The bookshelves that line one wall of Senator William “Mo” Cowan’s office are empty. Former senator and now Secretary of State John Kerry once occupied this same elegant space in the Russell Senate Office Building. He left, taking all of his books and memorabilia with him, and Cowan arrived, bringing very little. There was no reason to: He knew his time would be short.
Cowan was sworn in on Feb. 7, and he’s scheduled to leave by the end of June. Five months in the Senate isn’t enough time to accomplish much, and people in Cowan’s position — temporary appointments to the job — are derisively called “seat warmers.” They’re there to take votes and make sure the state they represent isn’t forgotten, and on those fronts, Cowan has acquitted himself well. But think of this too as the grown-up equivalent of a college student’s semester abroad. Or, perhaps, Mo Cowan’s excellent adventure.