Jan. 5, 2011
A new legislative session starts Wednesday on Beacon Hill. As Gov. Patrick will swear in the members of the 187th Massachusetts legislature today, the chamber will look a shade less blue than in recent years.
The number of Republicans in the House of Representatives will likely double this year, from 16 to 32 (One close race still contested in court is expected to go Republican).
Republicans still make up only a sliver of the 160-seat chamber. They know they'll need to reach across the aisle to get any legislation passed.
But GOP House Leader Brad Jones says the growth in his party ranks will enhance public discourse.
“So instead of 16 of us, a smaller number of us, trying to get he message out or the alternative viewpoint out, now there are 32 people doing it. And we think there’s an inherent benefit in that,” Jones said.
One new Republican face is George Ross of Attleboro. Ross won his seat in November by defeating a Democratic incumbent. He says his election sent state lawmakers a clear message: Voters are tired of one party rule on Beacon Hill.
"The people in the Commonwealth are very dissatisfied with what’s been happening and I think it had to do a lot with the imbalance. One party in power, 3 corrupt speakers, problems with probation now," Ross said.
Ross said he was sent to the State House to hold the majority accountable, and that’s exactly what he and the newly enlarged Republican caucus plan to do.