Spilka to take gavel in latest Senate leadership shuffle

BOSTON (AP) – Karen Spilka is set to take over as president of the Massachusetts Senate, capping a tumultuous eight-month period for the chamber.

The Ashland Democrat is expected to be formally elected to the powerful leadership post by her colleagues on Thursday. She succeeds Worcester Democrat Harriette Chandler, who has wielded the gavel since former Senate President Stan Rosenberg stepped aside amid an ethics probe in December.

Spilka announced in May she had secured enough commitments from fellow Democratic senators to become the new president. The transition occurs as lawmakers race against a Tuesday deadline to complete action on major legislation.

Currently chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Spilka was elected to the House in 2001 and to the Senate in 2004. Her district includes Framingham and several other MetroWest communities.

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