Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Senator Karen Spilka '75 says she now has the votes to become president of the Massachusetts State Senate.

March 28, 2018

Cornell Alumna Karen Spilka Could Be Third Female President of Massachusetts Senate

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Massachusetts State Senator Karen Spilka ’75 (D-Mass.) announced last Wednesday that she has secured enough votes to be the next president of the Massachusetts Senate, according to The Boston Globe.

If elected, Spilka would be the third female president of the Massachusetts Senate in history. The first female president was Terry Murray (D-Mass.), who gained the position in 2007, followed by the current president Harriette L. Chandler (D-Mass.), according to The Boston Globe.

After completing her undergraduate degree at Cornell, Spilka went on to be a school social worker in Boston for two years and attended Northeastern University Law School to study labor law, according to an article in The Boston Globe.

The Cornell Alumni Association congratulated Spilka for her success in a Facebook post on March 22.

“Wow, what an accomplishment! Congrats to Karen Spilka ’75 on securing the votes to become Massachusetts Senate’s newest president,” the association wrote in the post.

Spilka, a native of Yonkers, New York, grew up in a “unpredictable and scary” house where her father suffered from mental illness. The struggles in her upbringing inspired her past and current political career, she told The Boston Globe.

According to a press interview video by MassLive, Senator Spilka said that she will ensure a “smooth and respectful transition as the years go on.” But The Boston Globe reported that Spilka “might take the gavel sooner.”

In December, The Associated Press reported that Stanley Rosenberg (D-Mass.), ex-president of the Senate, “agreed to relinquish his responsibilities as Senate leader during an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations involving his husband.”

Senator Spilka’s office did not respond to an email request for comment.