As Mass. Gov. A. Paul Cellucci awaits final confirmation as President Bush's ambassador to Canada, Lt. Gov. Jane Swift is poised to take the reins as acting governor of the commonwealth.
Cellucci's departure could rearrange the political landscape of Beacon Hill, according to an article in The Boston Globe. Democrats will have a chance to score policy victories against Swift, whose political reputation is already suffering.
By most accounts, Swift has endured a difficult term as lieutenant governor and has a current approval rating of only 17 percent.
Earlier in her term, critics blasted Swift when she had government employees baby-sit her child and used a state helicopter for a personal trip to avoid Thanksgiving traffic. Swift was subsequently fined for the transgressions.
Now, on the brink of becoming governor, Swift will face an uphill battle because of her past.
A major initial problem Swift could face is drumming up support for Cellucci's $1.2 billion tax cut, which could drain money from health care and education. Swift's opponents, such as State Senate President Thomas F. Birmingham '72 (D.-Chelsea), have noted that the tax cut may work in a fair-weather economy but could have serious repercussions in the forecasted slowdown.
Democrats, such as Birmingham and Joseph P. Kennedy II, are likely to be jockeying for power with Swift, to prepare for next year's gubernatorial challenge, the Globe reported.
Despite the changes that may be felt around Boston metropolitan area, it is unlikely the change from Cellucci to Swift will place heavy impact on the state's relations with Harvard.
For the past eight years, Republican governors William F. Weld '66 and Cellucci have generally been supportive of higher education in Massachusetts. With Swift as governor, positive relations with Harvard are expected to continue.
"There is no reason to believe [Swift] will not be favorably disposed to our goals, which are education and research," said Jane H. Corlette, associate vice president of government affairs at Harvard.
Kevin Casey, director of federal and state relations for the University, said he agreed.
"We do expect to continue a fairly stable manner on issues affecting higher education," he said.