EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 10, 2013

New faces, roles for Merrimack Valley lawmakers

Dempsey holds onto key appointment

State Rep. Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill, has retained his post as chairman of a powerful legislative committee in charge of the state’s finances.

Dempsey was named chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee last week by House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Committee appointments were also recently assigned to nine other Merrimack Valley lawmakers -- including three new state representatives and a rookie senator.

Joining the region’s delegation on Beacon Hill are state representatives Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen; Frank Moran, D-Lawrence; Lenny Mirra, R-West Newbury; and state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport.

“I think we have a strong delegation,” Dempsey told The Eagle-Tribune on Friday. “Obviously, we have some newly-elected members but they bring a lot to the table with their interest and enthusiasm.”

Dempsey will serve as Ways and Means chairman for the 2013-2014 legislative session. The committee handles all legislation dealing with state finances, including crafting the House version of the state budget. No bills that involve spending make it to the floor of the House without the approval of the Ways and Means Committee.

DeLeo, D-Winthrop, handed out committee assignments to members of the House on Wednesday. The speaker made very few changes to his senior leadership team. Dempsey was initially named Ways and Means chairman by DeLeo in January 2011.

“It’s certainly an honor and a privilege,” said Dempsey, who has served in the House since 1991. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last two years chairing the committee. It’s a lot of work, a very busy schedule each day, but I enjoy it.”

Dempsey said Ways and Means has a “full plate” heading into 2013 with Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget proposal. With major debates looming on tax reform and transportation and education spending, he said lawmakers must take into account the weak economic recovery.

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