Claire Cronin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, has been tapped by President Joe Biden to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to Ireland, one of 17 nominations announced by the White House Wednesday that included major diplomatic and arts assignments.
Cronin, who represents Brockton and Easton as part of the 11th Plymouth District, is the first woman to serve as Majority Leader in the Massachusetts Legislature and had been seen as a potential successor to Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano.
Cronin was involved in Biden's presidential campaign, including fundraising for him in Massachusetts, and she also made an appearance during last summer's Democratic National Convention.
Prior to her House leadership role, Cronin chaired the judiciary committee where she was behind several significant pieces of legislation including a sweeping criminal justice reform bill.
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She was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2012. The Massachusetts native is also a lawyer and she served as a mediator in the state's landmark clergy sexual abuse cases.
The married mother of two, who earned her B.A. from Stonehill College and her J.D. degree from Suffolk University, has received multiple honors and awards, including the Emerge Massachusetts 2020 Woman of the Year.
Congressman Richard Neal, D-MA, said he is thrilled by Cronin's nomination to what he calls an important post.
“I am delighted that State Representative Claire Cronin has been nominated by President Biden to be the next United States Ambassador to Ireland. She made history by being the first woman to serve as Majority Leader in the Massachusetts Legislature, and once confirmed by the Senate, will play a significant role in helping to strengthen the bonds between the United States and Ireland," Neal said in a statement Wednesday. "This is an important posting and that is why I look forward to working closely with the Ambassador-Designate on a range of issues to reinforce and expand our unique transatlantic partnership."
For his part, Biden frequently emphasizes his Irish heritage and has stressed the U.S. support of the Good Friday Agreement, which provided for peace with Northern Ireland but has come under stress after the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union.
The Associated Press contributed to this report