Senate holiday party canceled, but decorate office opens to public

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the state Senate president’s office, but there will be no holiday party this year for senators and staff.

Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler “made the determination that a holiday party would not be appropriate” this year after speaking with other members of Senate leadership, Chandler spokesman Kevin Connor told the News Service.

Chandler assumed the reins of the Senate last Monday, after Sen. Stan Rosenberg stepped aside from the presidency while the Ethics Committee investigates his conduct.

The probe was launched after the Boston Globe reported four men with Beacon Hill ties had accused Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner, of groping or forcibly kissing them. Hefner also allegedly said he had sway over Senate matters, a claim Rosenberg has denied.

Since Chandler’s Dec. 4 election as acting Senate president, her name has replaced Rosenberg’s on the door to the president’s office, and her portrait now hangs alongside Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and House Speaker Robert DeLeo in the State House entryway.

Chandler’s staff has begun moving into the president’s third-floor office suite as they take over operations. The Worcester Democrat plans to continue working out of the majority leader’s office next door, but use the president’s office for meetings, caucuses and other official business.

Despite the shakeup, a holiday tradition in the president’s office continues.

A room in the suite will be open to the public, as it usually is in December, for holiday decoration viewing. A large, lit tree, a trio of smaller ones, a menorah, evergreen boughs, twinkle lights and a pile of presents wrapped in golden paper were on display Wednesday morning.

The president’s suite will be open “intermittently throughout the next two weeks” for public viewing hours, a Chandler spokesman said, “especially over the next three days” while Chandler is in Washington, D.C. for a meeting of the Milbank Memorial Fund’s Reforming States Group steering committee.

Chandler is scheduled to be in D.C. through Friday. She and other senators have worked with the Milbank Fund in the past, including recently when the Senate developed its health care reform bill.

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