Today Sal DiMasi made official what many have been saying privately for the past couple of days: he will retire as of Tuesday as Speaker and state representative.
In an interview with the Globe and in a letter he circulated to colleagues, DiMasi insists that his leaving has nothing to do with the ongoing ethics and criminal investigations that swirl around Beacon Hill. Indeed, he explains in his letter that the reason he is leaving now is quite simple: "it is time."
A few weeks ago would have been a more convenient time for the Commonwealth, but hey, when it's time it's time I guess. Now Bob DeLeo, who will most likely be voted Speaker Wednesday, will have to assemble and arrange his leadership team, make committee assignments, etc. just as House 1, aka the Governor's budget, comes wheeling down the hallway -- and oh by the way since writing the house version of the budget has been the job of the guy who is now jumping to Speaker, someone else will have to do it (St. Fleur maybe?), for the first time, on little notice, in a year where we face a multi-billion-dollar revenue gap. Thanks, Sal!
I'm not going to get into assessing DiMasi's legacy right now; however, I will point you to this cover story about DiMasi and the House I wrote last April -- just after the casino vote, and just before the scandals began dripping. (The timing of those two things might not be entirely unrelated, as DiMasi suggested to the Globe today.) I'd like to think that I was an early chronicler of the problems that have ultimately led to this point.... Plus, it couldn't have helped that we put that image of multiple Sals in dresses all over Boston.