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5 things to know about the new Mass. senator

It's official. John Kerry, BC Law '76, will be leaving his position as Massachusetts Senator for his next role: taking on multiple world crises as Secretary of State. He was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday, and will replace Hillary Clinton as America's chief diplomat.

Kerry will give up his Senate seat this week, so in the meantime, Governor Deval Patrick was given the task of appointing someone to fill the seat temporarily.

Massachusetts, meet William "Mo" Cowan.

Photo courtesy of Office of Governor Patrick/Flickr

Photo courtesy of Office of Governor Patrick/Flickr


Here are 5 things to know about the newest member of the US Senate:

1. He's "cool."

Gov. Patrick described Cowan, his former chief of staff, as "cool." Cowan and Patrick  developed a close relationship over the years, and Patrick was a mentor for Cowan while they were both practicing lawyers. Even Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray agreed, saying "Tom Brady, George Clooney, James Bond, the president have nothing on Mo."

2. He's an interim Senator.

Cowan will serve until the special senate election on June 25th, when a permanent Senator will be elected by the voters. And he has no intention of making a political career out of his stint in the US Senate: "This will be a very short political career," he said at the conference. "I am not running for office. I am not a candidate for public service at anytime today or in the future."

3. He's kind of making history.

Cowan will become only the second African-American currently serving in the Senate, along with Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina. He also becomes the first African-American to represent Massachusetts in the Senate since Republican Edward Brooke served from 1966 to 1978.

4. He has humble roots.

Patrick described Cowan and his background as “the affirmation of the American dream.” He grew up in a poor household in North Carolina, attended Duke, and came to Boston to attend Northeastern Law School. Part of the reason Patrick and Cowan are so close is because they both came from difficult childhoods and have been successful in the state of Massachusetts.

 5. He got the job over Barney Frank.

Ever since speculation was confirmed that Kerry would be vacating his Senate seat, talk turned to who would be the interim Senator. Former Rep. Barney Frank (who is known to speak his mind) made a very public effort to be given the seat after retiring last year. Patrick apparently rejected that offer, instead choosing Cowan.

But don't worry, Boston College is well represented in the upcoming special election.


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Meghan is a member of the class of 2013 from Cape Elizabeth, Maine. She is a Political Science major and Faith Peace and Justice minor. She joined the Gavel her sophomore year and has been an editorial assistant, News Editor, and Managing Editor. She spent her junior spring semester studying abroad in Granada, Spain. She enjoys writing political stories and covering campus events for the Gavel.