In choosing an interim senator to serve for almost five months, a governor should have one overriding priority: Providing the best possible representation for the people of Massachusetts. The quality of that representation can be measured not only by the character of the person chosen, but by the amount of clout the appointee brings to a short tenure in the Senate.
William “Mo” Cowan, Governor Patrick’s choice to fill the next four months of John Kerry’s term, has the requisite character, a solid knowledge of statewide issues, and has sounded the right notes of confidence and humility. But at 43, with only his stints as Patrick’s legal counsel and chief of staff as top-level credentials, Cowan counts as a surprising — and disappointing — choice. Simply put, Massachusetts is brimming over with political talent, including many potential picks of greater stature than Cowan, and many with vastly greater national experience.