Petrucelli set to resign East Boston Senate seat

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BOSTON – Senator Anthony Petruccelli, an East Boston Democrat and a key member of Senate leadership, plans to resign his seat to join a Beacon Hill lobbying outfit.

“After almost 17 years in the Legislature and over 20 years in public service, my family and I felt like it was the right time to move in a different direction for me professionally and for our lives as a family,” Petruccelli told the News Service on Friday. He said it is “sad to give up something I love” but “exciting to move into the private sector.”

While there is a one-year cooling off period before he can lobby the Legislature, Petruccelli will be free to inform and try to persuade members of the executive branch and municipal government on any issue he chooses. Many of his predecessors in the House and Senate have traded their elected jobs for private-sector posts lobbying government officials, including their former colleagues.

Petruccelli, 43, has spent over eight years in the Senate.

Though he is still working out the timing of his departure, he plans to join Kearney, Donovan and McGee, a government relations and lobbying firm whose clients have business with federal, state and local agencies. It is led by former Suffolk County Sheriff Dennis Kearney.

One source told the News Service Petruccelli plans to resign from the Senate in January. The Legislature is on a seven-week winter break, and will resume the current session in January.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, and Amherst Democrat who was to leave on a trade trip to Israel Thursday, could not be reached for comment. He named Petrucelli majority whip after the East Boston Democrat helped him secure the chamber’s top job.

Another member of Rosenberg’s leadership team, Sen. Dan Wolf, a Harwich Democrat, recently announced that he too will leave the Senate, but plans to serve the remainder of his two-year term.

Married with two children, Petruccelli joined the Senate from the House when he won a special election in 2007 to replace Senate President Robert Travaglini, who stepped down. The Democrat first came to the Legislature in 1999.

Some tied to East Boston political circles were already starting to speculate on Thursday evening that Carlo Basile, the former East Boston state representative who left the Legislature to join the Baker administration as chief secretary, could run for the seat. A Baker spokeswoman moved quickly to stamp out that speculation.

“Secretary Basile is honored to work in the Baker Administration and has no plans to run for the senate,” press secretary Lizzy Guyton said.

The district is also home to Reps. Aaron Michlewitz of the North End, Jay Livingstone of Beacon Hill, RoseLee Vincent of Revere, Adrian Madaro of East Boston, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, of Winthrop. Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo is in the district and recently lost his bid for re-election.

Others close to Petruccelli, who said they speak with him frequently, were surprised by the news.

“Personally I’m sad that he’s leaving the Senate,” said Sen. Sal DiDomenico, an Everett Democrat who said Petruccelli is a “good friend.” He said, “I wish him well.”

Petruccelli’s First Suffolk and Middlesex District includes parts of Boston and Cambridge as well as the city of Revere and town of Winthrop.

Written by Matt Murphy and Andy Metzger