New reps — all Dems — sworn in by Lt. Gov. Polito

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STATE HOUSE — Three newly-minted state representatives, the winners of last Tuesday’s special elections, were sworn in and took their seats Wednesday afternoon prior to a House session where a bill to address the opioid crisis was adopted.

With Gov. Charlie Baker on vacation in Utah, Reps. Gerard Cassidy of Brockton, Stephan Hay of Fitchburg, and Thomas Walsh of Peabody were sworn in by Acting Gov. Karyn Polito, who said that it will be “a day you always treasure.”

With the new members, the House now features 125 Democrats and 34 Republicans. There is one vacant seat, which will be filled May 10 when Lynn voters elect a successor to Robert Fennell, a Democrat.

After the ceremony, Cassidy grew emotional as he spoke of the late Sen. Thomas Kennedy, also of Brockton, who died last summer.

“I had the honor and privilege of working with the great senator Tom Kennedy,” Cassidy said, his voice faltering. “I learned from the best. My promise to the district is that I will honor him and continue his great work.”

There were “a few more people” present in the chamber than at Fitchburg City Council, noted Hay, who just wrapped up an 18-year run on the council. “I look forward to working with each of you,” Hay said, “as I try to practice what I call the Three C’s of Government — communication, cooperation, and compromise.”

Rep. Walsh, who previously represented the 12th Essex from 1987 to 1995, said that as a former member of the House he recognized the importance of Wednesday’s calendar. He thanked his new colleagues for their work on the opioid bill and ride-for-hire legislation. Walsh also thanked former Rep. Sally Kerans, who was present in the chamber, saying she “was instrumental in my being here today.”

“I will leave you with this,” Walsh said as he concluded his remarks. “Who says you can never go home again? And here we are.”

Prior to the swearing-in, the House placed on file the returns of the special elections. Official vote totals show that Rep. Walsh beat Republican Stephanie Peach of Peabody by nearly 2,500 votes — 7,138 to 4,644. Rep. Hay topped Republican Dean Tran of Fitchburg by just 125 votes, 4,613 to 4,488, while Tran won the district’s one Lunenburg precinct, 440 to 399. Rep. Cassidy was uncontested and swept Brockton with 4,536 votes out of 4,972 ballots cast.

— Written by Sam Doran

Copyright State House News Service