Meehan Set to Leave Congress

Posted March 13, 2007 at 1:34pm

Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) will leave Congress to assume the chancellorship of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, if, as expected, the school’s board of trustees Wednesday approves university President Jack Wilson’s recommendation to hire him.

“If my nomination is approved by the trustees, I plan to accept the position and to leave Congress in July,” Meehan said in a statement this afternoon. “I’m grateful for the trust and confidence placed in me by the members of the search committee.”

The decision to leave the House has been the most difficult professional decision of my life,” Meehan continued. “Being a member of Congress has been the best job I have ever had.

“But after serious personal reflection and many discussions with my wife Ellen and my close friends, the opportunity to serve as chancellor of my alma mater is the right path for me.”

Meehan, a Lowell native and graduate of the university, was just elected for an eighth term to his 5th district seat in November.

Meehan’s departure would shake things up in the seasoned, all-Democratic, all-male, all-white Massachusetts delegation.

In 2004, many of the state’s 10 House Members, including Meehan, began bolstering their war chests and raising their profiles in the hopes that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) would become president — or leave his seat to run in 2008.

A special election will be called within 160 days of Meehan’s resignation from Congress.

The person who wins that race then would have to stand for re-election in the regular 2008 election.

Democrats began lining up to replace Meehan since speculation that he was being sought for private-sector positions began early this year.

— Nicole Duran