August 26th, 2009
02:48 PM ET
5 years ago

Patrick supports changing law to allow for interim senator

Gov. Deval Patrick is in favor of a state law that would allow him to appoint an interim replacement.
Gov. Deval Patrick is in favor of a state law that would allow him to appoint an interim replacement.

(CNN) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday he is in favor of a change in state law supported by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy that would allow him to appoint an interim replacement to fill the state's vacant Senate seat.

Under current Massachusetts law, a special election must be held 145 to 160 days after a Senate seat becomes vacant, with the winner serving the remainder of the former senator's unexpired term.

"I believe that the senator's request to permit the governor to appoint someone to serve for that five months until a special election was entirely reasonable," Patrick said in an interview with Boston radio station WBUR. "I think particularly now when you think about the momentous change legislation that is pending in the Congress today, Massachusetts needs two voices. "

Asked if he would push the state legislature to make that change, Patrick said he would, and that he would sign the bill into law.

Last week, Kennedy - who died Tuesday at age 77 after serving nearly five decades in the Senate - urged that the law be changed to allow the governor to appoint a temporary replacement until the special election can be held.


Filed under: Deval Patrick • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Obama Victim

    so let's review...............they want to honor a great legislator by pulling off a scam like this,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,well...they are democrats

    August 26, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Todd

    Given the cost of a special election it seems perfectly reasonable to appoint someone. Besides, MA is it's own state and the residents are the ones to decide if the legislature is not acting in their best interest.

    August 26, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Vicki

    Of course he wants it changed! Can you imagine if the Gov were still a Republican & he suggested that??? There would be a huge fit from the liberals saying how the republican is trying to bypass the law!

    August 26, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. John

    Look at these stupid Republicans who believe in party over Country. Nothing but traitors and hippies who do not want to pay their taxes.
    The Constituion of the US trumps the Mass Constitution, maybe Glenn Beck did not tell you that but it is true. It is also true that it specifically says 2 senators at all times. Maybe Rush Limbaugh forgot to tell you that so you would be pissed off at the Mass governor proposing to change stte law.

    Nothing but phonies in the Repub party and I cant wait for when they lose more seats in the midterms for being traitors.

    August 26, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. Jacqueline

    This is just unbelievable...it must be nice to be in a position to change laws whenever it's convenient to suit a parties needs or agenda's. Where do go from here? We're losing our structure and grounding a little at a time.

    August 26, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. Rooster

    Typical political tactics, change the law to suit your needs. Last time they had an open seat, kennedy wanted the law changed the other way because they had a repub gov in office.

    August 26, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. MVBADBOY

    The Height Of Hypocrisy!

    August 26, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. a little sad

    After the Repubs forced Minnesota to go without a senator while Coleman had a hissy fit, of course they want to make sure another seat is vacant for 5 months or so.

    August 26, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Bill

    Let me see if I've got this straight; the state governor used to be able to make an appointment to fill the vacant seat ,but in 2004, at the bequest of Senator Kennedy, that law was changed to call for a special election within 5 months specifically so that the governor could NOT make an appointment to fill the vacancy. Now the governor would support a change back to the old law to allow the governor to make an appointment to fill the vacancy just as he supported the change in law to NOT allow the governor to make an appointment to fill the vacancy when Romney , a Republican, was governor. I wonder what makes things so different now; oh yeah, the governor now is a Democrat. Hey, why not just change the law to NOT allow any Republicans to hold elected office in the state? It would save everyone the trouble of those bothersome free elections. No such thing as a level playing field in Massachusetts.

    August 26, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Dennis

    Imagine the outcry if Republicans wanted to change the law depending on the situation. They passed this law so Romney couldn't make an appointment. They need to live with it and have a special election.

    August 26, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. JOE BLOGGS

    Great! The Repugnants can bleat all they want. We all know they would (and do) use very dirty trick in the book to get their agenda through. This time is too important to let the obstructionists block the critial health care reform that is imminent

    August 26, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Metzger

    I think this is perfectly reasonable. This appointee would only be serving until a special election is held. No state should be without both of their representatives at any time.

    Also, Kennedy was going to vote in favor of healthcare reform, so its only natural that an appointee who will vote the same way (as a duely appointed representative of the people of Massachusetts. ) be allowed to carry his vote.

    Honestly, the way you republicans are spinning this is just sickening.

    August 26, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Chavez

    They must have gotten advice from their friend Hugo Chavez. Change the law to accomodate your socialist agenda.

