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Murray Begins Last Term as Senate President with New Team

State Senate President Therese Murray assembled her leadership team for the two-year session that began earlier this month, but the lineup provided few clues as to who might eventually succeed her in the top position.

According to an Associated Press story, Murray, a Plymouth Democrat, tapped Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, as Senate majority leader. He replaces Frederick Berry, who retired.

Sen. Harriett Chandler, D-Worcester, and Sen. Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, will serve as assistant majority leaders, and Sen. Karen Spilka, of Ashland, will be the majority whip.

Murray is barred by term limits from serving as Senate President beyond March 2015.

Former Sen. Jack Hart, who served as an assistant majority leader in the last session, had been considered a likely candidate to succeed, but he resigned from the Senate last week to join a private law firm.

Last Thursday, Murray also announced key committee assignments. As expected, Sen. Stephen Brewer, D-Barre, remains in the powerful post of chair of the ways and means committee, the panel that will make key decisions about taxes and spending in next year’s state budget.

Sen. Thomas McGee, D-Lynn, will continue to chair the transportation committee as lawmakers weigh proposals to fix the state’s ailing transportation system.

One key change in the lineup has Sen. Katherine Clark, D-Melrose, becoming chair of the judiciary committee, replacing Sen. Cynthia Creem, D-Newton, who will serve as chair of the post audit & oversight committee.

The judiciary panel is expected to deal with several key issues during the session, including gun control, sentencing reform and an overhaul of the state’s wiretapping laws.

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