Next State Senate President: Bald, Gay, Jewish, and from Western Mass.?
Last week I wrote that state senator Stan Rosenberg of Amherst was rumored to have gained the upper hand in the battle to line up votes to become the next senate president (over his primary competition, Ways & Means chairman Stephen Brewer). Over the past day or two, the State House News Service has been reporting more details on that situation, leading to Rosenberg releasing this statement today:
I am pleased to confirm that I have received the overwhelming support of the Democratic Caucus to succeed Senate President Therese Murray, when her term ends. I am humbled by the strong support of my colleagues. I think it is important that we have resolved this question quickly and amicably so that we can proceed with the business of the Senate under Senate President Therese Murray’s skillful leadership and the leadership of her team, including Chairman Brewer, who I count as a personal friend.
This does not necessarily mean Rosenberg will be the next senate president—much can change between now and whenever Murray leaves. (She is term-limited out as president in March 2015, but has done little to dampen speculation that she’ll leave sooner if she gets the right opportunity.)
If he does get the job—making him one of the most important political figures in the state—Rosenberg will be the first openly gay senate president. Others will have to tell me if he’d be the first Jewish president, or the first cancer survivor in the position.
What I can tell you is that he’d be the first senate president from west of route 128 in some 40 years. (It has been roughly as long since the last house speaker from those lands.) This would be back-to-back senate presidents from far afield of Boston—and note that Brewer is from the far-off land of Barre. (To help orient you: Barre is nestled in the crook between Hubbardston and Petersham, which are also apparently places in Massachusetts. Who knew?)
All of this is quite interesting, but probably not as relevant as the fact that Rosenberg is also quite liberal. This reflects the increasingly progressive nature of the state senate. Rosenberg’s ascendance could, potentially, increase the divide between that body and the more moderate house—and, of course, we have no idea where the next governor will fall on the ideological scale.