Nine months before it was anticipated that Senate President Harriette Chandler of Worcester would be succeeded, Sen. Karen Spilka of Ashland announced that she had received enough votes to become the next Massachusetts Senate President.
Sen. Spilka has received support from more than 25 of her 40 colleagues, including Sen. DiDomenico of Everett and Sen. Lesser of East Longmeadow, both of whom had expressed interest in the position previously. Former Sen. Lynda Docena Forry and Sen. Eileen Donoghue had also expressed interest in pursuing the presidency. Docena Forry ultimately decided to leave the Senate and became one of the Vice Presidents at Suffolk Construction and Sen. Donoghue has applied for the open city manager position in Lowell.
Following her career as an attorney, specializing in labor and employment law, Sen. Spilka was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in a special election in 2001 and has been a member of the Massachusetts Senate since 2005. She was elected as the Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee in January 2015, making her the chief budget writer in the Massachusetts Senate.
Sen. Spilka represents the 2nd Middlesex and Norfolk District which encompasses Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway, and Natick.
For many legislators, this announcement has brought relief after a period of uncertainty following former Sen. President Stan Rosenburg stepping down from the presidency in December of 2017. Rosenburg stepped down amidst claims that his husband sexually harassed and assaulted four men and attempted to influence Senate affairs. Senate President Chandler was elected in the interim but expressed that she was not interested in holding the position permanently.
At this time, it is unclear if Sen. Chandler will remain Senate President for the duration of 2018, as previously planned, or if Sen. Spilka will take over before January of 2019.
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