Speaker Robert DeLeo is busy this week considering whom to appoint as the leaders of the committees in the House of Represenstatives for the new year.
“It’s very important to get the right people in to the right posts, anywhere from the chairs to the members of the particular committees” said DeLeo. “Many of the reps have stated to me their case for a particular committee. And I will meet with anyone who wants to see me.”
DeLeo was re-elected Speaker of the House in the 160-member body last week. The popular DeLeo, who has represented Revere and Winthrop in the House since 1991, was seen sitting in his customary chair as Governor Charle Baker delivered his speech at the inauguration ceremonies at the Statehouse.
“I’m very pleased with the overwhelming support that I received for Speaker,” said DeLeo.
DeLoe has enjoyed his reign as speaker, a prestigious post emblematic of being the powerful Democratic leader in Massachusetts. DeLeo travels the state for numerous speaking engagements and award acceptance ceremonies, and his appearances on the Channel 5 Sunday morning show, “On The Record” are legendary, notably for his traditional acing of Ed Harding’s pop quiz on topics from politics to sports to the state’s history. The show’s ratings are the highest when DeLeo is “on the record.”
In other words, he is in demand everywhere, but the Speaker remains focused on his work representing the people of Revere [State Rep. RoseLee Vincent also represents the city in the House] and Winthrop. In fact, Deleo is leading the effort “to support the resilience of the infrastructure of our coastal communities, which is something we did address in the past year’s budget.”
DeLeo said one of the major issues that he will be continuing to work on in the coming year is the opioid crisis in Massachusetts. “Originally I said it was a long-term fight that we would have and we will continue our focus on substance abuse,” said DeLeo.
Education funding is “a major item” on DeLeo’s list of priorities for 2019. “We came close to getting over the goal line last year, so I think we’re in a better position this time to talk about the foundation, the budget, and education funding as a whole.”
Transportation and healthcare for older adults will also be major items for discussion in the House of Representatives.
DeLeo was asked about legalized sports betting, which is now available at two casinos in Rhode Island.
“I think that [sports betting] is going to be an important topic that we will be studying and discussing in the House,” said DeLeo. “It’s going to require some real discussion. People are going to have various opinions as to how it should be done. There have been many ideas about whom should do it and whom should control it. I think it’s going to require input from an awful lot of people.”
Revere Council President Arthur Guinasso was among the many local officials congratulating DeLeo on his re-election as Speaker and thanking him and State Rep. RoseLee Vincent for the numerous accomplishments that they have made to help make Revere a better city. He said he goes back a long way with DeLeo.
“I was one of his supporters when he ran for state rep,” recalled Guinasso. “We all sat in an office, he said, ‘guess what I’m going to do – he was a Winthrop selectman at the time and he said, ‘I’m going to run for rep. I said, ‘Bobby, count me in.’”
“I’ve always admired how he conducted himself from the small office he had in the State House when he started to the very top, where he is now, and he never changed,” said Guinasso. “He’s always Bob DeLeo, and for that, all his constituents owe him a debt of gratitude for the type of person he is, and the way he conducts himself. He’s ambitious and wants to see progression in our state, but he never forgets that he represents Revere and Winthrop. He’s a great guy and I look forward to a year of good, hard work with him.”