House & Senate Committee Chairs Named

House & Senate Committee Chairs Named

Strong Support for Public Retirees Across Beacon Hill Leadership

FEBRUARY 14, 2019: Valentine’s Day marks the beginning of a new era of legislative leadership on Beacon Hill, with the House and Senate naming committee chairs.

With vacant chairs on both House and Senate Ways and Means Committees, speculation has swirled for months on which two legislators would be tapped to head what are arguably the most important of legislative committee posts. 

The guessing game came to an end by lunchtime on Wednesday when Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) named Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) to Chair the Senate Ways and Means. Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) will serve as Vice Chair, as well as Chair of Healthcare Finance.

Less than an hour later, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) named Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-North End) to Chair House Ways and Means. Rep. Denise Garlick (D-Needham) will serve as the Committee’s Vice Chair. Michlewitz previously chaired the Joint Committee on Public Service, a key committee for all public retirees.

Despite the overall importance of the budget writing Committees, members know that the one Committee of utmost importance to Public Retirees is the Joint Committee on Public Service. Nearly all retirement-related legislation originates before Public Service. 

In the House, Rep. Jerald Parisella (D-Beverly) will retain his chairmanship. Parisella became House Chair of Public Service in 2017, after having previously served as Chair of the Veterans Committee. Rep. Gerald Cassidy (D-Brockton) will serve as House Vice Chair.

On the Senate side, Senator Michael Brady (D-Brockton) has been named Chair, with Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) serving as Vice Chair.

“We are very grateful to Speaker DeLeo for maintaining the continuity of the Public Service Committee by keeping Chairman Parisella in place. Not only does Jerry have a deep understanding of public retirement and cares about our members, he’s assembled a top-notch Committee staff who share his vision,” said Association President Frank Valari. “On the Senate side, we have a great fit with Mike Brady in terms of him representing a district with a very active public service constituency. Our relationship with Mike dates back to when he was a city councilor in Brockton, through his tenure in the House and now into the Senate. We look forward to working with the Committee this session on a host of issues important to public retirees.”

“One of the toughest assignments in elected office is to chair the Ways and Means Committee. Not only are you responsible for crafting the annual budget and supplemental budgets, but the Ways and Means is the final check on nearly every piece of major legislation. The workload is daunting and, given limited resources, you end up having to say “No” far more than you’d like,” explains Association Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel. “That said, both Aaron Michlewitz and Mike Rodrigues are excellent choices to lead their respective committees. They’re veteran legislators and each is widely respected on Beacon Hill.

“More importantly for public retirees, both Aaron and Mike have proven to be allies of public retirees. Aaron previously chaired Public Service and Mike has been directly involved in the passage of several Mass Retirees sponsored bills over his years in the House and Senate. They both come from districts with a proud heritage of public service and worked their way up through the legislative leadership to earn their new posts. We’re excited to be able to now work with them both in this new capacity.”

Committee hearings are anticipated to begin in late March, following the completion of the bill filing process. House and Senate clerks are now processing several thousand separate bills, assigning bill numbers and committee designation. Mass Retirees has filed 17 separate bills for the 2019-20 Legislative Session. A complete report on these bills is contained in the upcoming March 2019 Voice.