Maria Rivera is the 33rd Mayor of Central Falls. She is the first woman Mayor in city history, and first Latina Mayor in the State of Rhode Island.
From an early age, Mayor Maria Rivera learned the value of sacrifice. Her parents, Laura and Andres, both from Puerto Rico, moved to the United States leaving their families and everything they knew behind. Coming from humble beginnings, her parents only completed the 8th grade and moving here was their hope for a better life. Stories like these are not uncommon in the Central Falls community – a city of hope and a city of dreams.
Mayor Rivera was born in Camden, NJ, and her family moved to Chicago shortly after. Growing up, she took many ESL classes to keep up with her academics because her parents spoke only Spanish at home. Today, she is grateful to be bilingual, a gift many Central Falls residents also share. Mayor Rivera moved to Central Falls in 1987 with her parents where she has lived ever since, proudly raising her two children here.
Elected in November 2020 as the Mayor of Central Falls with 77% of the vote, she took office on January 4, 2021 proudly and humbly accepting the challenge to lead Central Falls to its highest potential. Prior to this role, Mayor Rivera was the top-vote getter in the 2018 election of all Central Falls City Council Candidates, and became the first female and first Latino Central Falls City Council President, a position she earned in just her second term as a council member.
During her time as Council President, Maria has worked hard to make Central Falls a better home for families and the city’s most vulnerable residents. She prioritized the safety of her community, working closely with the police department to build a safer social environment through the introduction of Community Policing. She has worked to improve education and youth opportunities by introducing new after school programs, expanded Central Falls Library programming, and advocated for increased education funding for city schools. Mayor Rivera took important steps during her time as City Council President to address safety and resident concerns by launching new Council Open Office Hours, cracking down on unsafe vacant and abandoned properties, and passing a city law requiring the upkeep of city roads when utilities cut them up.
Prior to her mayoral oath of office, Mayor Rivera was a Senior Eligibility Technician at the Department of Human Services. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island Latina Leadership Institute and has served on boards of Nowell Leadership Academy for parenting and pregnant teens and The Learning Community Charter School, in addition to the Central Falls Board of Canvassers, Central Falls Planning Board, and the Central Falls Nuisance Task Force. She earned her BA in Public Administration from Roger Williams University and is a 1995 graduate of Central Falls High School.
During her administration, Mayor Rivera is prioritizing the health and wellness of Central Falls residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring important access to testing, treatment, vaccines, and much-needed resources to support struggling families.
“Thank you to the people of Central Falls for trusting me as your new Mayor. I will do all I can to make you proud to be part of our community. God bless, and stay safe.” – Mayor Maria Rivera