House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Sunday named a Boston legislator with extensive experience in health-care policy to chair the Ways and Means committee that crafts the state budget.
Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez of Jaimaica Plain will take over from Representative Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill, who announced last week that he will resign from the Legislature to take a job at lobbying firm ML Strategies.
"Representative Sanchez is an exceptionally thoughtful legislator who has worked with Associated Industries of Massachusetts on some of the most complex issues facing the business community, especially managing the cost of health care," said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM.
"We look forward to working with him in his new role as chair of the Ways & Means Committee."
Sanchez currently chairs the Health Care Financing Committee and previously co-chaired the Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Health. He has been active on economic justice issues and legislation aimed at addressing racial and ethnic health disparities, and recently co-chaired a special commission that examined price disparities in the health care sector.
His nomination will come before a Democratic caucus today.
Hinting at the potential for challenging health care policy changes at the federal level, DeLeo told State House News Service that the work Sanchez has done as committee chairman "will be crucial as we address the health care challenges inherent to the budget and grapple with uncertainty on the national level."
Dempsey had served in the Legislature since 1991 and has overseen the past six state budgets. He will become senior vice president and chief operating officer of ML Strategies, an AIM member, in September.
“AIM congratulates Chairman Dempsey and looks forward to working with him in his new role at ML Strategies,” Regan said.
“Mr. Dempsey has always been willing to consider the opinions of the business community and has been a thoughtful voice of moderation in guiding the fiscal course of the commonwealth.”
Dempsey said in a statement: "It has been an incredible honor to serve the people of Haverhill in an elected capacity since 1988. I am proud of all that we have been able to accomplish together. I would like to thank all of my supporters, friends and family for their encouragement and help through the years.
"While I am moving on to a new chapter in my life, Haverhill will always be my home, and we will continue to keep the city moving in the right direction."