Mr. Fantini

Richard's picture

School Committee Veteran

  • Mr. Fred Fantini
Camabridge High school

I was blessed today to have an interview with Mr. Fred Fantini; an 18 term year school Committee member. We greeted each other and were granted a room in the main library to conduct what was to be an interview.

Fred started off responding to my first question which was what piqued his interest in politics. He shared that his brother David who also was involved in politics was a major influence on him. He talked about his family belief to contribute to the community.

Fred's first involvement in the political realm was as a member in the School Committee. Because of his degree from Bentley College in financing, He was the chairman of the budget in Cambridge  public Schools. Mr. Fantini also instituted a pollcy to not have any minority teachers to be layed off. Fred mentioned that former Mayor Alfred Vellucci was a great mentor to him on his way up.

Campaigning was different for Mr. Fantini than it is for most politicians. He didn't try to raise money or go on Facebook or Instagram. He kept it simple. He knocked on doors: maybe as many as 10,000 of them. Although labor intensive, he felt that meeting potential voters was an advantage for his election.

Moving along, I was curious to know what changes had he experienced as a school committee member. He said that the school system was more diverse at the High School level. 20% of the population at Cambridge's High School came from private School's such as BBN and Shady Hill. There is a large success rate of Schools accepted to Harvard. I asked what would he tell a high school student who wanted to be a politician. He kept his answer simple "run for the right reasons. there were three Harvard Crimson students who became politicians. They were : Will Macarthur, Paul Toner and Sean Tierney.

What change would you like to see in the School Department  was my next question. He made me aware that Ken Salim who is the new superintendent needs to increase the achievement level. Fred and Councilman Tim Toomey are friends mainly because they think the same way on important issues. They both came from East Cambridge, and they both have the same amount of service for Cambridge. Finally I asked Mr. Fantini what strengths does one need to became an effective politician. Closing out the interview he answered; empathy, working with people you don't like, do your homework, be present,work hard and be good at talking about self.