    August 26, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Bolt

    What an arrogant, selfish move. Changing the law again (Dems changed it from what they now want only 5 years ago) simply for partisan politics is an offense to sensibility and again demonstrates how low political parties and politicians will sink to further their own interests. The late Senator Kennedy was not going to make most of the votes anyway, so his absence makes no practical difference in counting the votes. Thus, if this law is changed, Govenor Patrick will have to appoint someone who "guarantees" how he/she will vote before being sworn in. Shame of the Dems for even suggesting this. This again illustrates what is wrong with politics today. How about passing Health Reform legislation that can garner 75 votes or more votes in the Senate versus some "cram it down their throats because we know what's good for them" partisan crap that simply pays back constituencies and donors that support one party or another.

    August 26, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Ralph

    Only republicans would argue AGAINST a state having its full voice in the Senate.

    Of course, were things the other way around, they would be defending this type of action.

    Go on and whine, crybabies. It'll change nothing. Maybe you can organize a "teabagging" or try and disrupt some townhall meetings over it. Get a life and try to do something constructive for this country you sore losers.

    August 26, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Who here honestly thinks that if Kerry had won in 2004, Romney would have appointed a Democrat to replace him in the Senate...as would be 100% obvious to anyone being honest would have been the will of the people of MA? If you do, you are a moron.

    BTW, there's no way you can define it as corruption: it may be a gloriously shining example of political maneuvering (for which the GOP is of course very angry because they got outplayed), but it's all perfectly legal and has to pass the MA state legislature to come to fruition. I guarantee you that the vast majority of residents in MA want two votes regarding the health care issue.

    August 26, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Deep Throat

    A governor in Illinois decided there...and look what we got! Patrick should
    mind his business and leave the law alone. Now is not the time to play
    petty partisan games; it's time to mourn ...and heal.

    August 26, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. steve/maryland

    use your head people this admin. is killing this country health care is NOT A RIGHT it is a commodity to be purchesd by the indivdual like any other insurance poiicy. tkae responsibility for yourself and quit trying to have someone else pay your bills

    August 26, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Biff

    The article should mention that the law was changed to its current form a only 5 years ago when Romney was Govenor and John Kerry was running for President. They changed the law so if Kerry was elected, Romney couldn't make a special appointment. Now they want to change it back? I don't live there, but you guys that do... please vote the corruption out.

    August 26, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Evan

    Just like everything in the Government domain. Wonder why the majority of Americans do NOT TRUST their government to provide health care. They are too busy changing laws to suit their personal agendas. At least NASCAR drivers wear their sponsor's names on their jackets. We need Term Limits for all public officials.

    But knowing politics, they will probably replace this Kennedy with another one from the "royal" line.

    August 26, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. Blake in South Texas

    Just like a democrat. Change the rules to your benefit and screw everyone else. Typical....

    August 26, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Steve

    The state’s Democrats are in the awkward position of being asked to reverse their own 2004 vote to keep vacant Senate seats empty until a special election.

    Until that year, Massachusetts law had called for the governor to appoint a temporary replacement if a Senate seat became vacant. But when Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, was running for president in 2004, the Democrat-controlled State Legislature wanted to deny the governor at the time — Mitt Romney, a Republican — the power to name a successor if Mr. Kerry won. The resulting law requires a special election within 145 to 160 days after the vacancy occurs.

    August 26, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. seebofubar

    This type of idiotic political behavior seems to be business as usual in the Democratic party these days. But it's not to be unexpected, the President is a child of the Chicago political machine. This is not the Democratic party of the 60's 70's 80's and 90's. This Democtatic party is ridded with corruption and self serving politicians that only care about themselvs. It's a shame and does not serve justice to the many good democrats that served the country in the past.

    August 26, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. BH

    Change the law once to prevent Romney from appointing a Republican, then change it back to ensure the appointment of a Democrat by Patrick. Wouldn't want the common folk actually expressing a different opinion.

    This is what you have become, Democrats. Question is, do you care?

    August 26, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Mississippi Mike

    What ever happened to Democracy? Let the people vote their own representative into office instead of appointing a liberal lap dog. If having 59 Democrat Senators and control of the House of Representatives on top of a Democrat president isn't enough to pass the Democrats' agenda then maybe they should take another look at what they are trying to pass. You'd think that reaching across the aisle might involve convincing at least one GOP Senator to vote for a bill, wouldn't you?

    August 26, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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