Marty Meehan

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For the former IRA member and Sinn Féin member, see Martin Meehan (Irish republican).
Marty Meehan
Marty Meehan ETIC.jpg
2nd Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell
Assumed office
July 2, 2007
Preceded by William Hogan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – July 1, 2007
Preceded by Chester Atkins
Succeeded by Niki Tsongas
Personal details
Born Martin Thomas Meehan
(1956-12-30) December 30, 1956 (age 58)
Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater UMass Lowell
Suffolk University

Martin Thomas "Marty" Meehan (born December 30, 1956 Lowell, Massachusetts) is the current Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a position he assumed on July 1, 2007. A Democrat, Meehan served in the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 2007 as the representative for Massachusetts's 5th congressional district.

Personal life and education[edit]

Meehan was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the eldest of three sons and four daughters born to Martin T. Meehan (d. 2000), a compositor for The Lowell Sun, and Alice (Britton) Meehan (d. 2008).[1] He attended public schools in Lowell, graduating from Lowell High School in 1974.

Meehan attended the University of Massachusetts Lowell, graduating in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education and political science. Meehan went on to earn a Master of Public Administration degree from Suffolk University in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from the Suffolk University Law School in 1986. He holds honorary degrees from Suffolk University, Green Mountain College in Vermont and Shenkar College of Engineering & Design in Israel.

Meehan is on the board of directors at Sage Bank (formerly Lowell Cooperative Bank), board of trustees at Natixis Global Asset Management as well as the board of governors at Lowell General Hospital. Previously, he served on the board of directors of Qteros (formerly SunEthanol) and D’Youville Foundation and was a member of the board of trustees of Suffolk University.[2]

In 1996 he married Ellen T. Murphy. She later served as the vice president at Lawrence General Hospital. They have two children together: Daniel Martin and Robert Francis.

Chancellor of University of Massachusetts Lowell[edit]

On March 14, 2007, Meehan was named Chancellor of his alma mater the University of Massachusetts Lowell.[3][4] Meehan has propelled UMass Lowell forward by every important measure of higher education. The institution has achieved record growth in enrollment, student retention and funding for research and scholarships. The campus has undergone a stunning physical transformation with new academic buildings and residence halls, upgraded academic and research facilities, and enhanced student activity spaces.[5]

Meehan was presented with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) 2014 President of the Year Award at the organization’s 100th anniversary celebration and conference. ACUI is the nation’s largest association of collegiate student affairs professionals. He was honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) at the annual District I program in 2012 with the Chief Executive Leadership Award, established to honor institutional leaders for outstanding contributions to their campus communities, for efforts promoting public understanding of education and for support of advancement at their campuses.[5]

Political career[edit]

Interspersed with his post-college studies, Meehan held a number of political positions. From 1978 to 1979 Meehan served on the staff to Lowell mayor Raymond F. Rourke. He was the press assistant to Representative James Shannon from 1979 to 1981 and the head research analyst for the Massachusetts Senate's joint committee on election laws from 1981 to 1984.

After completing his law degree, Meehan served as director of public affairs to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth and Deputy Secretary of State for Securities and Corporations from 1986 to 1990. From 1987 to 1988, Meehan was a member of the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Harvard Law School. From 1991 to 1992, Meehan was the First Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County.

Meehan ran for the U.S. House in the 1992 election and was elected on November 3, 1992. He took office in January 1993. Meehan is generally considered to be a political liberal. Meehan is a prominent advocate for campaign finance reform and was one of the major sponsors of Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (called the "Shays-Meehan Bill" in the House and the "McCain-Feingold Bill" in the Senate). He has also been noted for his activism on gay rights issues; for example, Meehan is the chief sponsor of the measure repealing the don't ask, don't tell policy.

On October 10, 2002, Marty Meehan was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq.[6]

Meehan's campaign fund is among the largest campaign accounts of any House member, with $4,829,540 cash on hand reported on October 15, 2005. This is the result of raising more money than he spent in several campaigns since his first in 1992.

In the 2004 Congressional race, Meehan raised $3,170,733 and spent $459,977 of that, thus adding $2,710,756 to his cash on hand. His opponent, Tom Tierney raised $30,943 and spent $30,406. Overall, in the 2004 race, incumbents in the House of Representatives on average raised $1,122,505 compared to $192,964 for their challengers.[7]

Meehan was mentioned as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2004, if Massachusetts' junior senator, John Kerry, had been elected to the presidency.[8]

Meehan worked with former Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva and a bipartisan group of representatives to Capitol Hill to reintroduce the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, legislation that would repeal the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding gay service members.[citation needed]


Meehan celebrates gaining enough votes to bring his campaign finance reform bill to the floor.

Term limits[edit]

Meehan successfully ran for the House in 1992 on a platform of reform, including a commitment to pushing through term limits for members of the House. As part of that platform, Meehan made a pledge not to serve more than four terms. On the House floor in 1995 he scolded members who might go back on their promise to limit their tenure in office. "The best test of any politicians' credibility on term limits," he said, "is whether they are willing to put their careers where their mouths are and limit their own service." Despite his pledge, Meehan again ran for Congress in the year 2000, exceeding four terms.[9]

Post 9/11 criticism of President Bush[edit]

Meehan came under intense criticism in the days following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when the Boston Herald reported that he criticized President Bush for not returning to Washington, D.C., sooner than he did after the attacks.[10] Meehan was quoted as saying "I don't buy the notion Air Force One was a target ... That's just PR. That's just spin."[11] Following that incident, Lowell police posted a guard outside Meehan's congressional district office after receiving reports of threatening phone calls. Meehan later recanted his views and said that he believed at that time that Bush had done "an excellent job."[12]

Wikipedia editing[edit]

An unidentified individual operating through the U.S. House of Representatives' internet connection made several favorable edits as well as removing statements declaring Meehan's original campaign platform that included a promise not to run for more than four terms. Meehan's chief of staff at the time, Matt Vogel, admitted to the press that he oversaw the edits and removal of the section that pointed out Meehan's decision not to step down from office after four terms.[13]

Former committee assignments and caucus memberships[edit]

Former committee assignments[edit]

Former congressional caucuses[edit]

Retirement from Congress[edit]

On May 9, 2007, Meehan delivered an official resignation statement to the Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), indicating that he would leave his post on July 1 of the same year.[14] In response, Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) announced a September 4 primary and an October 16 special election to determine Meehan's successor. The eventual winner was Niki Tsongas, the widow of Paul Tsongas, one of Meehan's predecessors.

Potential United States Senate Candidate[edit]

Meehan had been mentioned as a potential candidate to succeed Ted Kennedy in the United States Senate.[15][16] In a letter to staff and students at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, he stated,

"After careful consideration and many conversations with my family and close supporters, I have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate at this time. While I am not ruling out the possibility of seeking public office in the future, I am fortunate to be leading a remarkable university that I love, and I just don’t want to walk away."[17]


External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Chester Atkins
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Niki Tsongas