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State Senate president won’t run for reelection

State Senate President Therese Murray.

Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe/File

State Senate President Therese Murray.

State Senate President Therese Murray, the chamber’s first female president, said Saturday she will not run for reelection.

“I have reached the decision that I will not be a candidate for reelection to the state Senate,” the Plymouth Democrat said in a statement Saturday morning. “It has been the greatest honor to serve the Commonwealth and I am forever thankful to the people of the Plymouth and Barnstable District for electing me to this seat time and time again.”

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The decision is not unexpected. Had Murray run for reelection and won, she could have only served through March 2015 because of Senate rules limiting its top official’s tenure. Murray became president in March 2007.

State Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat, has claimed sufficient votes among his colleagues to become the chamber’s next president.

Murray was first elected to the Senate in 1992.

In the statement, she referred to some of her accomplishments during her more than two decades serving in the Senate.

“From protecting children and families to reforming our health care system to supporting economic growth and development, it has always been my top priority to find the best solutions for my constituents,” she said.

Murray said she would serve through the remainder of her term and looked forward “to working on the issues that I am most passionate about for many years to come.”

She did not say what she would do after leaving office. A spokeswoman for Murray said she was not available for further comment this weekend.

In an interview, Rosenberg said he enjoyed working with Murray, and praised her as both a knowledgeable policy “wonk” and an effective, practical political operator.

“Some people are really great at the policy, some are really great at the politics. She has really been able to balance both,” he said.

The announcement was not a surprise, said Rosenberg, calling it a confirmation of earlier reports and statements by Murray to her colleagues that she would finish out her term. However, asked if the resolution of a question that had spawned rumors and uncertainty would be helpful to the Senate, Rosenberg replied, “Yes.”

Rosenberg insisted he still has the votes to take over as Senate president, but said it was “way too early” to say what his legislative priorities would be as president.

“My focus now is exclusively on serving effectively as majority leader and helping achieve the agenda that has been laid out for the rest of this year,” he said.

Rosenberg likes Democrats’ chances in elections this fall, he said, despite a handful of scandals dogging the Patrick administration.

“We have a very deep bench in terms of municipal officials and people in communities all across the Commonwealth who are engaging as activists,” he said. “I’m pretty optimistic about our ability to see a strong majority.”

Richard Tisei, the Senate’s former minority leader who is a Republican candidate for Congress, said he enjoyed working with Murray, even when they disagreed.

“Although we were on opposite sides of the aisle, I had a lot of respect for her, because she ran the Senate in a very professional and effective way,” he said in a phone interview. “At a time when you can look down in Washington and see how poisonous things are down there, she took great pains to make sure the atmosphere in the Senate was one in which everybody could work together. . . . Democrat or Republican, everyone looked forward to going into work, and that’s a great legacy to leave behind.”

Tisei, who has remained a friend of Murray’s since leaving the Senate in 2011, said her signature accomplishment was helping pass a welfare reform bill in the 1990s.

Governor Deval Patrick called Murray “a force for good in the Senate.”

“I am confident that she will continue to make Massachusetts better — both in the remainder of her term and beyond,” he said in a statement.

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo extended his congratulations on Murray’s “more than two decades of outstanding service in the Legislature.”

“On legislative matters, such as state finances, economic development, and reforms of our welfare, health care, ethics and pension systems, she has been a partner,” he said. “On personal terms, she is a good friend.”

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, previously a longtime state representative, issued a statement praising Murray, a fellow Dorchester native.

“From mental health parity to ethics reform, she has devoted her career to supporting those in need and improving government,” Walsh said. “I am proud to call Terry a colleague and a friend.”

Dan Adams can be reached at daniel.adams@globe.com. Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.
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