Massachusetts Sen. Therese Murray, the first woman to serve as the chamber’s president, announced she will not run for re-election to the state Senate this November.
Several Massachusetts senators said they have worked closely with Murray throughout her time in the Senate and admire her for the change she sparked in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, the Senate’s minority leader, plans to run for Murray’s seat in the upcoming election. He said he has worked closely with Murray, professionally and personally.
“We worked very closely together to try to ensure that same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples when it comes to marriage and family issues,” he said. “The Senate President and I have been colleagues in the Senate for nearly two decades and we have traveled extensively in Russia, helping with humanitarian work over there, so we’ve gotten to know each other very well.”
With a focus on helping children and improving healthcare, she has helped pass several pieces of landmark legislation, such as the Healthcare Reform Act of 2006, which expanded healthcare to children and provided increased subsidies for families living in poverty. Murray also served as the chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee for four years prior to becoming president.
While Rosenberg would not comment on his candidacy, he said Murray was an effective leader and her term as Senate president was successful.
“It’s too early to talk about [upcoming election],” he said. “We’re focused on helping the Senate President successfully complete the Senate agenda.”
Sen. Jennifer Flanagan served as the vice chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee under Murray’s leadership. She said Murray has been a mentor for her in terms of welfare reform and female leadership roles.
“She is someone who certainly thinks that women belong in power, in policy positions and influential positions, not only in politics but in business,” she said. “She goes above and beyond to make sure we do what’s right on behalf of the citizens in Massachusetts. It’s going to be a great loss to the Senate and to the Commonwealth when she ends her term.”
Sen. Robert Hedlund has been serving with Murray since 1995. He said there are many similarities between him and Murray, despite their differing political views.
“If you look back at roll call, there are a lot of things [she has done] that we as Republicans have supported and been in consensus with,” he said. “She and I have been on the opposite sides of a lot of things in the Senate, but she has impacted our collegiality.”
Murray created unity among Senate members, which has left an impact on chamber, said Massachusetts Sen. Michael Barrett.
“I can attest to Terry’s success in restoring collegiality and scuttling the fear factor that once clouded service in the body,” he said. “She will be missed, but she exits with a legacy that will endure after she goes.”
Elected to the state Senate in 1992, Murray was elected Senator of the Plymouth and Barnstable District. She has been serving as the president since 2007.
“For the past 22 years, the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have benefited immensely from the dedication of Senate President Therese Murray,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement Saturday. “I am proud to call Terry a colleague and a friend. As a fellow native of Dorchester with strong ties to Ireland, we have much in common. I thank her for her tireless public service and commend her on a remarkable career in the Massachusetts Senate.”