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Massachusetts House speaker hospitalized, fitted with pacemaker

Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano.
Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Massachusetts House Speaker Ronald Mariano was hospitalized and fitted with a pacemaker during a recent trip to Florida, according to a statement his office released Monday night.

Mariano, 74, said that he was admitted to a hospital after “experiencing some medical discomfort,” and that he and his wife were in the process Monday of returning to Massachusetts, where he planned to see doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital.

He said he’s confident he can resume a regular schedule “shortly.”

“I have taken statin medication for some time but have never had an incident before,” the Quincy Democrat said in the statement. “After some tests I was fitted with a pacemaker and remained in the hospital to monitor and adjust it. . . . I continue to feel stronger and am confident I will resume my regular, full schedule shortly.”

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The State House News Service first reported Mariano’s procedure Monday.

It wasn’t immediately clear when or where Mariano was hospitalized. His aides also did not immediately say when Mariano had traveled to Florida, or how long he was out of state.

Mariano had voted Wednesday in favor of advancing the so-called millionaires tax to the 2022 ballot, and also logged votes on Thursday, including one in favor of a measure that would make expanded mail-in voting permanent.

The Legislature continues to operate under emergency-era rules, which allow lawmakers to vote remotely in legislative sessions. In Wednesday’s constitutional convention, state Representative Claire Cronin, the chamber’s majority leader, gaveled the session alongside Senate president Karen E. Spilka.

The House is planning to meet in a legislative session Tuesday, where it could move a bill extending a series of pandemic-era rules slated to end after Massachusetts’ state of emergency expires Tuesday morning.

Mariano became Massachusetts’ oldest speaker since at least the Civil War when he was elected to lead the House in December. As the chamber’s top Democrat, he wields wide influence over which lawmakers hold leadership positions and what bills move to the floor.

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First elected to the House in a special election in 1991, Mariano has often negotiated complicated legislation, especially on health care and financial services.

He was at the negotiating table for the state’s 2006 landmark health care reform law that served as the template for the federal Affordable Care Act, and last year, he helped reach an agreement on legislation extending coverage for telehealth services.

“In my time in the Legislature, I have spent a lot of it on health care policy. After this first-hand look, it has hit home for me how important this work is and will continue to be,” Mariano said in his statement Monday. “Everyone everywhere deserves this same level of care.”


Matt Stout can be reached at matt.stout@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattpstout.