Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez was tapped Monday by Speaker Robert DeLeo to chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, a position that establishes the Boston Democrat as a contender to eventually succeed DeLeo as the top House Democrat.
Sanchez, in his eighth term in the Legislature, was installed as chairman of the panel less than a week after Brian Dempsey’s surprise announcement that he was leaving Beacon Hill to join ML Strategies, a prominent Boston lobbying firm.
Dempsey, a Haverhill Democrat, had been widely viewed as heir apparent to the speakership, one of the three most powerful political positions at the Statehouse along with the governor and Senate president.
The Ways and Means Committee writes the House version of the annual $40 billion state budget and reviews scores of other bills before they are sent to the floor for debate.
DeLeo, in a statement, cited Sanchez’s “intellect, experience and leadership skills” and prior work as chairman of the Public Health and Health Care Financing committees.
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