State Representative Daniel Webster (R â€“Pembroke) lashed out at Beacon Hill Democrats attempting to build support for a bill to fill the vacant US Senate seat left with the passing of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. This afternoon, the full assembly of the Massachusetts House of Representatives debated a legislative proposal that would grant the Governor unilateral authority to appoint an interim successor. Webster was deeply concerned with this initiative given the fact that Beacon Hill Democrats had previously rejected such a proposal.
Representative Webster points to a 2004 roll call vote where House Democrats unanimously rejected a similar Republican proposal. This vote was taken during a debate over a bill, which eventually became law, establishing a special election process for filling US Senate vacancies. The 2004 Democratic proposal called for a special election within 145 to 160 days of a US Senate vacancy for the purpose of choosing a successor.
During the debate over this legislation, House Republicans filed an amendment whereby the Governor would make a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy created during the period between the departure of the incumbent and the election of a successor, provided the chosen successor would not run in the special election. At that time, House Republicans argued that Massachusetts would be unrepresented during the span of such a temporary vacancy. However, Beacon Hill Democrats lobbied against this GOP proposal arguing that it was unconstitutional and a Republican underhanded attempt to implement term limits.
Representative Webster stated â€œItâ€™s ludicrous that Beacon Hill Democrats can stand before the citizens of the Commonwealth in 2009 with a straight face and claim that filling a potential vacancy in the US Senate created by the passing of Senator Kennedy is of a paramount concern when they unanimously rejected such arguments in 2004.
Once again, their self-serving rhetoric is a further attempt to exert a super democratic majority over the citizens of Massachusetts. This is a brazen attempt to create an electoral advantage for a gubernatorial appointment during a special election. It is imperative that Massachusetts voters realize lopsided political control has repeatedly led to fiscal irresponsibility and ethical improprieties on Beacon Hill.â€ Representative Webster went on to say that â€œthis is yet another example of the disconnect between Beacon Hill Democrats and the best interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth.â€