Amid new allegations about the husband of former Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Harriette Chandler has been described by her colleagues as the right person at the right time to lead the Senate. Her colleagues have decided to make her Presidency secure until January, voting Thursday to remove the word “acting” from her title.
Chandler says nothing has changed except a renewed sense of stability in the Chamber. It is a crowning achievement for this 80-year-old grandmother who has always been a step ahead of her time.
“I still came from the generation where women were either secretaries or they were nurses.”
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Chandler, an only child, left her Baltimore, Maryland home at age 17 to attend Wellesley College where her classmates included the likes of former Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
After college, she took a job teaching high school which in Worcester, required a masters... It would be the first of three postgraduate degrees.
"I think I was the first person that ever went part time to get a doctorate because by then I had three little children,." Chandler says.
Chandler got an MBA at Simmons and had another career in the high tech world. She scaled back to take care of her sick mother, then ran for School committee and in 1995 was elected state representative. The state senate followed in 2001.
“This is the capstone," Chandler says, "but you know it’s a bittersweet time.”
Bittersweet because former Senate President Stan Rosenberg has been a close friend.
Rosenberg was in the chamber for the vote.
“I’m here to vote for Senator Chandler," he said. "I like Bruce Tarr a lot but I want a Democratic leader for the body so I felt I had to be here to make sure she would win.”
That was all Senator Rosenberg would say. There was no response when we asked if he might consider running for Senate president again in January.
An independent probe is continuing into whether Rosenberg violated any Senate rules in connection with accusations that his estranged husband, Bryon Hefner, sexually abused several other men.