Biography of Dan Rivera

Early Life and Education

Dan is the son of a single mother who emigrated from the Dominican Republic to find a better life for her family by working in the Lawrence Area Mills.

Raised in Lawrence, Dan went to Lawrence Public Schools and as a youth Dan was a was a Boy Scout, e member of the Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, a newspaper delivery boy for the Eagle Tribune, a United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol Cadet, Co-chair of Lawrence High School Model United Nations, and high school Senior Class Secretary.

Dan graduated from Lawrence High School in 1989. Dan earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He went to school nights and weekends and received a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Suffolk University.

Dan worked as Economic Development Director for Congressman Marty Meehan, later joining the private sector for a career in Marketing. Dan has worked as a Database Marketing Manager for Birddog Solution Inc., a Marketing Operations Manager for Aspentech Inc., a Marketing Manager for Philips Lifeline, a Project Manager for the Stadium Courts, Lawrence Housing Authority, a Program Manager for the Catholic Charities Lawrence, and has worked as a Coordinator for Mauricio Gaston Institute, UMass Boston.

Dan served as a member of the Colonial Heights Neighborhood Association, Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association, Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association, Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, Platform Committee Member of Massachusetts Democratic State Party, Past Co-Chair of the Lawrence Democratic City Committee, Site Captain for Groundwork Lawrence’s Annual Spicket River Clean Up, Advisory Board Member for Family Service Inc., past Board President of Hope Street Youth Center and Treasurer for the Lawrence Youth Development Organization.

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Political Career

Dan is a former Lawrence City Council Member, he was elected in 2009 and took office in 2010, serving until 2014. Dan was elected Mayor of Lawrence in 2013, and took office on January 4th, 2014 with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren administering his oath of office.

Military Career

After high school Dan became a Military Police Officer in Germany, from which he was deployed to Iraq and Kuwait during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. When he returned home, Dan worked his way through college as a beneficiary of the GI Bill at University of Massachusetts Amherst. During high school Dan took part in the United States Army Split Option program and went to basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia the summer of his Junior year and went to Advanced Individual Training at Fort McLellan, Alabama after graduating his senior year. During this time Dan was a member of the 3rd battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, and was stationed in Lawrence, Massachusetts as part of the 187th Infantry Brigade, 94th Army Reserve Command (1963-1994).

City Council

Dan previously served as an At Large City Councilor. He was elected Vice President of the Council during his second term and has chaired the Budget and Finance Committee for the past three years. Dan led the Council in finding close to $500,000 to fund Police positions during the worst of the City’s financial crisis, and initiated a successful campaign to cut the City Council’s pay as a sign of fairness and shared sacrifice during tough budget times. Dan has worked to make the City services more responsive, more transparent and financially healthy. Dan is a member of the Board of Trustees for Northern Essex Community College where he plays a supporting role in the expansion of the College’s Lawrence Campus. Dan’s professional experience as a Marketing Manager and his government involvement at the local and federal levels provide him a solid foundation.

Time in Office

As Mayor, Daniel Rivera has focused heavily on business and economic development within the City. Dan has attracted multiple businesses, employing more than one hundred people in the City of Lawrence, including Asahi America and Unitex. Dan has honed in on site-specific development and key parcel-specific development activity. Over the past five years, he has overseen and facilitated $1.5 Million in Real Estate Development, both residential and commercial. Over the next year, he expects 1,500 units of housing to come online in the City.

In 2014, Dan appointed a new Police Chief, Roy Vasque. Just last year, Police Reports show that from January 1st,2018 to December 31st, 2018 there was a 40% reduction in crime. In his time as Mayor, Dan has hired forty-six new police officers. The City is currently budgeted for 147 officers.

Lawrence also has a Municipal Airport that sees roughly 40,000 aircraft operations per day, and is home to 208 based aircraft. With over 80 local and national firms using the Lawrence Municipal Airport for business travel, the Airport contributes a significant amount of positive economic value and activity to the City of Lawrence. The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing conducts roughly 450 public safety missions annually out of the Lawrence Municipal Airport. In 2017, Dan partnered with Mass DOT to make continuous improvements to the airport. In total, Dan contributed to $14 Million in improvements-$3 Million to safety area improvements and $11 Million to the runway project. In the next two years, Dan expects to build a new administrative building worth $4 Million.

The City of Lawrence owns forty-one municipal buildings that Dan oversees the maintenance, upkeep and repair of through the Building and Facilities Department and the School Department. Many of these municipal buildings have undergone repairs and renovations through his capital improvement plan including new boilers, a new floor at Central Fire Station and new windows at the Public Library.

During his time as Mayor, Daniel Rivera has made infrastructure improvements a top priority. In the Planning Department under Planning Director, Theresa Park, Dan applied for, is in construction of, or completed 13 infrastructure projects across the City, totaling $21.5 Million over the last five years. He worked closely with federal DOT, Mass DOT, Mass Works and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development to get funding for each of these improvement projects.

Daniel Rivera has hired fifteen department heads in five years, from Police and Fire Chiefs, to a School Superintendent and a Cemetery Director to name a few, conducting national searches, training and providing internal advancement when necessary. Dan recruited and hired the first Planning Director with Planning credentials, Theresa Park in the City’s history. Dan also manages both workers compensation cases and In the Line of Duty cases, for the City to reduce costs and get workers back on the job or dismissed, making way for new hires.

Dan’s mission is quoted as being No one will work harder to restore out City’s reputation and unity, rebuild our public safety departments, renew our commitment to our youth and schools, refocus on bringing jobs and economic growth to the City, regain the trust of our City’s residents, and rehabilitate our City’s image across the state. 


  • Married to Paula King Rivera
  • Homeowner
  • 42 years old
  • Heritage: Dominican/Puerto Rican


  • Suffolk University, Master of Business Administration, 2003
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Bachelor of Arts, 1996
  • U.S. Army Military Police Academy, 1990
  • Lawrence High School, Class of 1989

Professional Experience

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  • Database Marketing Manager, Birddog Solution, Inc. - Present
  • Marketing Operations Manager, Aspentech Inc.
  • Marketing Manager, Philips Lifeline
  • Economic Development Director, Congressman Marty Meehan
  • Project Manager, Stadium Courts, Lawrence Housing Authority
  • Program Manager, Catholic Charities Lawrence
  • Coordinator, Mauricio Gaston Institute, UMass Boston
  • Military Police Officer: United States Army - Germany, Iraq and Kuwait

Community Involvement

  • Budget and Finance Committee, Chair
  • Colonial Heights Neighborhood Association, Member
  • Family Service, Inc., Advisory Board Member
  • Hope Street Youth Center, Past Board President
  • Lawrence Boys and Girls Club, Alumnus and Board Member
  • Lawrence City Council, Vice President and City Councilor At Large
  • Lawrence Democratic City Committee, Past Co-Chair
  • Massachusetts Democratic State Party, Platform Committee Member
  • Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association, Member
  • Northern Essex Community College, Board of Trustees Member
  • Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association, Member
  • Site Captain, Groundwork Lawrence Annual Spicket River Clean Up
  • Youth Development Organization, Treasurer