Rosenberg running for re-election to Senate seat

  • Gazette file photo  Gazette file photo 

  • State Sen. Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, poses outside the Statehouse in Boston, April 2, 2012. AP FILE PHOTO

  • - In this March 14, 2016, file photo, Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg speaks during a signing ceremony for legislation aimed at reversing a deadly opioid addiction crisis at the Statehouse in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) Elise Amendola

Thursday, February 22, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — State Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, who had to relinquish the Senate presidency over ethics issues concerning his husband, will seek re-election to his Senate seat, the Amherst Democrat confirmed Feb. 16.

In fact, Rosenberg said, he pulled papers for re-election on the very first day they were available.

A photo posted on social media at the end of January shows a smiling Rosenberg outside the secretary of the commonwealth’s office, picking up the papers to begin his run. He represents the Hampshire, Franklin & Worcester District.

“We need a major reinvestment in education and transportation,” he said, listing some of the legislative issues that are a focus of his 2018 term and that he expects to carry over to his re-election campaign. “We need concerted and aggressive action on climate change. And we need to continue to work on closing the income and wealth gap.”

Keeping the education sector healthy and thriving in Hampshire Country, which is home to six colleges and universities, is a major priority, he said. So, too, is investing in transportation, from infrastructure like road and bridge work to increasing and accelerating regional transportation.

Along with Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, Rosenberg has been active in supporting a proposal to study ways to link Springfield and Boston with passenger rail.

However, while education and transportation make the top of his priority list, Rosenberg said, “it all pales in comparison to climate change.”

“If we don’t deal with climate change, a lot of the rest of it is moot,” he said. He cited initiatives in green technology, energy efficiency and energy storage as examples of areas where western Massachusetts is moving forward through university research, the Mass Tech Collaborative and proposals by Statehouse colleagues like Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose, D-Amherst.

As Rosenberg’s plans for re-election move forward, two of his longtime Statehouse colleagues from the Pioneer Valley recently announced they would not seek re-election this year.

Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-Worthington, and Rep. John Scibak, D-South Hadley, both announced their retirements after serving in their positions for 25 years and 16 years, respectively.

Rosenberg said the retirements mean that the area stands to lose clout not just from the significant positions Kulik and Scibak hold, but also from their wealth of knowledge and experience. In positions where many people serve just eight to 10 years, Rosenberg said, Kulik and Scibak have earned seniority, trust and respect among their colleagues.

For himself, he said he continues to bring passion and energy to his position in the Senate, and as a self-described “policy wonk,” he said he knows he can continue to serve the people of Massachusetts in any position he may hold at the Statehouse.

Rosenberg stepped down from Senate presidency in December as the Senate Ethics Committee began an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against his husband, Bryon Hefner, and allegations reported by the Boston Globe that Hefner held sway over Senate affairs.

That investigation is still in process, as are criminal investigations by the state attorney general’s office and the FBI.

Sen. Harriette Chandler, D-Worcester, was named Senate president for the remainder of this year.

Asked if he would consider running to resume his role as Senate president in the future, should he be re-elected as a senator and cleared by the ethics investigation, Rosenberg said he would cross that bridge when he comes to it.

“I’ve held many leadership positions, and I know that you can contribute from any chair in the Senate,” he said. “I have a voice, I have a vote, and if the people return me to office, I will continue to use that to serve my community to the best of my ability.”