[Congressional Record Volume 147, Number 156 (Tuesday, November 13, 2001)]
[Pages S11711-S11712]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                       TRIBUTE TO PETER TORIGIAN

  Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, it is a privilege for me today to honor and 
celebrate one of Massachusetts' most esteemed public servants, Mayor 
Peter Torigian of Peabody. After 23 years, the dean of Massachusetts 
mayors is retiring from public office but hopefully not from public 
  The city of Peabody is known as the ``Tanner City'' for its leather 
trade dating back to the 1630s, and therefore it is only appropriate 
that this former leather worker and leather-neck has led Peabody with 
vigilance, compassion, and integrity for over two decades. Peter's 
ascent to city hall began in a ``three decker'' in the heart of 
Peabody's industrial sector. Born to hard-working Armenian immigrants, 
Peter was studious and gifted, as well as the star quarterback for the 
Peabody High School football team. After school, the future mayor 
worked as a tanner and experienced first-hand the leather factories 
that were once the life-line of Peabody's industrial economy. He then 
put in 3 years of his life to the service of the U.S. Marine Corps 
before returning home to Peabody. As all of us in this body know: Once 
a Marine, always a Marine. He spent 16 years as a letter carrier for 
the U.S. Post Office. In a harbinger of things to come he quietly rose 
through the ranks to presidency of the union local.
  Then began his formal public career with his election to the city 
council in 1968--a tumultuous year in the history of our country--and 
culminated with his election as mayor in 1979. The longest-serving 
mayor in Peabody history, his legacy will not be counted just in years 
but in the progress the city has enjoyed during his tenure. His peers 
throughout the state honored him with the title of ``Best Municipal 
Executive'' in a survey conducted by the Boston Globe, and his 
management expertise continues to be widely solicited. With an 
instinctual gift for sharing his

[[Page S11712]]

knowledge and experience, he was recently appointed to the MBTA 
Advisory Board, elected as a member to the Metropolitan Planning 
Organization, and has served as chairman of the Essex County Advisory 
Board since 1983. The Massachusetts Municipal Association benefited 
from his service on its board of directors as well as the Local 
Governors Advisory Committee, which he started serving on in 1983.

  The honors and citations, if stacked, reach to the sky; honored by 
the AARP in 1998, Peabody's Veterans Council in that same year, and 
honored by the Anti-Defamation League the year before. His housing 
efforts won the acclaim of the Citizens for Adequate Housing Community 
Service Award at the beginning of the 1990s, he was the North Shore 
Chamber of Commerce's ``Man of the Year,'' in 1991, and was honored by 
the President of Portugal with ``Command of the Special Order of Infant 
Henry the Navigator'' award in 1996.
  Every public official is ultimately judged by the impact their 
policies have after the official has left office. In this way, 
generations of Peabody's children will be Peter's legacy, since 
thousands of children went through Peabody public schools during Mayor 
Torigian's time, and now their children are doing the same. The 
business growth in Peabody during Peter's term stands in stark contrast 
to the aged and fading industrial based that he inherited, and now the 
residents enjoy a robust economic climate while at the same time 
maintaining the New England flavor of the community.
  I am honored to rise today to pay tribute to a remarkable man who has 
assembled an inspiring and very real list of achievements. I regard 
myself as fortunate to have him as a friend and colleague in 
government, and I join the families of Peabody and his peers throughout 
the State in celebrating his exemplary public service and in wishing 
him godspeed as he moves on to new horizons.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, it is a privilege to take this 
opportunity to pay tribute to Peter Torigian, the outstanding Mayor of 
Peabody, MA, who is retiring at the end of this year. He has served the 
people of Peabody with great skill and dedication for the past 22 
years, and I know they join me in thanking him for his commitment and 
dedication to public service.
  Mayor Torigian will long be remembered for the revitalization of 
Peabody's economy. He skillfully guided the transformation of an old 
manufacturing base into a thriving new office complex known as 
Centennial Park.
  His impressive record of success in promoting economic development in 
Peabody and throughout the region is well known. He was instrumental in 
the development of the North Shore Mall, creating thousands of new 
jobs, the lowest corporate tax rate and the broadest tax base in all of 
  He's also done an outstanding job in preserving open space and in 
cleaning up brownfields in the area. Brook Farm is a magnificent 
example of Mayor Torigian's commitment to the environment.
  Under Mayor Torigian's leadership, Peabody has thrived on its 
diversity as well. Peabody recently celebrated its 18th annual 
International Festival, in which thousands of people visited the city 
to celebrate its history and its heritage.
  And Mayor Torigian's commitment to senior citizens has been 
unwavering. He created the Peabody Community Life Center, a remarkable 
center for seniors on the North Shore to gather and enhance their 
quality of life.
  All of us in Massachusetts are grateful for Mayor Torigian's 
distinguished service to the City of Peabody and to our State, and 
we're grateful for his friendship. We know that his commitment to 
public service will continue in other ways, and he will be deeply 
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from New York.