By Bob Katzen
Senate 37-0, approved a motion to remove the adjective “Acting” from Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler’s title and make the Worcester senator the permanent Senate president for the remainder of 2018. Chandler, 80, was majority leader and second in command in the Senate before former Senate President Stan Rosenberg resigned on December 4. Rosenberg’s resignation came after allegations in the Boston Globe that his husband, Bryon Hefner, groped three men and kissed another one against his will. The Globe story also included claims that Hefner has said he speaks for Rosenberg and talks about Senate business with legislators and their staffs. The Senate Ethics Committee is currently investigating the matter.
“I did not allow Bryon Hefner to influence my actions and decisions as Senate president, or to influence the Senate’s actions and decisions, despite any suggestions to the contrary,” said Rosenberg. “I continue to rely on the Senate Ethics Committee investigation to determine all the facts, and I look forward to its completion.”
Following Rosenberg’s resignation, Chandler was elected to fill the spot temporarily until the investigation was over and Rosenberg or another senator is elected president. Chandler has said repeatedly she does not want to be the permanent Senate president for a long period of time and will not be a candidate for the position in January when the new Senate, following the November 2018 election, is scheduled to elect a new Senate president. Four senators are said to be already jockeying for votes for Senate president: Sens. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow) and Eileen Donoghue. (D-Lowell).
Chandler plans to soon move into the plush office of the Senate president and will also name a new majority leader, the post she held before being elected Senate president. She said that the focus continues to be on policy, the budget and the business of legislating. “We have now reached a point where we are into the business of doing what we’re here to do, which is legislating,” said Chandler. We have a budget … We have work to do for the people who have elected us, and ‘acting’ doesn’t quite do it anymore. We are now at the point where we need a president who has the full responsibilities and the full authority of a president of the Senate.”
Both Chandler and Rosenberg intend to run for re-election in November.