NOMINATING REMARKS OF SENATOR JOAN B. LOVELY FOR SENATOR KAREN SPILKA FOR SENATE PRESIDENT FOR THE 192ND GENERAL COURT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
Thank you Mr. President, and through you to the members. I am truly honored to nominate our dear colleague and friend, Senator Karen Spilka, for President of the Massachusetts State Senate for the 192nd General Court of our Commonwealth.
During her first full term as President, President Spilka led our body through a public-health crisis, the likes of which have not been seen in more than a century. Confronted with incredible challenges, President Spilka has been a consistent, steady, strong, compassionate leader through all that has come our way.
While I have known President Spilka since I first came to the Senate, I got to know her well when I had the opportunity to serve as her Vice Chair of Ways and Means. During the many long hours we spent together, I came to know the many sides of Chair Spilka. She impressed me deeply by how well she knew every account in the senate budget, how well she worked with her staff, and how diligently she worked to support every member of the Senate. Yet even while undertaking that grueling and daunting work, the hours passed with productive discussions, a little laughter, and always a food offering at her table. I would soon come to realize that President Spilka cultivates this kind of community in her office, with her leadership team, and with all members of the Senate.
In President Spilka’s Senate, people’s opinions are heard and valued, colleagues and staff support one another, and the hardest of work is done with determination and zeal. Whether hearing about her dog, Lincoln, or her husband and sons, or discussing the many deserving budget priorities, I came to know the President as someone unwaveringly concerned with helping our most vulnerable citizens, someone who thinks critically about the actions of government, and someone who believes that we, here on Beacon Hill, have a great responsibility to act boldly and prudently to improve the lives of all residents.
These beliefs have made President Spilka, an excellent lawmaker and leader.
As I sit here today in my State House office, speaking to all of you through my computer screen, I reflect on Opening Day just 2 years ago. We all stood in our newly renovated chamber, the words of Frederick Douglass above us, our sights set on all we wished to accomplish in the coming session. We did not know, and could not know then, that the 191st would be a session unlike any other.
In March of 2020, this body, this Commonwealth, and the world, had to pivot quickly to address the global public health emergency and the resulting fiscal crisis that continues today. We have changed our lives dramatically to combat the spread of COVID-19. People continue to lose their jobs, businesses are struggling, and sadly, sick patients overwhelm our world-class public health system.
Under President Spilka’s leadership, this Senate has responded with agility, creativity, and grit, three qualities that President Spilka embodies. The Senate has taken many meaningful steps to alleviate the difficulties and suffering of so many.
And while the distance could have isolated us as a Senate, today, I feel closer to my colleagues than ever before. That closeness stems from the tireless work of President Spilka to keep the Senate together, working collaboratively throughout a year that could have proven polarizing, but instead has united this body.
As President Harry Truman once said: “Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders, seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
I am incredibly grateful for President Spilka’s leadership and guidance every day that helps us “seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
The track record of President Spilka proves that women make history, too. One hundred years ago, women gained the right to vote through determination and grit. One hundred years later, a woman leads the Massachusetts State Senate with the same determination and grit as our foremothers.
Madam President, I know I can speak for all of us and say, we look forward to a very productive session under your continued leadership.
And for these reasons, I am humbled, privileged, and honored to nominate you as our Senate President for the 192nd General Court. Thank you.