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In The Arena

Adding to his resume

Rosenberg didn’t expect majority leader post

As he tells it, Franklin-Hampshire state Sen. Stan Rosenberg believed his career in the Senate leadership peaked 12 years ago when he served as the chair of the prestigious Ways and Means Committee.

“I figured that would be the pinnacle of my legislative career, but it turns out it wasn’t,” Rosenberg said.

Since then, Rosenberg has served as assistant majority leader and Senate president pro tempore, a position he held until the beginning of this term, when he was named majority leader by Senate President Therese Murray.

“As (Murray) said to me the other day, ‘you’ve done every other job around here, so you are well prepared to do this one,’” Rosenberg said. “I knew the position was becoming available, but it wasn’t something I was lusting after, and since I was third in the hierarchy, I knew it was a possibility, but around here you don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.”

It appears Rosenberg may have inadvertently benefitted from a political rivalry between Murray and South Boston Sen. Jack Hart, who abruptly resigned at the start of the session. Hart, who had long been considered Senate “president-in-waiting,” resigned to take a job at a prestigious law firm, but only after it was apparent that he wasn’t going to have a place in the leadership as long as Murray was holding the Senate gavel.

Hart’s departure, combined with the retirement of long-time Majority Leader Frederick Berry, set the table for Rosenberg, who is the first western-area legislator to rise this high on the Beacon Hill food chain since Northampton state Rep. William Nagle Jr. served as House majority leader — a job he eventually left in 2001 when then-Acting Gov. Paul Cellucci appointed him magistrate of the Ware District Court.

In addition to his majority leader’s stripes, Rosenberg also will be chairman of the Senate’s Ethics and Rules Committee, the latter of which is especially important because it allows him, as chair, to decide which bills filed after the Senate deadline actually make it to the floor for consideration.

Most importantly, Rosenberg’s promotion puts him a heartbeat away from the Senate presidency, and the likely heir apparent to take over when Murray is forced to step down from the post in 2015 because of term-limit rules.

Why so surprised?

Are people really that surprised that Scott Brown isn’t going to run for John Kerry’s Senate seat?

Pundits across the commonwealth expressed shock at Brown’s decision not to run for his party’s nomination for the seat vacated by Kerry’s recent appointment as U.S. secretary of state. But, from where I sit, the move makes perfect sense if you really stop and think about it. And if simple logic isn’t enough, put on Brown’s barn coat for just a minute.

You’ve just gotten your clock cleaned in an eight-point loss, and you are faced with the prospect of running against another well-financed Democratic opponent for the right to, once again, occupy a seat for two years in a rabidly partisan Congress, after which you are sure to be targeted again by the Democrats. Or you can take some time off, go back to the private sector, make some money and raise even more for yourself and other Republican candidates across country and maybe run for governor next year against what, right now, looks like a pretty weak Democratic candidate field — one that will have to defend what is shaping up to be one of the largest tax increases in Massachusetts history.

When you consider it in those terms, Brown’s “non-run” suddenly makes a whole lot more sense.

Taking out papers

Apparently, Mark Maloni and Karen Shapiro-Miller are enjoying their time as part of the legislative arm of Greenfield town government.

Both Maloni and Shapiro-Miller, who were appointed to fill council vacancies at-large and in Precinct 8 respectively earlier this year, have taken out nomination papers to run for those seats in the 2013 Greenfield annual town election. Other incumbents who have taken out papers include Precinct 7 Councilor Karen “Rudy” Renaud, Precinct 9 Councilor Steven Ronhave and At-Large Councilor and former Council Vice-President Patrick Devlin, who was seen collecting signatures outside Greenfield High School this past weekend at the CISA “Winter Fare Market.”

There is also one potential council race shaping up in Precinct 7, where political newcomer Gia Westerman has taken out papers to run against Renaud. Town Clerk Maureen Winseck says there are no takers, as yet, for the two available School Committee seats, which are now occupied by Marcia Day and Doris Doyle — neither of whom have pulled papers at this point.

Chris Collins is the Franklin County News Bureau Chief for WHAI, WPVQ and WHMP Radio. He is a former staff reporter for The Recorder, and is a Greenfield native.

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