Click here for the text of the proposal that Senator Kennedy has made regarding succession to his seat, if and when he resigns from it: In essence, the people would vote within 160 days of the vacancy, but the Governor would appoint an interim Senator to serve during those 160 days, someone who would not be a candidate to fill out the Senator’s remaining term. Click here for the Globe’s editorial in support of it.
It’s the month of August, so nothing is going to happen right away on it. And I wasn’t in the legislature in 2004 when the current process was created, so it’s not an issue that I have confronted and not an issue that I have a committed position on.
I tend to think that having an interim senator appointed while an election goes on tends to make sense. The people are going to get to speak on the same schedule either way. The issue is whether we leave the seat vacant while candidates campaign. It’s possible that our choice would have important consequences for national legislation in the closely balanced Senate (closely balanced as to the filibuster termination threshold).
On the other hand, it sets a bad precedent for us to change the rules every few years whenever we want to achieve a certain electoral outcome.
I’m cognizant of the importance of the decision and will make it deliberately — probably not finalizing it until I’ve had the chance to hear some floor debate on it. I certainly welcome your input in the interim.