According to the Boston Globe, the state senator from Kennedy’s home district on Cape Cod, Robert A. O’Leary said he would be proud to sponsor the new law: “Given his role in health care, it would be tragic if he wasn’t able to have a vote in that and it took one vote to get it done".
Even as most people here in Massachusetts grieve the loss of Senator Ted Kennedy an active topic of conversation involves what will happen in our legislature regarding his successor. (See Boston Globe article.)
Last week I wrote about Kennedy playing politics by urging that they pass a new law allowing Governor Patrick to appoint an interim Senator.
Our governor says he’ll sign such a bill and urges one be passed quickly. When asked about the hypocrisy of changing a law the the Democrats passed to prevent Republican Mitt Romney from appointing a new senator if John Kerry won the presidency he sidestepped a substantive answer saying (according to The Globe) that he wasn’t in office in 2004.
I still believe that what is good for the goose is good for the gander (or the elephant and donkey in political terms).
A special election will be held this winter. If Democrats in the Senate need one vote to pass health care reform they will just have to wait.
I have yet to see the only argument spelled out why this case is different from 2004. This is that when John Kerry ran for president he and the party knew it was likely that if he won he’d be replaced by a Republican. Now our empty seat is the result of a senator’s death.
I don’t think this is enough of a reason to change the law. I do think that if a new law is proposed it should differentiate between the two ways a seat becomes vacant.
If a seat becomes vacant because a Senator dies, has to resign for personal reasons, or is removed from office, an interim appointment is made by the governor. If a seat becomes vacant because the Senator takes another political job, be it elected office or a presidential appointment the seat must stay vacant until a special election is held.