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By Matt Murphy

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 5, 2017....Hours before the Senate Ethics Committee met Tuesday to launch its investigation into former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, one Democratic member of the committee linked to aspirations of succeeding Rosenberg in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against his husband resigned his post.

Sen. Sal DiDomenico, a Everett Democrat and vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee, submitted a one-sentence letter to the Senate clerk Tuesday morning resigning from the Ethics Committee.

Sen. Sal DiDomenico reportedly tested the waters over the weekend for a potential run at the Senate presidency. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Acting Senate President Harriette Chandler then appointed Sen. Cindy Friedman, of Arlington, to take his place on the committee in time for Friedman to take part in the first Ethics Committee meeting to plan the investigation.

"Obviously, there were media reports out there of my potential interest in the presidency and for the best interests of the Senate and myself I thought it important for me to resign so that there was no appearance of a conflict," DiDomenico told the News Service.

Committee assignments, with the exception of chairmanships and vice-chairmanships, can be made by the president without ratification of the caucus. The Ethics Committee consists of four Democrats -- Sens. Michael Rodrigues, William Brownsberger, Cynthia Creem and Friedman -- and two Republicans -- Sens. Bruce Tarr and Richard Ross.

DiDomenico was one of four Democrats who reportedly spent time over the weekend listening to colleagues and testing their support among fellow members to succeed Rosenberg should he be forced to relinquish the presidency. The others were Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, Sen. Karen Spilka and Sen. Eileen Donoghue.

The Senate on Monday ultimately decided to name Chandler as acting president under the presumption that she would step downfor a new president or for Rosenberg to reclaim his position if the ethics investigation clears him of any wrongdoing with respect to his husband meddling in Senate business.

The unprecedented move in modern history to tap an acting Senate president, however, will not stamp out jockeying behind the scenes by senators looking to position themselves should Rosenberg ultimately find a return to the presidency untenable.

"You never know what the future will bring," DiDomenico said, when asked about his aspirations.

Asked if the "media reports" he referenced about him calling for support were true, DiDomenico said, "I was checking in with members and colleagues and talking about where we were going as a body. There were a lot of calls being made back and forth."

Senate Democrats and Republicans participated in a marathon eight-hour, closed-door caucus Monday where they plotted the course of the investigation into Rosenberg and the leadership of the body for the near future.

DiDomenico said the most important thing is for the four men who anonymously shared their stories of sexual harassment with the Boston Globe and anyone else with a story to tell to "feel comfortable coming forward."

"We want to create a safe place not just for this investigation, but going forward as a body," DiDomenico said. "I wanted to make sure there was a clear break."


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