George Keverian

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George Keverian
George Keverian.png
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
January 1985 – January 1991
Preceded by Thomas William McGee
Succeeded by Charles F. Flaherty Jr.
Majority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
1978–1983
Preceded by John E. Murphy, Jr.
Succeeded by W. Paul White
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
20th Middlesex District
39th Middlesex District
In office
1967–1991
Preceded by William H. Finnegan
Succeeded by Edward G. Connolly
City of Everett, Massachusetts
Board of Aldermen
In office
1961–1967
City of Everett, Massachusetts
President of the Common Council
In office
1960–1961
City of Everett, Massachusetts
Common Council
In office
1954–1961
Personal details
Born June 3, 1931
Everett, Massachusetts
Died March 6, 2009(2009-03-06) (aged 77)
Everett, Massachusetts
Resting place Glenwood Cemetery
Everett, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Harvard College
Harvard Law School
Religion Armenian Apostolic
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch Army

George Keverian (June 3, 1931 – March 6, 2009) was an American Democratic Party politician who served as the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1985 until 1991.[1][2] In his role in the legislature, he was an advocate for greater openness in leadership, free speech and government reform.

Early life and education[edit]

George Keverian was born in Everett, Massachusetts, located in Middlesex County, near Boston. Keverian was the son of Armenian parents who immigrated to America from Turkey before 1915; his mother was a dressmaker and his father ran a shoe repair business.[3]

Keverian attended Everett High School where he was a champion runner[4] the valedictorian of the class of 1949.[5] Keverian attended Tufts College for two years before transferring[6] to Harvard College.[7] Keverian graduated from Harvard in 1953.[3]

Early political career[edit]

He was elected to the City of Everett Common Council in 1954 at the age of 21, shortly after his graduation from Harvard. Running for three seats in a field of three dozen, Keverian used a high-speed motion picture camera suggested by his brother that could capture still images of each house in the ward. He sent an individualized flier to each house with a photo of their own home and a message about the attention he would offer the neighborhood.[8] He served on the Common Council until 1961, serving as President of the Common Council from 1960 to 1961.[1]

Massachusetts House of Representatives[edit]

In 1966, Keverian was elected to represent the 20th Middlesex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

From 1975 to 1978 Keverian was the House Majority Whip, the number three leadership position in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In 1978 Keverian was chosen to be the House Majority Leader, the number two leadership position in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives[edit]

Serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, he won the position as Speaker of the House from fellow Democrat Thomas W. McGee in January 1985,[3] bringing reformers in the legislature to back his candidacy. Though he was able to bring greater openness, he had difficulties as a leader and in pushing through legislation. He left the post, and state politics, in 1991, after losing the Democratic party primary for Massachusetts State Treasurer.[7]

Later life[edit]

He returned to Everett, where he was appointed as the city's chief assessor in 1995. He lost the position in 2007, with Keverian claiming that he had lost the post due to conflicts with the city's mayor; the mayor stated that the position had been eliminated.[7]

Weighing as much as 400 pounds by 2002, Keverian blamed his place in the public eye for his weight problems, telling a 2003 forum on obesity at the Harvard School of Public Health that "People can be very, very cruel, even when they're not trying to be" and that "Having all that publicity and public acceptance worked against me". He was able to bring his weight down to 260 pounds following gastric bypass surgery in 2002.[7]

The George Keverian School in Everett, Massachusetts is named after him. Keverian had been scheduled to read a Dr. Seuss book to first-graders at the school on the day of his death.[1]

Death and burial[edit]

Keverian died at age 77, on March 6, 2009.[7] He was buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Everett, Massachusetts.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Former House Speaker George Keverian dead, Associated Press, 2009-03-06 
  2. ^ Marquard, Bryan; Kay Lazar (2009-03-06), George Keverian, former House speaker, found dead at home, Boston Globe 
  3. ^ a b c Marquard, Bryan (March 7, 2009), George Keverian, former House speaker, dies at 77, Boston, MA: Boston Globe 
  4. ^ Marquard, Bryan (March 10, 2009), George Keverian: Power, personality, wit, Boston, MA: Boston Globe, p. A15 
  5. ^ Goldman, Michael (March 7, 2009), George Keverian, former House speaker, dies at 77, Boston, MA: Boston Globe 
  6. ^ Marquard, Bryan (March 7, 2009), George Keverian, former House speaker, dies at 77, Boston, MA: Boston Globe, p. B1 
  7. ^ a b c d e Staff. "Former Mass. Speaker Keverian Dies", WCVB-TV, March 6, 2009. Accessed March 6, 2009.
  8. ^ Lazar, Kay (February 7, 2008), Keverian aiming for a healthy comeback, Boston Globe, retrieved 2009-03-08 
  9. ^ Former House Speaker George Keverian memorialized, Lowell, MA: Lowell Sun, March 11, 2009  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Heslam, Jessica.: The Boston Herald, Longtime pol George Keverian found dead Former House speaker, fondly remembered by colleagues, friends, was 77, (March 7, 2009).
  • O'Neill, Edward B.: Public officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, page 83, (1985).
  • O'Neill, Edward B.: Public officers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, page 164, (1983).
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas W. McGee
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
1985–1991
Succeeded by
Charles F. Flaherty, Jr.