Leadership team named for Mass. Senate; Sen. Downing lists committee assignments for new session

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BOSTON -- Senate President Therese Murray has named her leadership team for the two-year session that began earlier this month, but the lineup provides few clues as to who might be in line to succeed her in the top position.

Murray tapped Sen. Stanley Rosenberg as majority leader. The Amherst Democrat replaces Frederick Berry, who retired from the Senate.

Worcester Sen. Harriett Chandler and New Bedford Sen. Mark Montigny will serve as assistant majority leaders, and Ashland Sen. Karen Spilka will be the majority whip.

Former Sen. Jack Hart of Boston had been considered a leading candidate to succeed Murray, who is barred by term limits from serving as Senate President beyond March 2015. But Hart resigned last week to accept an offer from a law firm.

Locally, state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, will continue to lead the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy Committee as Senate chairman, and in addition, will serve as chair of the Senate Committee on Bills in Third Reading. The Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy Committee reviews all legislative proposals for renewable and non-renewable energy sources. The Senate Committee on Bills in Third Reading reviews all bills and ensures they are constitutional and free from drafting errors.

Murray has also selected Downing to continue his vice-chairmanship of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development and his active membership on the powerful Senate Committee on Ways & Means.

This session Downing will also serve as a member of the Senate Committee on Post Audit & Oversight; the Senate Committee on Global Warming & Climate Change; the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture; and the Joint Committee on Higher Education.

Additionally, Downing serves as the Senate chairman of the Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus, as vice chairman of the Caucus on Regional Transit Authorities and participates in the Caucus on Regional Schools.


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