House Majority Leader Claire Cronin will be nominated by President Joe Biden to become the next ambassador to Ireland, the White House announced on Wednesday, confirming its plans to tap one of the president's leading surrogates in a state Biden won during the 2020 campaign for a plum overseas posting.
Cronin, the second-ranking Democrat in the House, has been rumored for weeks to be in line for the assignment, and sources on Beacon Hill told the News Service in late May that the Easton lawmaker was being vetted for the position.
The White House announced Biden's intent to nominate Cronin on Wednesday afternoon.
"I am deeply honored to be nominated by President Biden for ambassador to Ireland, especially given the President's and my own Irish roots. If confirmed, I look forward to serving as ambassador and working with our partners in Ireland on both the challenges and opportunities ahead of us," Cronin said in a statement.
During the 2020 campaign, Cronin was one of Biden's biggest champions in Massachusetts as many other politicians lined up behind home-state Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
The president's win in Massachusetts in March over Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders helped fuel his comeback on the primary trail, and when it came time for Massachusetts to officially cast its 11 Electoral College votes for Biden during the virtual Democratic National Convention last summer, it was Cronin who had the honor.
Cronin's nomination to become ambassador to Ireland was first reported as likely in May by the Irish politics and culture website IrishCentral.
Before becoming the majority leader this session under new Speaker Ron Mariano, Cronin chaired the powerful Judiciary Committee 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.
"Claire Cronin is one of the most thoughtful and trustworthy elected officials I have ever had the privilege of working with. Time and time again, she has demonstrated her ability to unite people and forge meaningful solutions to politically-complex issues. I wish Leader Cronin the best of luck throughout the confirmation process and I know that she will do the House, the Commonwealth and the nation proud," Mariano said in a statement.
In the House, Cronin represents the 11th Plymouth District covering parts of Brockton and Easton. She was first elected 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.
If confirmed by the Senate, Cronin's departure from the House for Dublin would open a top position in House leadership with Speaker Pro Tempore Kate Hogan and Assistant Majority Leader Michael Moran among those who will be looked to as possible replacements.
Cronin joins a list of former Massachusetts politicians to use their platform here as a springboard to diplomatic posts, following elected officials like the late Gov. Paul Cellucci, who became President George W. Bush's ambassador to Canada, former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, who served as ambassador to the Holy See, and more recently Scott Brown, who served as former President Donald Trump's ambassador to New Zealand.
Former Gov. Bill Weld resigned the governorship after being nominated by President Bill Clinton as ambassador to Mexico, though Weld was never confirmed.