Hyde Park's Rep. Scaccia will not seek re-election

Rep. Angelo Scaccia (right) testified at a hearing in 2019 alongside Rep. Patrick Kearney. Sam Doran/SHNS/File 2019 photo

The most senior member of the House of Representatives has joined a growing list of veteran lawmakers who are not seeking another term on Beacon Hill.

After 23 terms in the House, Rep. Angelo Scaccia of Readville is not running for re-election, his office confirmed to the News Service.

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, Scaccia first took office in 1973. Through the years, he chaired the now-defunct Taxation Committee, the House Science and Technology Committee, and the House Rules Committee, and was at one time a member of Speaker Salvatore DiMasi's leadership team.

In the acrimonious 2009 fight to replace DiMasi, Scaccia backed Rep. John Rogers who ultimately lost to Rep. Robert DeLeo. Scaccia has remained at odds with DeLeo, openly criticizing the speaker's management of the branch.

As Dean of the House, an honorary title with no leadership status or financial benefit, Scaccia, 77, is in charge of presiding over the House at the start of each two-year session before members elect the speaker.

Former Boston City Councilor Rob Consalvo is among the candidates who have pulled papers to run for Scaccia's seat, according to a spokeswoman for the Elections Division. Consalvo ran for mayor in the crowded 2013 field to replace Mayor Thomas Menino.

Duckens Petit-Maitre, Gretchen Van Ness, Fabien DePeiza, and Matthew Lydon have also picked up nomination papers, according to the spokeswoman.

The list of incumbents not returning to the hill includes (with the year they took office): Reps. Thomas Petrolati (1987), Louis Kafka (1991), Elizabeth Poirier (1999), Denise Provost (2006), Jonathan Hecht (2009), Randy Hunt (2011), Aaron Vega (2013), Daniel Cullinane (2013), Roselee Vincent (2014), Jose Tosado (2015), and Stephan Hay (2016).

Candidates have three more weeks, until April 28, to file nomination papers with local registrars, but face challenges in gathering signatures due to social distancing measures aimed at reducing COVID-19 spread.

Scaccia's role as Dean now falls to Rep. Theodore Speliotis of Danvers, first elected in 1979, provided he wins re-election in the fall.

"It's an honor to serve for so long but it really doesn't mean a whole lot when it comes to the day-to-day," Speliotis told the News Service on Tuesday, emphasizing his focus on constituent services particularly during the COVID-19 emergency.

"You might get a little extra consideration but not a heck of a lot if you don't produce," Speliotis said of seniority in the House. "And I think that's healthy. I think if you're not willing to reinvent yourself to reflect the times, then you ought not be around. I think that's one of the most dangerous things you can do, is think about the past. I think what matters is, are you effective on this particular day?"