Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi and District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina were honored with the Michael A. Nazzaro, Jr. Public Service Award at this year’s Columbus Day Celebration Reception. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh took part in the presentations as did State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, State Sen. Joe Boncore and City Councilors who attended including President Michelle Wu, Michael Flaherty and Ayanna Pressley along with Steve Murphy, Register of Deeds.
While serving in the state legislature, Sal DiMasi lived on Commercial Street with his wife, Debbie, in the North End, a neighborhood he served as State Representative for the Third Suffolk District. Presenters of the award praised DiMasi’s leadership at the State House, particularly in championing Universal Health Care and Marriage Equality, legislation that were first in Massachusetts and became templates for national programs. The 72 year-old Sal DiMasi received early compassionate release from prison late last year after serving five years for his corruption conviction.
Outgoing District 1 City Councilor Sal LaMattina started his 29-year city career as a neighborhood liaison for the North End, rising to become a major political figure in the District 1 neighborhoods of the North End, Charlestown and East Boston. LaMattina played a key role in defending urban quality of life as development and gentrification brought major changes to the North End and downtown Boston. The expansion of the Eliot K-8 Innovation School will be a lasting legacy for the councilor. He also worked closely with Boston Police on reducing crime and public safety issues. LaMattina was a key force in pushing to save the North End Nursing Home for local seniors. Representing three waterfront neighborhoods, LaMattina has been an advocate for water transportation and a new ferry system to connect East Boston, North End and Seaport to help alleviate traffic congestion. In his latest term, he secured funding to study a new North End community center.
The award was named after the late North End State Rep. Mike A. Nazzaro who was born and raised in the North End, was a small business owner and served as our State Representative. During his tenure, Mike protected the neighborhood from the era’s urban development push and helped make the neighborhood the vibrant community it is today. Representing the late Mike Nazzaro at the event was his daughter Carla D’Orio.
Former recipients of the Michael A. Nazzaro Public Service Award include Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (2015) and the late Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino (2013). The Columbus Day celebration also acts as a fundraiser for the bi-annual parade held in the North End.