Metro

State senator’s partner to leave his PR job

Blames Globe for departure

State Senator Stanley Rosenberg (left) and his partner, Bryon Hefner.

AP/FILE (LEFT)

State Senator Stanley Rosenberg (left) and his partner, Bryon Hefner.

In a sudden shift from an announcement over the weekend, the domestic partner of presumptive Senate president Stanley C. Rosenberg abruptly resigned Monday from his position at a politically connected Boston communications firm.

Bryon Hefner, in an e-mailed statement to the Globe, blamed the newspaper for driving him out of his job working as a public relations staff member for Regan Communications.

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Late Saturday the Regan firm, which offers potential clients Beacon Hill connections and help with lobbying, had said it was reassigning Hefner from its Boston headquarters to its Florida office.

Hefner’s decision Monday to leave the firm entirely follows several stories in which the Globe detailed how Hefner, using his close relationship with Rosenberg, involved himself in internal Senate business and politics.

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“The Boston Globe has rejected my transfer to Florida, identifying it as ‘not being far enough away’ if I am still in a relationship with my partner of over six years,’’ Hefner wrote. “The Boston Globe has forced me, just days before Christmas, to choose between my personal and professional life.’’

It was not immediately clear what Hefner was referring to when he wrote that the newspaper had “rejected” the Florida move. Neither Hefner nor Rosenberg responded to requests for comment.

Hefner’s activities on Beacon Hill, which irritated some senators, included talking with senators about key committee assignments and leadership jobs. He also taunted outgoing Senate president Therese Murray through social media. Earlier this month, when asked about the blurred lines, Rosenberg told the newspaper that he had built a “firewall” between Hefner and Senate business.

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On Saturday, the Globe reported that Hefner accompanied Rosenberg to a conference of legislators in St. Thomas in early December, raising questions about how well the senator was separating Hefner and his Senate business.

At a small private dinner, Hefner had some tense words with Senator Jennifer Flanagan, a Leominster Democrat, and left the table. Neither Flanagan or Hefner would comment, but Rosenberg aides insisted that no Senate business was discussed at the dinner.

Rosenberg has defended Hefner, saying their relationship meant a great deal to him and that he was grateful to the 27-year-old for persuading him to publicly declare his sexual orientation.

“The Boston Globe may have stalled my career, but they have failed to break apart our family,’’ Hefner said in his statement.

Hefner also praised the Regan firm, saying its “loyalty throughout this unprecedented ordeal has been unwavering.”

Rosenberg’s chief of staff, Natasha Perez, said Rosenberg would have no comment on Hefner’s resignation or on his placing the blame for his problems on the Globe.

George Regan, the firm’s chairman and chief executive, said he, too, would have no comment on Hefner’s resignation or the potential conflict issues that his employment at the firm raised. “Today is Bryon’s day; I have nothing else to add,’’ Regan said.

Hefner’s activities have created a headache for Rosenberg just weeks before he is expected to assume the office of Senate president, a position he has worked toward for well over a decade.

Until the Globe reported early this month that Hefner’s activities were creating problems among some of his Senate colleagues, Rosenberg seemed to be on a glide path to the Senate president’s office.

Although the reports have shaken some its members, the Democratic coalition — the party holds 34 of the 40 seats in the Senate session that will begin Jan. 7 — has shown no signs of changing its mind about Rosenberg, who is popular and respected among his colleagues.

His political career began in 1987, when he was elected to the House as a Democrat from Amherst. He took the Senate seat of his political mentor, John Olver, in 1991 when Olver was elected to the US House of Representatives. Rosenberg served at one point as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, a post he was dropped from in 1999, and in other leadership positions.

Rosenberg failed to gain enough support in an internal contest to win the Senate presidency in 2003. Since then, he worked his way up to be the majority leader under Murray, who helped in 2013 to consolidate a strong coalition for him to take over her position.

Related coverage:

Significant other’s role complicates Rosenberg’s dealings

Complaints over partner entangle state senator

Rosenberg seeks to shore up support after story about partner

For senator’s partner, uproar is unexpected turn in a resilient life

Adrian Walker: Stanley Rosenberg’s tenure off to a messy start

Joan Vennochi: Sex, power, and access on Beacon Hill

Frank Phillips can be reached at phillips@globe.com.
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