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January 31, 2013

For Cowan, post a move into spotlight

BOSTON (AP) — On Beacon Hill, William Maurice “Mo” Cowan has been best known as the affable, bowtie-wearing private face of Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, doling out legal advice as chief legal counsel and policy advice as chief of staff.

Now the North Carolina native is making the jump into the political spotlight.

On Wednesday, Patrick appointed Cowan, 43, to serve as interim senator to fill the seat being vacated by Democratic U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who is leaving to become the nation’s next secretary of state. Cowan will serve until a special election is held on June 25.

For Cowan, who will become the state’s second black U.S. Senator, the brief stint in the Capitol will mark the pinnacle of a rise through the state’s legal and political landscape, though he said it will not be a prelude to any kind of run for public office.

After graduating from Duke University and Northeastern University School of Law, Cowan launched a career as a lawyer.

From 1997 to 2009, Cowan practiced civil litigation at the Boston office of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, eventually becoming partner. He also worked as a special assistant district attorney in Middlesex County.

Since 2009, Cowan has been an integral member of the Patrick administration.

“Mo is a highly respected public citizen,” Patrick said as he introduced Cowan at a press conference Wednesday. “He has been a valued ally to me and to our work.”

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray said Cowan’s personal style also brought a touch of hipness to a building not known for its trendsetting ways.

“He’s cool,” Murray said. “Tom Brady, George Clooney, James Bond, the president have nothing on Mo.”

Cowan said his greatest inspiration was his mother, who was in North Carolina recovering from knee surgery Wednesday.

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