Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced Wednesday morning that a Stoughton resident is headed to the Nation's Capital to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.
With Tuesday's official nomination of U.S. Senator John Kerry to the post of Secretary of State, the field is opening up with folks vying for Kerry's seat in his unexpired term in the U.S. Senate. But before that even happens an interim senator had to be named.
On Wednesday, Governor Patrick announced that his former chief of staff William “Mo” Cowan, 43, of Stoughton, will be the interim senator and will serve until a new senator is elected in the June 25 special election ( click here to view the press conference via 7News).
Cowan recently announced he would be stepping down from that post this month and returning to the private sector. Instead, he will be heading to Washington, D.C.
In addition to serving as Patrick’s former chief of staff, Cowan also served as chief legal counsel to Governor Patrick, having served in the Patrick-Murray Administration since 2009.
"I am proud and delighted to appoint Mo Cowan as interim U.S. Senator from Massachusetts," said Governor Patrick in a statement Wednesday.
“Mo's service on the front lines in our efforts to manage through the worst economy in 80 years and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for the next generation has earned him the respect and admiration of people throughout government," the Governor continued. "The people of the Commonwealth have benefited from his wisdom and good judgment during his time in our office, and will again in the Senate."
Cowan said he’s honored and humbled by the appointment.
“I pledge to you and the people of Massachusetts that during this interim period I will work as hard as humanly possible to perform my duties with the needs and aspirations of our state's citizens foremost in mind,” Cowan said.
Two prominent Stoughton residents were encouraged by the Governor's selection for interim Senator.
“Mo Cowan is someone who is one of the most brilliant and intelligent individuals in his field,” University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, also a Stoughton resident, said in a statement.
“He is capable and uniquely positioned to serve the Governor and the people of the Commonwealth. We all know that we can move forward in positive way, and trust that he knows how to do the job,” Motley continued.
Former interim Stoughton Town manager and Boston attorney Joseph D. Feaster, Jr., in a phone call from Washington D.C., told About Town Columnist Mark Snyder, "He was my 'mentee' who didn't need a mentor at Northeastern Law School. He has done exceedingly well. The Governor has made a wise selection. He'll acquit himself well in this position. It's good for Stoughton, too."
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, now this state's Senior Senator, despite just being sworn in Jan. 3, said in a statement, “I am very pleased to welcome Mo Cowan to the Senate. As former chief of staff to Governor Patrick, Mo brings a deep knowledge of the issues facing the people of our Commonwealth to the Senate. He will be a committed, hardworking interim Senator, and I look forward to working closely with him to protect the interests of Massachusetts families.”
Cowan, a graduate of Duke University and Northeastern University School of Law, was a partner at Mintz Levin in Boston before joining the Patrick administration. He lives in Stoughton on Connie Lane with his wife, Stacy, and their two young sons, 8-year-old Miles and 4-year-old Grant. His wife and two sons were at Wednesday's press conference.
Cowan's stay in Washington will be a brief one, this country's newest Senator said at Wednesday's press conference. During a question and answer period, he ruled out running for public office at anytime in the future.
The primary election to fill Kerry's seat is set for April 30 and the special election is June 25. Nomination papers will be made available through Secretary of State William Galvin’s office, giving candidates four weeks to collect the 10,000 signatures required to get on the April 30 primary ballot.
Kerry held the seat for 28 years. Now Cowan will hold it on an interim basis.
He is just the second black senator from Massachusetts, with Republican Edward Brooke having served from 1967-1979.
Cowan joins Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, as the only black senators currently in the U.S. Senate. Both were appointed by their state's respective governors. This is the first time two black senators will have served at the same time in the U.S. Senate, according to NBC news.
About Town columnist Mark Snyder contributed reporting. Information from a press release from the Office of Governor Patrick was also used in this report.