Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo bids farewell to the State House

House Speaker Robert DeLeo bid an emotional farewell at the State House on Tuesday, leaving his fellow representatives with a piece of advice: “Listen to each other.”
“If you are invited to your colleagues’ districts, go. Go humbly, and listen. Listen to each other. You will learn more than you could imagine,” DeLeo said, thunderous applause greeting him as he walked into the chamber to address House members for the last time on Tuesday.
The Winthrop Democrat resigns effective 6 p.m. Tuesday. He is expected to take a job at Northeastern University, his alma mater.
Likening the institution of the State House of Representatives to “one of the famous ballparks I like to visit,” DeLeo said he has felt “immense gratitude” for the opportunity to lead.
“What this job is all about, very simply, is helping people,” DeLeo said, his voice growing thick with emotion. “Since the day I walked in here and now the day I’m leaving here, that’s always what I believed in.”
During his 12 years atop Beacon Hill, DeLeo presided over landmark bills including the transgender public accomodations bill, criminal justice reform — including the recent police accountability bill, gun control, domestic violence, education and wage parity.
During his tenure as speaker, Massachusetts has been led by two governors and four Senate presidents. But the die-hard baseball fan also described his reign in terms of sports championships: Massachusetts won six under his watch — three Super Bowls, two World Series, and a Stanley Cup, which he quipped, “I’ll take credit for.”
DeLeo steps down amid a turbulent year defined by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I know that Massachusetts faces its greatest challenge now with the pandemic … but I know that I have unyielding faith in this institution, its people, and all of its members and all of its leadership that this House is going to rise to the occasion,” he said during his nearly-40-minute address.
DeLeo extolled “the importance of valuing differing perspectives and learning from people.”
It’s a lesson DeLeo said he learned early on in his career on Beacon Hill. Seated next to former Amherst Rep. Ellen Story, a progressive, DeLeo — describing himself as an urban centrist — said, “we didn’t seem to have much in common.”
“But we talked and debated and, became friends; she ultimately became a member of our leadership team. While just one example, that relationship demonstrated to me the incredible value of listening, exchanging ideas and crafting workable solutions that serve the Commonwealth as a whole,” DeLeo said.
Democrats plan to hold a remote caucus on Wednesday at which Mariano is expected to be nominated to succeed Robert DeLeo as speaker of the House.

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