Curtailed Murphy leaving House

Democrat had lost power struggle

Rep. Charles Murphy spoke to the media in this 2011 file photo.
David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File
Rep. Charles Murphy spoke to the media in this 2011 file photo.

Representative Charles A. ­Murphy, one of Beacon Hill’s most powerful figures before he was ousted by the Democratic leadership in a power struggle, said Friday that he will resign from the House effective at the end of July.

Murphy, a 46-year-old former Marine from Burlington, has served in the House since 1997. His departure follows that of James E. Vallee, who left the House this month, having also served in a leadership role.

Murphy said he is taking a job in government and public affairs with Arcadia Solutions, a health care consulting company based in Burlington.


“I’m thrilled; this is a positive move for me,” Murphy said by phone from Denver, where he was campaigning with fellow Massachusetts Democrats, criticizing Mitt Romney’s record as governor on behalf of President Obama.

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But Murphy acknowledged that “it’s a little bittersweet.”

“I’m not going to focus on anything negative on my way out,” Murphy said. “It is what it is. The past is the past. You play the hand you’re dealt, and you move on.”

Until January 2011, Murphy served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes the budget. Vallee had been majority leader, second in line to the House speaker.

The two were rivals for succession to House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. But DeLeo, sensing ­maneuvering in his top ranks, ­reshuffled his leadership team in January 2011. Murphy was given a lifeline at the time, becoming House majority whip. Vallee was assigned to lead an obscure committee.


Murphy, however, continued to maneuver in his bid to succeed ­DeLeo, and after several more warnings, the speaker forced ­Murphy to resign as majority whip in December 2011. DeLeo ­believed that Murphy had been telling House members that a federal probe into the state Probation Department would topple DeLeo’s leadership. Murphy had denied being disloyal.

At the time of his departure from DeLeo’s team, Murphy wrote the speaker an angry and public letter, making clear that he was resign­ing his position only to avoid an ugly vote “to fire me.” He wrote that his resignation was “certainly not voluntary.” He also criticized a “top-down leadership model where dissent is discouraged, debate is limited, ­decisions are made by a select few, and formal sessions are rare.”

His public and angry departure from leadership was a rare breach in decorum, but it also drew attention to some of the internal frustrations felt by lawmakers. Even as he saw his political stature plummet, Murphy maintained a sense of humor, changing his name on Twitter to @DropKickedMurph, a nod to the popular Boston band Dropkick Murphys.

Since then, he has been isolated and virtually powerless in the Legislature, even as he tried to form a dissident group to push for governing reforms.

He said Friday that he will ­always look back fondly on his two-year tenure as the head of the House budget-writing committee, when he helped the state combat one of its toughest fiscal periods. “You pick your fights and you move forward,” he said. “I’m leaving at peace.”


In a statement, DeLeo said, “Charley Murphy was a loyal advocate for his district. I wish him the best of luck in his new position.”

Noah Bierman can be reached
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