William Lantigua was born in the Dominican Republic on February 19, 1955 to Enrique Lantigua and Ana Elvira Soto. Willy has one sister and two brothers. He moved to the United States in 1974 from the Dominican Republic. Willy and his siblings remained deeply connected to their Mother Ana until her sudden death this past year in May 2010. His mother always reiterated her wish that her children become involved in public service, fulfill their dreams and lead a rewarding and productive life. William Lantigua is the father of three lovely daughters; Veronica, Vanessa, and Valerie as well as his son William Kennedy. He resides in the Great City of Lawrence, his home town for the past 36 years.
Willy was educated in the Dominican Republic and worked for 23 years for Schneider Electric in North Andover, MA.
For the past two decades Willy has been a strong community activist, an advocate for the working class people of Lawrence and as an elected official.
For years during the 1990’s, Willy was a grass roots organizer in the City of Lawrence for the common everyday citizen; assisting to have their voice heard. In 2002, Willy was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives from the 16th Essex District. He was re-elected in 2004, 2006 and again in 2008. As a State Representative, Willy served as Vice-Chairman of the Elder Affairs Committee and as a member of the Way’s and Means Committee along with the Committee on Bonding and Capital Expenses. In his service to Lawrence as State Representative he continued his strong advocacy for the working people and it’s illustrated in the amount of legislation he filed on behalf of the citizens of Lawrence. On Beacon Hill, Willy worked to strengthen health care and public safety, secured funding for Lawrence’s non-profit organizations, schools, and community improvement projects, and filed legislation to help those being affected by the current foreclosure crisis.
As a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Rep. Lantigua was an active participant in the Commonwealth’s fiscal decision-making process. His work on the Elder Affairs Committee helped protect the state’s large senior population.
Last year, Rep. Lantigua concluded his second one-year term as chair of the Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus. He was the first member appointed to consecutive terms as chairman since the Caucus was founded in 1973. He is also the first Dominican elected delegate to the Massachusetts State Democratic Committee.
In November 2008 after being overwhelmingly re-elected to his 4th term as State Representative, Lantigua announced his intention to run for Mayor of the Great City of Lawrence. For the next year, Willy ran one of the most intense and grassroots campaigns ever seen in the City of Lawrence. All walks of life joined on the campaign trail as Willy pledged his commitment to the people of Lawrence. In September 2009, Willy defeated a field of ten to become one of the two nominees to enter the November final election. On November 2, 2010, the City of Lawrence made history by electing William Lantigua as the first Dominican born Mayor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the only the second Dominican born Mayor in the United States of America. With this accomplishment, Lantigua became the first person to hold three elected positions at once; State Democratic Committee Member, State Representative, and Mayor. On January 4, 2010, William Lantigua was sworn into office as Mayor of the Great City of Lawrence. Joined at his side, holding the bible, was his mother Ana Elvira Soto and long-time friend Isabel Melendez who issued the oath of office. Lantigua’s inauguration was celebrated in front of thousands of Lawrencians as well as local, state and federal dignitaries from both the United States and the Dominican Republic. Lantigua’s inauguration speech focused on uniting the City of Lawrence, community involvement and putting the City on a course towards fiscal recovery. Lantigua inherited a $24.5 million budget deficit upon taking office, but after much hard work, critical decision making, hands on budgeting and a newly formed partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a balanced budget was submitted and approved by the Lawrence City Council prior to July 1st. It was the first time in over a decade that a Lawrence Mayor had submitted a balanced budget with accurate accounting in place.
After taking office and working to heal the fiscal crisis at hand, Mayor Lantigua resigned from his State Representative position in February 2010. Since taking office, Lantigua has changed the way Lawrence City Government operates. With limited resources as Mayor, he has focused on ways cost sharing measures, downsizing positions and cutting waste throughout city government. Lantigua’s Office has been a refreshing open door for the people of Lawrence since January following in the concept of his trademark district office in the heart of downtown Lawrence, Essex Street. Since taking office, Lantigua’s office has been visited by thousands of residents seeking assistance, bringing forth complaints or just wishing him well with a wave or handshake.
Mayor Lantigua is humbled by his newest position and continues to be an unconventional political figure. He routinely can be seen holding office hours in the Campagnone Common Park across from Lawrence City Hall, at a nearby coffee shop, or on a park bench in the downtown area. As he quietly stated on inauguration night; “It’s great to be the first Latino elected, but I want to go down in the history books, not only as being the first, but rather being the best Mayor Lawrence ever had.”