Hedlund wields gavel in his final Senate session

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2015/12/31/hedlund-wields-gavel-in-his-final-senate-session/

In the final session of his two-decade career in the Senate, Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund assumed a post rarely held by Republicans in Massachusetts: on the rostrum and wielding the gavel.

Hedlund, who plans to resign his Senate seat on Jan. 4 to become the next mayor of Weymouth, presided over an informal session Wednesday and signed a bill authorizing the town Raynham to grant an additional liquor license (S 2075).

In what he described as a “non-traditional farewell speech” during a short recess in the session, Hedlund said it was honor to take the gavel and called it a “rare occurrence” for a member of the minority party to do so.

The last Republican to preside over a Senate session was then-Minority Leader Brian Lees shortly before his 2006 departure to become Hampden County clerk of courts, Hedlund said.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, who attended a portion of Wednesday’s session, commended Hedlund for “an excellent job” presiding.

“You look like you belong there, and I’m wondering why after all these years it just took this day and this change in your life to allow you to actually stand there,” Rosenberg told Hedlund.

Hedlund first joined the Senate in 1991, but then lost his re-election bid. He took back the South Shore seat in 1995 and has held it since.

Several of Hedlund’s current and former staff members attended the session. Some, he said, would be joining him in Weymouth Town Hall in the new year.

— Written by Katie Lannan

Copyright State House News Service