Taking office in January 2012, Jon Mitchell is New Bedford’s thirty-eighth mayor. In November 2013, he was the city’s first sitting mayor since 1866 not to be opposed for re-election, and has won reelection two more times by decisive margins.
Jon has sought to re-establish New Bedford as one of the leading cities in the Northeast. He has moved aggressively to reform the city’s schools, modernize the port, solidify the downtown as the economic and cultural center of Southeastern Massachusetts, and to elevate the quality of life in every neighborhood.
Jon has made city government more efficient though effective management practices, and now the city has the highest bond rating in its history. His work in economic development has emphasized careful planning, collaboration with the business community, and the need to exploit the city’s major assets. The approach has paid off with thousands of new jobs, and a drop in unemployment that led all U.S. cities in 2016. These efforts have been complemented by reforms in the city’s schools, where the graduation rate is at a fifteen year high and test scores have risen steadily. And neighborhood quality of life is markedly better with a sharp drop in crime, the construction of five new parks along with the HarborWalk and CoveWalk, and the establishment of the state’s first dedicated municipal arts fund.
Under Jon’s leadership, New Bedford also has emerged as one of America’s greenest cities. Among other initiatives, the city also has doubled its recycling rate by modernizing its trash collection system, replaced over 10,000 street lights with LED bulbs, retrofitted dozens of city buildings with energy efficient features, and built out one of the highest levels of municipal solar capacity per capita in the country. At the same time, Jon also has strived to position New Bedford to become a leader of the American offshore wind industry, and he serves as the Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Energy Committee.
Prior to running for office, Jon was an Assistant United States Attorney in Boston, having previously worked as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., after having been selected to the Attorney General’s Honor Program. During his career, Jon prosecuted cases in the areas of white collar crime, illegal firearms, narcotics, environmental crime, and public corruption. Many of his cases were of national importance, including his service as the lead prosecutor on the task force searching for Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger.
The son of public school teachers, Jon attended local public schools, as well as Harvard College and the George Washington Law School. Jon also served six years in the Army National Guard. He is married to Ann Partridge, a professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School and a breast oncologist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where she founded and directs the Institute’s Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer. They are the proud parents of three daughters, Grace, Natalie and Lauren, who attend New Bedford Public Schools.