State Rep. Martha Walz to lead Planned Parenthood

After four terms serving as the representative for the Eighth Suffolk District, Martha “Marty” Walz will announce Wednesday that she is resigning her legislative seat to become chief executive officer of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, said a person with direct knowledge of the group’s decision.

Walz, 51, was chosen over Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, who recently served as health and human services secretary for Governor Deval Patrick’s administration, said the source, who requested anonymity.

Walz could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.


A Democrat of Boston, she won her seat in 2005. Walz also serves as a vice chairwoman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

She emerged as a major player on Beacon Hill, especially after she helped create one the nation’s comprehensive anti­bullying laws in 2010. ­

Under the law, school districts were required to submit plans to combat bullying to the state. The law was enacted after 15-year-old Phoebe Prince of South Hadley committed suicide after she was bullied.

Walz was also the House chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Education during the 2009-10 legislative session, as well as a member of the Federal Stimulus Oversight Committee and the executive committee of the Caucus of Women Legislators.

Among other accomplishments, Walz is a member of the Early Education and Care Council, which advises the Depart­ment of Early Education and Care with afterschool services and early education for families.


Walz is joining Planned Parenthood — an organization that tries to “protect and promote sexual and reproductive health and freedom of choice,” according to their website — after its previous president and chief ­executive, Dianne ­Luby, announced her resignation in ­December. Luby served both positions for 13 years.

During the search, the chairwoman of the board of directors, Nonnie S. Burnes, served as interim chief executive.

Walz has a master’s degree in public administration from Havard University, as well as a juris doctorate from New York University School of Law.

Derek J. Anderson can be reached at derek.anderson@
. Frank Phillips can be reached at phillips@