Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has tapped a close confidant , advisor and long time friend to be the state’s interim United States Senator. William “ Mo” Cowan will temporarily replace John Kerry until a special election is held later this year.
To temporarily fill the senate vacancy Governor Patrick turned away from high profile politicians and turned to his former chief of staff and one –time chief legal counsel. Cowan, a 43 year old African American pledged to go to Washington mindful of the needs and aspirations of Massachusetts residents.
Cowan succeeds John Kerry who was confirmed this week to be the country’s Secretary of State. He will not run for the office in the special election that will be held on June 25th.
Cowan is a native of North Carolina, who came to Massachusetts 22 years ago to attend Northeastern University Law School. After working in the Middlesex District Attorney’s office and in private practice he joined the Patrick administration in 2009 as chief legal counsel. He was chief of staff from 2010 until late last year.
Cowan said he had intended to return to private law practice before reports surfaced that Patrick was considering him for the senate appointment.
Patrick was a mentor to Cowan when he began his law career, and the senator-designate made clear Wednesday he and the governor share the same priorities when it comes to public policy.
Patrick introduced Cowan as a trusted advisor who had earned the respect of people in state government. In selecting him Patrick rejected former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, who had publicly lobbied for the senate appointment.
Patrick said he saw Cowan’s appointment as an affirmation of the American Dream
Cowan, like Patrick grew up poor. His father died when Cowan was 16 leaving his mother to raise him and two sisters. Cowan and his wife live in Stoughton. They have two sons, ages 4 and 8.
Cowan will be the first African American senator from Massachusetts since Edward Brooke, a Republican, who served two terms from 1967 to 1979.
Congressman Edward Markey is so far the only Democrat to announce his candidacy for the special election. Another Massachusetts Democratic Congressman, Stephen Lynch, is planning to make an announcement Thursday.
Former Republican Senator Scott Brown, who lost in November to Senator Elizabeth Warren, is considering running in the special election.