The state Senate passed a bill this afternoon that would allow Governor Deval Patrick to name an interim successor to Edward M. Kennedy, potentially paving the way for appointment of a new US senator later this week.Now a lot of pundits are pointing out that this will likely lead to 60 Democrats in the US Senate, but I think this should be taken with a grain of salt. I say this because while we will technically have 60 Senators who caucus with the Democrats, there are still a number of "Blue Dogs" who might not vote the right way when it comes to some of the important issues. Then there's also the fact that Sen. Robert Byrd isn't doing too well health wise. While I've been told by staffers on the Hill that he'll be able to vote, that's not a definite considering that he has been in and out of the hospital as of late.
The Senate approved the measure by a 24-to-16 vote, leaving one final procedural hurdle in both chambers before the bill heads to Patrick's desk. The House and Senate are expected to enact the bill on Wednesday, a formality unlikely to derail the effort.
So while it is good news that the people of Massachusetts will have their proper representation in the US Senate, there is still a lot of work to get done in making sure that Congress passes meaningful legislation. Furthermore, for all my readers who live in Massachussets or have friends and family there, I strongly encourage you to let the Governor know that you support an interim Senator who will honor the legacy of Ted Kennedy by passing meaningful health care reform, providing valuable educational opportunities, and standing up for workers' rights.