"Rivera was sworn in as the new Ward 6 councilor by City Clerk Wayman Lee, replacing the former ward councilor Keith W. Wright, who resigned in mid-term. ... Rivera, who is half black and half Latino, became the sixth minority to serve on the current 13-member council, and said he is the first openly gay member of the council to his knowledge. He listed his priorities as including open and transparent government and listing to the concerns of all residents."
Rivera took his seat despite some questions that arose over his eligibility based on his second-place finish in the 2009 municipal election. Rivera's eligibility was upheld by the election commissioner ... but a fellow councilor demanded an on-site physical inspection of his address. "It was a sad moment in an overall positive process," Rivera said. "It was more about people's personal issues and politics than about the city."
After being sworn in, the Brandeis doctoral student and new city councilor added: "Petty politics can’t take away from something that is historic and positive."
Springfield is the largest city in Western Massachusetts. Rod 2.0 readers will recall this is the former home of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, the 11-year-old boy who hanged himself after months of relentless homophobic and anti-gay taunts. Carl's "bully-cide" became the inspiration for Massachusetts' tough anti-bullying law.
Watch WWLP'S report AFTER THE JUMP ...