Four new members, including Dorchester's Hunt, join House in latest influx of new blood

By 
Colleen Quinn, State House News Service
Apr. 16, 2014

Four new lawmakers were sworn into the House of Representatives and one said goodbye Wednesday – rituals that have become commonplace this legislative session after a slew of resignations and special elections.

Two State House veterans who have worked on Beacon Hill for many years, and two newcomers took the oath of office after winning special elections earlier this month. The new members were sworn in by Gov. Deval Patrick during a ceremony attended by many former House lawmakers as well as Congressmen Stephen Lynch and Michael Capuano.

Rep. Daniel Hunt, a Democrat from Dorchester, won the seat vacated by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh. Hunt previously worked as the government affairs director at the Conservation and Recreation Department and as an aide to former Rep. Daniel Bosley.

Hunt told his new colleagues that despite working in the State House for 10 years, he is still awed by the history of the building. Hunt credited his parents for teaching him that “the commitment to public service is the highest of all callings.”

Winning a special election to represent Revere, Rep. RoseLee Vincent said following “the Reinstein legacy” would be tough. Vincent worked for both the late-Rep. William Reinstein and his daughter former Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein. Kathi-Anne Reinstein left the Legislature in January to take a job with the Boston Beer Co.

“It’s truly been both an honor and an adventure working with the both of them,” Vincent said after being sworn in.

Vincent said she would have a tough time matching the humor and pranks that the senior Reinstein was known for, and she joked about reviving the phrase “Revere is the center of the universe” often echoed in the House chamber by Kathi-Anne Reinstein.

Rep. Daniel Ryan, a Democrat from Charlestown, thanked Capuano for giving him a job 14 years while he was mayor of Somerville. Ryan won the seat formerly held by Eugene O’Flaherty, who left for the top legal position in Boston City Hall working for Walsh.

Ryan said the tributes held Tuesday for Boston Marathon victims also celebrated the country’s “enduring Democracy” that began in Massachusetts. “I am honored to be a part of that,” he said.

Rep. John Velis, a Democrat from Westfield, won a special election to fill the seat vacated by former Republican Rep. Donald Humason, who was elected to the state Senate. Velis, a member of the U.S. Army Reserves who served in Afghanistan, recognized two other House members who serve in the military - Rep. Jerald Parisella (D-Beverly) and Rep. Hank Naughton (D-Clinton).

As new lawmakers were taking their seats, one said goodbye.

Rep. Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) was elected to the state Senate for the seat that opened up when former Sen. Katherine Clark was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

As a child growing up in South Africa under apartheid rule in the 1970s, Lewis said he never imagined he would be a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. His family immigrated to the United States when he was 12. He said the memory of apartheid fueled his commitment to fight for civil rights and social justice.

“I stand today deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. This has been an institution that has been a beacon of progress,” Lewis said. “In fact it was right here in this Legislature that the movement began to divest from companies profiting from the apartheid regime.”

Lewis will be sworn into the Senate on Thursday.

The seat formerly held by Carlos Henriquez will be filled by a special election April 30, but five more House seats will remain vacant for the remainder of the 2013-2014 session.