By 5 p.m. Friday, State Senator Stanley Rosenberg’s resignation will be finalized.
This comes after an ethics report that stated Rosenberg failed to protect the Senate from his husband, Byron Hefner, who is facing several sexual misconduct charges.
Rosenberg’s resignation after 31 years as a legislator leaves two western Massachusetts communities without any representation in the legislature for the rest of 2018.
Those who live in Northampton and Hatfield will have no voice on Beacon Hill for the rest of this year.
Their representative, Peter Kocut, passed away in February and with Rosenberg’s resignation coming too late for special elections, Northampton’s mayor is asking the state to extend the signature deadline to open the race for Rosenberg’s now empty seat.
On Friday, after three decades of public service, Rosenberg will leave Beacon Hill for the last time as a legislator.
This follows an ethics report concluded he failed to protect the Senate from his husband accused of sexual misconduct.
The Amherst Democrat will be leaving these communities in western Massachusetts without a seat at the table for 2018 - 24 communities spanning Hampshire, Franklin, and Worcester Counties.
One of those communities is Northampton, which also lost their representative when Kocut passed away.
"We have literally lost our entire voice for the rest of the year," said Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz.
Narkewicz has raised concerns that the ethics report was released a day after the deadline to submit nomination papers for the Senate seat. It’s now too late for a special election in these districts, so he is now appealing to the governor and elected officials for emergency legislation to extend the deadline to May 15.
"People have an opportunity to step forward who may not have because then-Senator Rosenberg had stepped forward as he has in this district for decades," Narkewicz noted.
So far, one Democrat - Chelsea Kline - filed signatures before the May 1 deadline. She sat down with Western Mass News on Friday said of Rosenberg’s resignation, "I think it is really sad."
Kline told Western Mass News that her campaign is focused on improving public schools, fighting the opioid crisis, and providing programs to vulnerable persons. She said that the emergency amendment to extend will not be allowed and won't impact her campaign.
"If someone wants to jump in the water, it's fine. My campaign will not change. I have started off strong and I will continue to listen to voters and listen to them and I will take nothing for granted," Kline explained.
Narkewicz said that other representatives from western Mass. looked out for the city's interest in their budget. Next week, the senate will take up the budget and it will be the first week that the city will be without a state senator.
Late Friday afternoon, Senators Adam Hinds of Pittsfield, Eric Lesser of Longmeadow, Anne Gobi of Spencer, and Don Humason of Westfield said that they would collectively advocate for the communities of the Hampshire, Franklin, and Worcester Senate District for the remainder of 2018.
“We wish to assure the residents, local and regional officials in the Hampshire, Franklin & Worcester Senate District that we will work together to represent your needs and priorities on Beacon Hill. We will work collectively to advance your agenda and protect your interests for the remainder of this legislative session. It is the right thing to do for western Massachusetts and to keep our region strong," the senators said in a joint statement.
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