Some Top Rosenberg Donors Saddened By Controversy, Worried For Future

Dec 4, 2017

Massachusetts State Senator Stan Rosenberg of Amherst said he wants to give up the title of Senate president -- at least temporarily.

This comes as the chamber launches an investigation into allegations Rosenberg's husband, Bryon Hefner, sexually harassed and assaulted four men, and also helped direct policy in the Senate.

The controversy has hit some of Rosenberg's top donors hard.

John Armstrong of Amherst is a long retired IBM executive. He has given nearly $4,000 to Rosenberg's campaign fund in the past decade.

"I think that this is undoubtedly a great personal difficulty for Stan and how he can deal with it is not for me -- or the press, for that matter -- to say," Armstrong said. "But as I say, I believe the commonwealth will be poorly served if the result of this is that we lose his service."

Armstrong said he hopes the investigation can be dealt with in an "expeditious way."

Asked for his thoughts on media coverage, Armstrong said, "It's not at all clear to me that the way this is being handled [by the press] is in the public interest."

In Northfield, at Four Star Farms, members of the L'Etoile family have donated more than $6,000 to Rosenberg's campaign fund over the years.

"I think it's very sad," Bonnie Tucker L'Etoile said when asked about Rosenberg's decision to step aside. "That's all."

As a 30-year veteran of Beacon Hill, Rosenberg has long been a strong fundraiser. But he's been able to raise much more since summer of 2013, when he announced he had support to become Senate president.

In the 2011-2012 election cycle, Rosenberg raised more than $144,000. In just the first six months of this year, he raised nearly $250,000.