After a 16 year career in the Massachusetts Legislature, State Senator Anthony Petruccelli announced on Friday that he will be resigning his Senate seat in January 2016. The Senator will be assuming a role with Kearney, Donovan & McGee, P.C., a government relations and lobbying firm located on Court Street in downtown Boston.
“I love my job as a state senator. However, after almost 17 years in the legislature and over 20 years in public service, my family and I felt like it was the right time to move in a different direction for me professionally and for our lives as a family,” Petruccelli said on Friday. It is “sad to give up something I love” but “exciting to move into the private sector.”
The First Suffolk and Middlesex district includes Boston’s North End, Beacon Hill, East Boston as well as Revere, Winthrop and parts of Cambridge.
Petruccelli, 43, has served in the Senate since 2007 where he won a special election to replace the seat previously held by Senate President Robert Travaglini. Previous to serving in the Senate, Petruccelli was State Representative of the 1st Suffolk District from 1999 to 2007. He is an East Boston resident with his wife, Alessandra, and their two children.
This past January, Senator Petruccelli was promoted to Majority Whip by new Senate President Stanley Rosenberg. Petruccelli supported Rosenberg for President, raising some prospects for an even greater role for the East Boston Democrat. However, Rosenberg later gave the important post of budget chief to Senator Karen Spilka.
A Special Election could bring out candidates from all sides of town, including an early favorite in North End’s own State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of Financial Services in the House. Michlewitz said he is “sad to see Petruccelli leave and proud of their successful work together” in the State House. Both have championed local issues such as the green ticket bill, bilingual ballots and the domestic worker bill of rights, among others. In the North End, Petruccelli recently joined Michlewitz in opposing the proposed Lewis Wharf development project.
Regarding the open Senate seat, Michlewitz said, “I love representing my neighborhoods in the House, but I am looking at it and will make a decision shortly.” In addition to his close working relationship with Petruccelli, Michlewitz already has a significant war chest (publicly reported at $177,000 as of June 2015) that would give him an edge run a competitive campaign.
Outside Boston, former Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo is a likely candidate. He previously ran against Petruccelli in 2007 and could run again after recently losing his mayoral seat.
From Winthrop, attorney Joseph Boncore has said he is looking at mounting a campaign. Former East Boston Carlo Basile has said he will not seek the vacant Senate seat now that he is Chief Secretary in the Baker administration.
Other potential candidates with positions in the district include Beacon Hill’s Rep. Jay Livingstone, Rep. RoseLee Vincent of Revere and Rep. Adrian Madaro of East Boston. City Councilor Sal LaMattina from East Boston could throw his hat into the ring as well as the North End’s Stephen Passacantilli, aide to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and formerly LaMattina. Also from the North End, former City Councilor At-Large candidate and President of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council, Philip Frattaroli is considering a run. Frattaroli is a small business owner with his Ducali Pizzeria and plans to open Cunard Tavern next year in East Boston. The North End candidates may also be thinking ahead to a second Special Election for State Representative seat, should Aaron Michlewitz run for the Senate. The Third Suffolk District also includes the South End, Chinatown and parts of downtown Boston.
A State Senate special election is likely be scheduled for Spring 2016.