In The People's Blog

I offered the following remarks on Jan. 4, 2023 to second the nomination of Senator Karen Spilka for another term as Senate President for the 193rd Legislative session.

Thank you Mr. President and through you to our colleagues. 

I rise this morning for our shared future. For work that can’t wait.

I rise for compassionate leadership.

For bold vision and steady direction. For courage and determination in the face of a global pandemic. For an unshakeable commitment to lasting racial, economic, and social justice.

For a woman – a trail blazer –  who leads with her mind and her heart. For courage. Tenacity. And a lifetime of public service. 

I rise to second the nomination of Karen E. Spilka for President of the Massachusetts Senate.


Extraordinary times demand extraordinary leaders.

Our Senate, under the leadership of Senate President Karen Spilka, has risen to meet these extraordinary – often daunting, often perilous – times, again and again.


As COVID continued to ravage the Commonwealth – amid unending complexity and strife – Senate President Spilka led the Senate to quickly enact policies which prioritized the wellbeing of frontline workers, small employers, and those disproportionately hit by the virus – with record support for rental assistance, food security, sick leave, and unemployment insurance. Senate President Spilka listened to outcries from hospitals, community health centers, and public health officials to prioritize spending and policies to help them reach, vaccinate, test, and provide equitable care for our people.

As Senate Chair of both the Public Health and COVID Committees, I witnessed the lady from Ashland’s profound resolve up close. Hers was often the first text or call of the day and the last as she pushed herself – and the Senate – to do better. To rise to the immense challenges in front of us.


Further into the session, Senate President Spilka led historic work on mental health, drawing on her personal experience for the fortitude to lead this critical work in addition to COVID-related efforts, on top of an already daunting agenda.

An agenda focused on advancing care for veterans, voting rights expansion, economic recovery and growth, public transportation, affordable housing, the existential climate crisis, protecting reproductive and gender-affirming health care, ensuring that all immigrants have access to drivers licenses, support for early education and care, access to universal school meals, common sense gun safety, prescription drug price control. And so much more.

This broad, difficult, and necessary work was led by our Senate President and forged and honed by members of this Chamber, because Karen Spilka believes this Senate is stronger when its members’ priorities and abilities are at the center of policy creation.

Senator Spilka’s faith and trust in us is yet another cornerstone of her presidency.


Author, activist, abolitionist Julia Ward Howe wrote in 1874, when contemplating the difference between ambition and mutual advancement, that “faithful people build.” They don’t climb alone. They build together.

To me, building together looks like the day when the Senate President put on big boots and spent hours in farm fields and cow barns listening to western Mass farmers talk about everything from how they’re sequestering carbon in the soil to how best to get their produce and milk into our schools to feed our children.

Building together. Risking. Listening. Compromising when necessary to achieve results. Holding firm when core principles are at stake. Advancing a common agenda that meets the needs, hopes, and dreams of our constituents. Seizing opportunity. Easing hardship. That is the work of our Senate with Senator Spilka in the lead.


This is the beginning of a new day in our Senate and in our State House.

A new day of possibility – for everyone in our state. Everyone.  

Dr. Christina Royal, President of Holyoke Community College, said it best when she spoke to an early initiative of President Spilka’s to tell the truth about the profound contributions of women of color to the Commonwealth. She said “[It is] time for us to recognize that the lived experiences of women in the Commonwealth matter, and that we are a diverse group of women of different races, ethnicities, social classes, abilities, educational levels, gender expressions, and sexual orientations. I am proud to share my story as a multiracial, queer woman so that girls and young women can see representation of themselves in society, and grow up believing in their limitless potential.”

Possibility. Limitless potential. Combined with Senator Spilka’s commitment to opening doors – today and for future generations to come.

Mr. President, I ask my esteemed colleagues to join me in electing Senator Karen E. Spilka to the leadership of our Chamber, for a third term as our Senate President.

Thank you.

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