Lowell reps. would welcome change in House leadership
Thanks to State House Reporter Chris Camire for Tuesday’s Column Blog post.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo denied this week he is the target of any federal probes in connection with a patronage scandal within the state’s Probation Department.
DeLeo’s comments came in the wake of a Boston Globe report that federal investigators are focusing on allegations that votes for DeLeo’s speakership campaign were rewarded with jobs or promotions within the Probation department.
“I can tell you that any member who would testify there was any agreement that, if they voted for me, they’d get a job down the road in probation is being untruthful,” DeLeo told reporters Monday.
Still, with DeLeo’s name once again being mentioned at the center of the scandal, some are speculating who the Winthrop Democrat’s successor could be should he be forced to step down and follow in the footsteps the previous three House speakers and convicted felons, Sal DiMasi, Tom Finneran and Charlie Flaherty.
The name that has come up most often? Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey, a Haverhill Democrat.
One lawmaker said Dempsey would be a “shoo-in” for the House’s top job should DeLeo go.
If Dempsey were to become speaker, it could be a boon for Greater Lowell lawmakers who were largely subjected to the House’s back bench when DeLeo was named speaker.
Lowell representatives, in particular, lost some of the clout they enjoyed under former Speaker Sal DiMasi when they backed Rep. John Rogers, D-Norwood, over DeLeo for Speaker in 2009.
But Reps. Tom Golden, Kevin Murphy and David Nangle have a good relationship with Dempsey and would likely back him should he aim to become speaker one day.
Dempsey has ties to the Lowell area. He graduated from UMass Lowell and worked at Radius Northwood HealthCare Center, a nursing home on Varnum Avenue, in the marketing department after college.
His father, “Chickie” Dempsey, 81, grew up in Lowell and attended Lowell High School, where he was a standout athlete.
“Every time we have a Lowell-Haverhill game, it’s conflicting for him,” joked Dempsey last year.
Area lawmakers say Dempsey is not campaigning for the job. That makes sense, given that DeLeo demoted former Ways and Means Chair Charlie Murphy, D-Burlington, after he was reportedly talking with colleagues about his interest in someday becoming speaker. And now Murphy will resign from his House seat at the end of July to take a job at Arcadia Solutions, a health-care consulting firm in Burlington.Explore posts in the same categories: The Column