January 10, 2018

Chandler: Senate president race takes back seat … for now

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Sam Doran / State House News Service

Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, acting Senate president

Weeks after acting Senate President Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester, said the four senators jockeying for position to become the next president had agreed to ratchet down the electioneering, the Worcester leader said the hopefuls should be “commended” for their restraint.

Sens. Linda Dorcena Forry, Eileen Donoghue, Karen Spilka and Sal DiDomenico made their interest in the presidency clear in the days leading up to and after Sen. Stanley Rosenberg stepped down from the presidency to clear the path for independent ethics investigation.

Asked if the internal politicking had quieted since the initial flurry of activity, Chandler said, “I think so, don’t you think so? We’re pleased that we’re moving forward as a Senate. You know, it’s not easy to start with a little black cloud over your head and we’re trying to do the best we very possibly can do.”

She continued, “The members have been very good about this. The people who are running for office who would like to be the next president are very good about this, and I can only commend them for the way they’ve handled themselves.”

Rosenberg stepped down last month amid an uproar over allegations that his husband Bryon Hefner groped at least four men with business before the Legislature and boasted of his influence over Senate policy decisions.

The Amherst Democrat termed his departure a “leave of absence” until the conclusion of an independent investigation into whether he broke any Senate rules in relation to his husband’s behavior.

But Chandler, who has denied interest in the permanent post, predicted that when she does step down the race will be on.

“The presumption is that at some point I’m going to step down and there’s going to be a race. What can I say? That’s the way it’s usually done in the Senate.”

Asked if that race could include Rosenberg, she said, “Of course, He’s a member.”

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