When we first heard the news that House Speaker Bob DeLeo had eclipsed the previous record for the longest-serving tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives in Massachusetts history (which had stood since the early 19th century), our immediate reaction was, “Where did the time go?”
It’s hard to believe that Bob ascended to the speakership more than a decade ago amidst political turmoil at the state level and economic chaos across the nation.
However, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, during the course of these past 11 years Massachusetts universally has been recognized as a leader among the 50 states by almost every statistical measure. In addition, our state’s fiscal balance sheet is stronger than it ever has been.
Governors have come and gone, as have Senate Presidents, but the one constant at the State House for more than a decade has been House Speaker Bob DeLeo, whose steady hand at the tiller of the ship of state has been responsible, more than any other individual in state government, for guiding Massachusetts through stormy weather to the smooth sailing amidst calm seas that we enjoy today.
During Bob DeLeo’s tenure as House Speaker, Massachusetts has been a national leader on countless issues, including the environment, public education, common-sense gun laws, public health, and criminal justice reform.
For those of us who have known Bob DeLeo from the time that he first entered public office at the local level more than 40 years ago, it is not surprising that he universally has been recognized as the guiding force behind Massachusetts’ ascension to the top tier of states that has set the standard not only for our own country, but globally as well.
Bob DeLeo has brought to state government the core values of honesty, decency, and respect for others — character traits that have been evident to all of us who have known him since his youth — that have transcended our politics as usual. More than any individual in state government in this decade, Bob has been a unifying force in bringing together disparate groups to achieve common goals.
Yet despite his national profile and the demands of his office, Bob DeLeo always has maintained his dedication to the communities he serves. He has been a fixture over the years at local high school sporting events and has used his experience as a former selectman in his hometown of Winthrop to ensure that his constituency of Winthrop and Revere has been well-served.
We know we join with all of our fellow residents in Winthrop and Revere in congratulating Bob DeLeo upon achieving this milestone and trust that he will continue to extend even further his tenure as our Speaker of the House.