoe factory in the world that had been abandoned for 50 years. Under Mayor Fiorentini’s leadership, the building was resurrected as Hamel Mills Lofts.
A master at revitalization, Mayor Fiorentini got funding for the River Walk Project, which had been dormant for 14 years, and led the construction of a River Walk along the Merrimack River downtown. After the City had belabored a downtown parking facility for 30 years. Mayor Fiorentini lobbying our Congressional delegation for $11 million to fund the garage. It has now been operating for 10 years.
Determined to bring more retail stores to Haverhill, Mayor Fiorentini led the city in rezoning areas nearest to highways to attract them. The project brought large retailers to Haverhill - BJ’s, Target, Lowes, Starbucks, Burlington Coat Factory. In the coming year, other large companies will be breaking ground in Haverhill – Amazon, Monogram Foods, Edwards Technology.
Improved Quality of Life
Mayor Fiorentini has improved the delivery of services and the quality of life in every Haverhill neighborhood. He has restored many parks and playgrounds throughout the city, emphasized the preservation of open space and wildlife, planted thousands of trees, and assured line-of-sight to the Merrimack River.
Under Mayor Fiorentini’s leadership, Haverhill has become cleaner, safer, healthier and a leader in energy conservation and recycling. Jim made Haverhill one of the first cities in the area to institute curbside, single stream recycling and increased our recycling rate by nearly 50%. The Haverhill Gazette referred to Mayor Fiorentini as “the Green Mayor” because of his work to improve recycling and protect the environment.