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Senate President Appoints Senator Spilka to Leadership Position

January 24, 2012

BOSTON – Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) today added a second woman to the Senate’s top posts after a full Democratic caucus approved a reconfigured Murray leadership team.

Senator Jack Hart (D-Boston) moves up into the role of Assistant Majority Leader. Senator Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester) also moves up, taking the position of Majority Whip. And the newest member of the leadership team, Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), takes over as Assistant Majority Whip.

“It is an honor to be appointed by Senate President Murray to serve as Assistant Majority Whip,” Spilka said. “I look forward to taking on this new role in supporting the Senate’s agenda and remain steadfast in my commitment to being a responsible steward of the taxpayers and an advocate for working families across the Commonwealth. I am eager to work with my colleagues on continuing our efforts to bring about necessary reform, promote job growth and economic development, and support the important services and programs our most vulnerable citizens depend on.

“All three senators have demonstrated the commitment and ability to lead in this body and deliver on important issues for the Commonwealth,” Murray said. “They each have the respect and support of their colleagues, and I am proud to have them on my leadership team.”

The changes were made possible by the departure last year of the former senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District, Steven Tolman, who served as Assistant Majority Leader under Murray.

“I am honored to be afforded this opportunity by Senate President Murray, a woman and a leader whom I admire greatly,” Hart said. “In this position, I hope to work with the leadership and the members to continue to do good things for the people of the Commonwealth.”

“It is truly an honor to serve as the new Majority Whip of the Senate,” Chandler said. “I am grateful for this opportunity, and I will continue to carry out my duties in the Senate as an advocate for my constituents and the rest of Massachusetts.”

The Senate President’s entire leadership team is now set as follows:

  • Senator Fred Berry (D-Peabody) remains as Majority Leader;
  • Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) remains as President Pro Tempore;
  • Senator Hart moves up from Majority Whip to Assistant Majority Leader;
  • Senator Chandler moves up from Assistant Majority Whip to Majority Whip; and
  • Senator Spilka moves into the role of Assistant Majority Whip after three years as Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development.

The moves result in several changes in committee chairmanships. With Spilka going into leadership, Senator Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham) takes over as Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development.

Senator Katherine Clark (D-Melrose) moves from Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service to take the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Revenue, formerly held by Candaras. And the newly sworn-in Senator William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) becomes the new Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Public Service, formerly held by Clark.

“I welcome Senator Brownsberger,” Murray said. “He brings a commitment to responsible public policy that we all share here in the Senate, and I look forward to working with him.”

Brownsberger won the seat vacated by Tolman in an uncontested general election January 10 and was sworn in today by Governor Deval Patrick during a formal session in the Senate Chamber.

“I am very grateful to the Senate President and her staff, and all of my new colleagues, for all the support and encouragement they have given me,” Browsnberger said.

In two other moves, Senator James Timilty (D-Walpole) joins the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, replacing Spilka; and Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) becomes a member of the Joint Committee on Revenue, also replacing Spilka.

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