Mass. Lt. Gov. Tim Murray announced on Wednesday that he will resign from his post on June 2 to take up a new position as president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“This unique new opportunity will allow me to continue to work on the economic and community development initiative and ideas that I have worked on for over 15 years in elected office,” Murray said in a televised press conference at the State House via CBS Boston.
Murray, former mayor of Worcester, is the first lieutenant governor to resign midterm since John Kerry left the same post to join the U.S. Senate in 1985. The Massachusetts Constitution prevents Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick from appointing a new lieutenant governor. He will have to operate without one until his term expires in Jan. 2015.
In January, Murray said he would not run for political office in 2014.
“I said at that time the next chapter of my life needed to be focused primarily on family,” he said. “We have two active beautiful daughters who recently turned eight and seven years old, and I wanted to take advantage of this moment in our lives, as childhood passes quickly and as this is an important time for our family.”
He said he did not actively seek the position with the Chamber of Commerce.
“I was approached by the leadership at the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce with an intriguing idea,” he said. “The chamber’s long-time capable president, Dick Kennedy, is retiring, and the executive committee asked if I was interested in leading the Chamber and growing its mission and its economic impact.”
He said he initially dismissed the idea due to timing, but after discussing the decision with his wife, Tammy, he became interested in opportunities the company presented.
“In my new role as president and CEO of Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, I will work for the same goals [as during my term as lieutenant governor] except on the private sector side of the equation,” he said. “I look forward to helping the Chamber, its membership and the entire region build a brighter future.”
Murray said his departure is not the result of an ongoing investigation into whether his campaign committee illegally accepted contributions raised by Michael McLaughlin, former Chelsea Housing Authority director.
“It had nothing to do with this decision,” he said. “This is a unique opportunity, a special opportunity.”
Bradley H. Jones, Mass. House Minority Leader, said in a statement on Wednesday that he wishes Murray the best in his endeavors, but that the timing of his departure is questionable.
“On a political level, Lieutenant Governor Murray departs the public sector with a number of unanswered questions regarding his involvement in numerous scandals,” he said. “[He] leaves far more questions upon his departure than answers.”
John Walsh, chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, said in a statement on Wednesday that Murray will continue to advocate for economic growth and job creation as president and CEO.
“Lieutenant Governor Murray has been a powerful voice for the people of the Commonwealth and has taken the lead on a large portfolio of issues,” he said. “He has been a valuable member of the Patrick administration. We wish him the best of luck as the CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.”
Patrick said at the press conference Murray did excellent work during his term as lieutenant governor.
“I want to add my congratulations and thanks to Tim for the extraordinary role he has played,” he said. “Tim Murray is a trusted partner and just a great friend. He was here everyday for the right reasons.”
Murray acknowledged he did not make his decision lightly and is grateful to all his staff during his term.
“This has been a very difficult, yet empowering decision,” he said. “It has been an honor to serve as lieutenant governor.”