Rosenberg’s constituents remain supportive

  • Then-Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, is interviewed at the Daily Hampshire Gazette in August 2016.

Staff Writer
Published: 5/2/2018 11:28:12 PM

AMHERST — At Amherst Town Meeting Wednesday, some of Sen. Stanley Rosenberg’s hometown constituents said the ethics report concluding that he failed to protect the Senate from the actions of his husband doesn’t change their views of the longtime legislator.

“The investigation didn’t show he’d done anything ethically wrong in his conduct as a senator,” said Alan Root of Ann Whalen Apartments. “He’s done such a good job, and I’ll be happy to support him in his re-election.”

“We need him,” said Hilda Greenbaum of Montague Road.

Rosenberg, who stepped down as Senate president late last year, failed to protect the Senate from his husband, Bryon Hefner, who he knew was “disruptive, volatile and abusive,” according to law firm Hogan Lovells’ report, but didn’t violate any Senate rules.

Still, Dorothy Fradera, reached by phone at her Hadley home, said if the firewall Rosenberg pledged to put between his professional life and personal life eroded, that is problematic.

“I find that very disappointing,” Fradera said. “For this town and for this area, I think he’s been a good public servant.”

“It’s a sad situation all around. Clearly, the firewall he talked about failed,” said Matt Barron, a Williamsburg political consultant.

Barron said he is not surprised that Rosenberg would continue to be held in high esteem, noting that more than 30 years of constituent services builds up a lot of goodwill with voters.

Barron, though, said it is the loss of trust with his colleagues that will make it difficult for Rosenberg to get back to any leadership in the Senate.

“There’s a trust issue with other members of the Democratic caucus that will be harder to repair,” Barron said.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has called on Rosenberg to resign, as has Attorney General Maura Healey, which may carry more weight, Barron said.

“It’s not a good thing when one of the leaders of the Democratic Party is calling on you to resign,” Barron said.

Retired Amherst state Rep. Ellen Story, who served in the House for 24 years, said it is good for Rosenberg that the ethics investigation is complete.

“I’m so glad that the result of this inquiry is in,” Story said. “It is a relief to have it over.”

Story said the conclusion she sees is that Rosenberg is being criticized for bad judgment, but no violations of Senate rules.

“Now we can move on to the business of the commonwealth,” Story said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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