Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick supports a change in state law that would allow him to appoint an interim successor to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, he told WBUR in an interview Wednesday.
“I believe that the senator’s request to permit the governor to appoint someone to serve for that five months until a special election was entirely reasonable,” Patrick told WBUR. “I think particularly now when you think about the momentous change legislation that is pending in the Congress today, Massachusetts needs two voices. ”
When the governor was pushed to say whether that meant he would urge the Legislature to pass a bill allowing him to appoint a successor, Patrick said yes, and that he would sign the bill.
Unlike most states, a successor to a vacant U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts is chosen by special election five months after the opening — not appointed by the governor.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate for 46 years, died at home in Hyannisport on Tuesday night at the age of 77.
In a recent letter to lawmakers, Kennedy asked that the law be changed to allow the governor to appoint someone to the seat during the course of the election, provided that person pledge not to run for the seat.
Click the “Listen Now” button above to hear WBUR’s full conversation with Gov. Patrick on Sen. Kennedy’s passing.