Sources: Boncore eyeing MassBio job

Hiring senator fits a pattern at life sciences advocacy group

SEN. JOSEPH BONCORE of Winthrop is stepping down to take the top job at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, according to sources familiar with the senator’s thinking and media reports, although the council itself said the search is continuing.

Boncore could not be reached for comment and Senate officials had no immediate comment.

Kendalle Burlin O’Connell, the current president and chief operating officer of Mass Bio, which advocates for the surging life sciences industry in Massachusetts, indicated Boncore’s hiring is not a done deal. “Our CEO search is ongoing and we don’t have any further comment at this time,” she said.

Boncore’s hiring would continue a pattern at Mass BIO of hiring politically connected CEOs familiar with the landscape of Beacon Hill. Boncore is replacing Robert Coughlin, who stepped down in December after serving as president and CEO for 13 years. He previously worked in the administration of former governor Deval Patrick and represented Dedham as a state rep. Coughlin replaced Tom Finneran, a former speaker of the House.

Boncore’s departure would trigger a special election for his seat that is likely to attract strong interest from people in the district, which spans Winthrop, Revere, and parts of Cambridge and Boston.

His exit would also create a void on Beacon Hill. Boncore, who was elected in 2016, is the Senate chair of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee and in that role has been aggressive in pushing for a number of progressive causes, including no-fare bus service, higher fees on Uber and Lyft rides, and setting fares based on the income level of the rider.

Landing the Mass Bio job would give Boncore a big pay boost. Couglin was paid more than $800,000 in salary and bonuses, according to tax documents that are more than three years old.