Spilka secures votes for Senate president

Time to 'turn the page,' says budget committee chief

SENATE WAYS AND MEANS Committee chairwoman Karen Spilka has secured the votes to become the next Senate president, according to State House sources.

Spilka, an Ashland Democrat, was one of four senators to express interest in taking the reins after Stan Rosenberg stepped down from the post last year amidst controversy over allegations that his husband sexually harassed four individuals who have business on Beacon Hill and boasted to them about the influence he wields over Senate activities.

“Karen Spilka has the votes to be next Senate president,” said one Democratic senator who asked not be named.

In December, after Rosenberg stepped aside, Sen. Harriette Chandler was elected Senate president, but she has pledged to only serve out the remainder of the current session and relinquish the post in January. It is unclear now when a change in leadership will take place.

“I’m deeply honored by the support I’ve received from my fellow Senators,” Spilka said in a statement. “I look forward to working collaboratively with Senate President Chandler and my Democratic and Republican colleagues to ensure a smooth transition. Senators have made clear that they want certainty in leadership to allow us to focus solely on the vitally important work to be done on behalf of the people at this time. It’s time to turn the page and usher in a new era of collaborative leadership in the Senate.  We will work with our colleagues in the House and with Governor Baker to ensure the faith of the public is upheld, and our work on behalf of the people of our Commonwealth always work comes first.”

Spilka began jockeying more intensively late last week to secure the votes to become president, activity that accelerated last night and this morning, according to the Democratic senator.  The senator said her chief rival for the post, Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett conceded the race to Spilka today.

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Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

“I would like to congratulate Chairwoman Karen Spilka, and I have pledged my support to her as our next Senate president,” DiDomenico said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing our close working relationship, and I know that she will be a strong leader for our body moving forward and a powerful voice for individuals and families across Massachusetts.”

Also expressing interest in the post in recent weeks were Sen. John Keenan of Quincy and Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow.