Barbara Howard: State Senator Stan Rosenberg says that he will resign effective 5 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. The former Senate president was the subject of a scathing report that was released yesterday. It said that Rosenberg's inaction regarding his now estranged husband Bryon Hefner demonstrates, and I quote, “a significant failure of judgment and leadership.”
Mike Deehan, our reporter on Beacon Hill, is on the line to talk about this turn of events. Hi, Mike.

Deehan: Hi.

Howard: Well, the report was damning, now, but it did stop short of calling on Rosenberg to resign or even be expelled. So why is he going ahead and resigning?

Deehan: Well, you've got to look at what the punishment was actually going to be. The Senate Ethics Committee put forward prohibitions that would bar him from serving as a chairman or in any leadership position throughout the next legislative session. This would have stripped him of virtually all political power, and he would have been, frankly, less effective as a senator.
He would have been less effective as a new person coming in, as a freshman, to represent his district. I think that was on Rosenberg's mind. He's very mindful of how best to serve those constituents. So the combination of being stripped of all power, as well as being basically a political pariah for the next few years, made it an easy choice to say, 'Well, I won't be effective in this body, I should step down.'

Howard: Many of his fellow senators have been calling for his resignation, as well as the attorney general, Maura Healey, and Governor Charlie Baker. Was there any particular aspect, though, of that report that pushed people in that direction?

Deehan: There was a lot of different aspects, and I think every senator there is going to have a different read of that 80-page report. Most of it surrounds the promise that Rosenberg made to maintain a firewall between Hefner and Senate business. Every senator that I've talked to today said that Rosenberg did not do that. They felt betrayed by that. Some go so far as to say they think Rosenberg lied to them when he said he was going to maintain that firewall.
I think that's really where people are drawing the line. And each senator has their own definition of this, but there is a sense of betrayal, in a sense, that he did enough damage to the institution of the Senate that he cannot continue and should step down. And that's what Governor Baker said today as well.

Howard: Is there any chance that he could have survived this?

Deehan: Yes, actually. He's still very, very popular in his Amherst district. Just looking at social media and some accounts from folks out there, in his Amherst-Northampton area, they're still sticking by him. He probably would have won re-election. But again, he would have been a political pariah and just very ineffective in the Senate chamber and as a state senator. He's a pretty dedicated civil servant — I think he knew the writing was on the wall that even though he would be chosen to go back by his constituents, he would not be the best server for them.

Howard: Is there any chance he'll come out of the ashes on this?

Deehan: He could. He's 68 years old, he has some time left in there. He definitely is dedicated to the works of government. He could, you know, retrench in the Pioneer Valley and pop up somewhere else. More likely we'll see him do a quiet retirement and maybe work in the arts — it’s kind of where he started to begin with. I don't think we've heard the last of Stan Rosenberg, but probably on a statewide level it'll be a while until he's back on the scene.

Howard: Just local, you're thinking?

Deehan: Yes.

Howard: Okay, thanks Mike.

Deehan: Thank you, Barbara.