House Speaker DeLeo, Who Backed Haverhill’s Renaissance, to Resign Today

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Haverhill Rep. Brian S. Dempsey at a December 2016 ceremony dedicating “The Representative Brian S. Dempsey Boardwalk.” (WHAV News photograph.)

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, plans to resign from the legislature after 30 years on Beacon Hill on Tuesday.

His resignation ends a 12-year run as speaker of the House during which he oversaw the legalization of casino gambling and passage of landmark health care, gun control and criminal justice reform laws. The speaker came to Haverhill in 2016 to help dedicate The Representative Brian S. Dempsey Boardwalk. DeLeo said Dempsey spelled out his dream of a reborn Haverhill during a tour the two took years ago when the situation looked nearly hopeless.

“Well, he took me around and he took me first of all to a vacant parking lot. And he just showed me vacant buildings, dilapidated buildings and what not. I said, ‘he’s my buddy, but he has a lot of vision here if he’s going to turn this around,’” DeLeo joked.

Dempsey said at the time the speaker’s faith in him helped him deliver for Haverhill.

DeLeo, 70, announced Monday he would resign as speaker and from the House of Representatives effective Tuesday at 6 p.m. His departure allows the House to choose a new speaker before the next session begins. Majority Leader Ron Mariano, who entered the House the same year as DeLeo in 1991, appears to have the votes locked up to become the next speaker.

DeLeo’s letter of resignation was read on the House floor not long after the House voted narrowly Monday to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of an expansion of abortion access in Massachusetts. “This House has consistently led the way and provided solutions to some of the most complex and challenging public policy problems of our time. It is a comfort for me to know that, through our joint efforts, when I leave I do so with the knowledge that the House is well positioned for continued success,” DeLeo wrote.

DeLeo previously said before Christmas he had entered into negotiations with Northeastern University for future employment, though his letter did not specify whether he had agreed to take a job as his alma mater in Boston. DeLeo plans to give a farewell address to the House on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., and a Democratic caucus to elect a new speaker has been scheduled for Wednesday at noon.

Comments are closed.