Q&A #3: On the Massachusetts House Leadership Openings

The answer to today’s third Ask Bernstein Anything question.

“Elliott12″ asks a question I’ve had on my mind:

With Reinstein’s and O’Flaherty’s resignations creating key openings in the Speaker’s leadership team, whose political fortunes do you see rising?

Kathy Reinstein is Second Assistant Majority Leader, and the highest-ranking woman in House leadership; I would imagine there will be pressure on Speaker DeLeo to elevate a woman. He could bump up Ellen Story for Division Leader, and fill her spot with a woman—the question is who? Little-known fact: chairs of all nine house standing committees are men. Female House chairs on joint committees are Corey Atkins, Anne Gobi, Kay Kahn, Sarah Peake, and Alice Peisch (out of 26), so maybe one of them, or Ways & Means assistant vice chair Cheryl Coakley-Rivera.

I’m very interested in who gets Eugene O’Flaherty’s Judiciary chair. It’s a great spot for someone who cares about policy, but not necessarily great for someone looking to fatten his or her campaign account. I’ve asked around a little about this, but don’t really have any names beyond pure baseless speculation.

On a side note, I’m fascinated to see how O’Flaherty approaches the job of defending the city against lawsuits. Menino and his team were quite aggressive, refusing to acknowledge any blame or culpability on the part of city employees and departments; O’Flaherty, and Marty Walsh for that matter, might be expected to have more sympathy for the wronged—but my guess is that they will be just as zealous as their predecessors.

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  • elliot12

    Thanks for answering. Note: Pat Haddad is the highest ranking woman in House leadership.