John Stefanini knows and loves our community, and has given his life in service to it.
A Son of Coburnville
John grew up on Dow Street in Coburnville as the youngest of five sons. His father Gus was a stonemason, whose work can still be seen around the city, and Doris, a nurse who worked at Cushing Hospital and Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.
A proud graduate of Framingham Public Schools, John attended Memorial Elementary School, Barbieri Middle School and Framingham South High School. While at South High, John was named an All American in Lacrosse and an all star football player. His love of the Framingham Baking Company, and their legendary pizza, were taken to a new level when he started working there driving their delivery truck.
He attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, the New England School of Law, where his concentration of studies was in local government law, and Loyola’s International Law Program in Rome.
After graduation, John taught social studies and coached lacrosse at Framingham South High School.
John was first elected to the Board of Selectmen as a challenger of the status quo. For too long Framingham’s government was stuck in the past, and not keeping up with the changing needs of the community. This same spirit resulted in him elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
John brought a “can-do” attitude and an aggressive agenda that changed Framingham in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Serving for two terms as Selectman and five terms as a State Representative, John’s decade in Framingham’s government was marked by collaboration, transparency and progress.
In fact, during his tenure Framingham saw:
- dramatic cost savings and significant increases in our commercial tax base;
- opening of new schools and construction of new Police, Fire and Public Works facilities;
- creation of the MetroWest Health Foundation;
- decline in crime rates and establishment of community policing;
- establishment of curbside recycling and paramedic level emergency services;
- establishment of two sister cities: Lomonosov, Russia & Governador Valadares, Brazil;
- creation of Cushing, Victory & Roosevelt parks and Merchant Road Soccer Complex;
- expanded open space at Callahan State Park and Wittenborg Woods; and,
- opening of the Boys and Girls Club.
As State Representative, John advocated for single payer health care reform - submitting the legislation for it every year he was in office -, women’s health care and domestic violence victims. He supported education funding and campaign financing reforms.
When the state decided to close Cushing Hospital, a World War II-era military hospital that became a state hospital after the war, John brought the community together to decide what should be done with the property. He was named Chair of the Cushing Hospital Task Force. As you can imagine, there were many ideas on what should be done, from a new cemetery to a golf course to a new school. Through countless meetings and a focus on what is best for Framingham’s future, John was able to gain consensus that Cushing should be turned into a community park. Today, Cushing Park is a gem of our community.
He fought to keep Framingham Union Hospital open, when the corporation wanted to sell it. He knew then, as in today, our local hospital is critical for the wellbeing and health of our community, especially those who cannot get to Boston. He also served on the MetroWest Medical Center Board of Trustees.
During this time, Framingham’s Brazilian community started to grow. John was one of the only elected officials at the time who embraced the community and supported their efforts. Together with local business men and community leaders, they started the Brazilian American Association.
For his work with the Brazilian community, John was awarded the Order of Rio Branco (Ordem de Rio Branco) by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Our Neighbor and Volunteer
After John left government, he returned to practicing law, focusing on government affairs and public administration. He was an adjunct faculty member at Suffolk Law School. He was a coach and trustee of the Framingham Lacrosse League,
John remained active in politics, serving on the Framingham Democratic Town Committee of which he is a lifetime member. He also worked on many presidential, state and local campaigns for Democratic candidates.
Our Neighborhood Advocate
John returned to Framingham politics leading the effort to reform, reinvigorate and reconstitute our local government. As a member of the Charter Commission, John chaired the subcommittee that drafted our Charter, providing a more open, transparent, ethical and participatory local government.
After an unsuccessful run to be our city’s first mayor, John refocused his energy on his neighborhood. With a group of neighbors they established the Coburnville Tripoli Neighborhood Association (CTNA), which is now one of the most active neighborhood groups in the city. The CTNA has successfully held their summer block party, monthly meetings, and advocated for the issues important to their neighborhood.
He also is a founding member of the Framingham Business Association, focused on promoting local small businesses in the city.
John was elected District 8 Councilor in 2019.
John has brought the same enthusiasm, energy and focus on reform that inspired him to run for office decades ago. As Councilor, John led the efforts to clean Lake Waushakum, resulting in $1.7 million dollars in federal funding thanks to Congresswoman Katherine Clark and $250,000 from the Baker-Polito Administration. He also advocated for the city to permanently open the locked gates at the beach, allowing all neighbors access.
Working with the CTNA, he obtained traffic safety measures, such as the new four way at the intersection of Bethany Road and Winthrop Street, a scene of many accidents, and new signage to keep our streets safe for cars, pedestrians and pets. He has also pushed for more funding for the Traffic Committee.
John advanced the purchase of land and planning for a new southside school, and community center and reconstruction of a swimming facility.
As a longtime environmental activist, he proposed and drafted the Sustainability Committee and the Bike, Pedestrian and Sidewalk Committee, to get Framingham back on track with making our community more green and sustainable for our future.
John believes in smart growth and long term strategic planning, which is why he led the effort for an apartment moratorium to study the impact of apartments on our traffic, schools and public services. He also proposed ordinances that would increase the number of parking requirements and shrink the zone where apartments may be located. He has worked at revitalizing Downtown Framingham by writing ordinances banning panhandling and billboards.
He also wrote an ordinance creating city-recognized Neighborhood Association Groups, to help neighbors with beautification and community building activities. During his time as Councilor, the number of appointments of District 8 residents to city boards and commissions has grown.
Moving forward, John is focused on advancing Framingham’s government to be more accessible, more transparent and more participatory. He believes more needs to be done to make Framingham more environmentally focused, economically strong where small businesses thrive and families are building generational wealth, affordable for seniors and young families alike can live, and home to high quality early education so all kids have a chance at success.