Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appointed his former chief of staff today to serve as interim US Senator, with John Kerry leaving the seat to become Secretary of State <br ><br >William “Mo” Cowan was preparing for a return to the private sector, after serving in the Patrick administration since 2009, first as legal counsel and most recently as chief of staff and senior adviser. But Cowan says when he was offered the post Tuesday, he did not hesitate.
“There is no greater calling than to be able to serve the people of the state of Massachusetts, to give back to a state that has given so much to me.”
At 43, Cowan will be the second African American to serve the Bay State in the U.S. Senate, and the eighth from any state. Cowan says he’s confident he earned the appointment on his merits – but also noted its significance for his mother.
“She’s a child of the segregated south. A single mother to me after my father died. A woman who did not attend college. But my mother told me days like today we’re possible, if you work hard, there is nothing you can not achieve in this great nation.”
Patrick says Cowan’s appointment and his own governorship are evidence of progress for the United States.
“The Commonwealth and the country is changing. The breadth of diversity in background and ethnicity and race is deeper and broader than ever, and I have known for a long time and believed for a long time, that there is talent in every community in the commonwealth.”
Cowan says he will hew closely to the agenda set by Kerry on Capitol Hill. Kerry’s swearing in as secretary of state is expected Friday – and an election for his long-term replacement is set for June 25th.