Knapik speculates on Prez appointment

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. .John Kerry, D-Mass. arrives for a closed-door meeting about the Sept. 11 assault on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where Ambassador Chris Stevens and others embassy staff were killed, Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WESTFIELD – The state – and country – are abuzz with the news that President Barrack Obama could appoint U.S. Senator John Kerry Secretary of Defense.
If that happens, there could be a number of people hoping to fill that seat, speculated state Sen. Michael R. Knapik.
Knapik would likely support his friend, former Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown who just last week lost his bid for re-election to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
“I think Scott Brown would be a leading contender,” said Knapik.
While Knapik has not spoken to Brown since the rumors of a Kerry appointment surfaced, he has spoken to his senate Republican leader who talked to Brown.
“He is mulling it over,” said Knapik.
Gov. Deval Patrick would appoint an interim senator if Kerry left his post to head the defense department.
“I believe a special election would be called with 100 days of appointment of an interim senator,” Knapik said.
Knapik said in addition to Brown, other contenders could be former governor William Weld, former state representative Marty Meehan, Attorney General Martha Coakley, and State Auditor Suzanne Bump.
“It’s a special election so no one has to forfeit their current position,” noted Knapik.
Knapik said Brown had a 56-percent favorable rating as a senator and lost, in part Knapik believes, because it was a presidential election.
“Obama is very popular in Massachusetts,” said Knapik, adding that Warren may have benefitted from that popularity.
Brown won his seat in a special election when longtime Sen. Edward Kennedy died. He held the seat for 46 years. Knapik said Kerry was elected in 1982, proving that it is rare for a senate seat to open up in Massachusetts.
Knapik said if Kerry is selected, it could be good for Massachusetts.
“We have Barnes and Westover in our backyards, General Electric in Boston, and the Natick Laboratories,” said Knapik. “I’m intrigued by the notion of a Secretary Kerry because of the possibilities for Massachusetts.”
Knapik said Kerry is not an “unusual” choice for the position given his background.
As he was graduating from Yale University, Kerry volunteered to serve in the United States Navy. Lt. Kerry served two tours of duty in Vietnam. On his second tour, he volunteered to serve on a Swift Boat in the river deltas, and was decorated with a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts.
Kerry serves as chairman of the senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, as well as the subcommittees for Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security; Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion; Science and Space; Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard; Surface Transportation; and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security.
“Any time the president taps someone for a position, it’s a great honor,” Knapik said.

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