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Cronin confirmed as US ambassador to Ireland

Rep. Michael Day (center) at a 2018 press conference with Speaker Robert DeLeo and Rep. Claire Cronin (right). (Sam Doran/SHNS File Photo)
Rep. Michael Day (center) at a 2018 press conference with Speaker Robert DeLeo and Rep. Claire Cronin (right). (Sam Doran/SHNS File Photo)

The U.S. Senate on Saturday confirmed Rep. Claire Cronin of Easton as U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

The voice vote approval clears the way for Cronin to leave the House, where she serves as majority leader in Speaker Ron Mariano's leadership team, and for Mariano to eventually fill a major slot in the House hierarchy.

President Joe Biden, who Cronin supported in last year's presidential election, nominated Cronin over the summer.

"She's a class act. She is collaborative, she's somebody who listens to everybody, she listens to a wide range of people," said State Sen. William Brownsberger. "She has really good judgement, in the sense of being able to assemble a perspective based on talking to a lot of people."

The Senate approved Cronin's nomination on a voice vote. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the nomination in September and gave her nomination a favorable recommendation in October.

The House is likely to eventually schedule a special election to fill Cronin's seat since there's more than a year remaining on her two-year term. The 11th Plymouth District she represents also includes part of Brockton.

Cronin previously co-chaired the Legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary and played keys roles in the passage of major criminal justice, abortion access and policing accountability laws. As as a lawyer and mediator, she also worked on the landmark Catholic clergy sex abuse settlement. She was first elected to the House in 2012, and is a graduate of Stonehill College and Suffolk University Law School. Cronin is a member of the Massachusetts bar and admitted to practice in U.S. District Court and before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We'll miss her," said Brownsberger. "...I think the House has a lot of talent over there, but they're losing someone who lifts up the dialogue and the leadership conversation to a high level."

The senator worked closely with Cronin on the Criminal Justice Reform Bill and co-chaired the Legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary with her a few years ago.

"I'm sure she will be listening to people all over Ireland and representing this country extremely well," said Brownsberger

Mariano released a statement Saturday morning congratulating Cronin.

"The House of Representatives has been especially fortunate to have Claire among its ranks and as its first woman Majority Leader," he said. "She leads through example - with the goal of elevating voices, advocating for a more just society, and delivering impactful solutions through collaboration. Claire is one of those unique people who lifts you up and challenges you to be a better person and public servant."

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