|United States Senator
February 1, 2013
Serving with Elizabeth Warren
|Appointed by||Deval Patrick|
|Preceded by||John Kerry|
|Born||William Maurice Cowan
April 4, 1969
Yadkinville, North Carolina
|Alma mater||Duke University
William Maurice "Mo" Cowan (born April 4, 1969) is an American lawyer serving as the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts. He previously served as legal counsel and chief of staff to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Patrick appointed him on January 30, 2013, on an interim basis to fill the vacancy left by fellow Democrat John Kerry, who resigned to become Secretary of State. Cowan's term began when Kerry's resignation took effect on February 1. He has declined to run in the 2013 special election to complete the remainder of Kerry's term.
Cowan is the eighth African-American United States Senator and the second from Massachusetts after Edward Brooke. He is one of two African-American Senators in the 113th Congress, along with Republican South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who was also appointed to fill a vacancy.
Early life and education 
Cowan graduated from Forbush High School, the first graduate of his high school to attend Duke University. Originally planning to become a doctor, in 1991 he graduated from Duke with a degree in sociology. Cowan went on to earn his Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law in 1994. His assignments in Northeastern's cooperative program, which provides students with work experience as part of its educational program, included stints in the office of a state trial court, at North Carolina Prison Legal Services, and with the Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office.
Professional career 
In 1997, Cowan joined the law firm of Mintz Levin as an associate. There he practiced civil litigation and became a partner. He helped Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney identify African-American candidates for judgeships after Romney was criticized for his appointees' lack of diversity.
Cowan left Mintz Levin to join Deval Patrick's administration in 2009. As Patrick's counsel, Cowan was responsible for the legal operations of the executive branch and oversaw the governor's judicial nominations, including that of Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court Roderick Ireland. His principal projects as staff included legislation to contain the growth of health care costs and to expand gaming, as well as investigating and reorganizing the state Parole Board.
Cowan served as Patrick's chief legal counsel for two years and then as chief of staff from January 2011 until November 2012, when he announced plans to return to the private sector. He continued to serve the governor as a senior adviser until his Senate appointment. When appointed to the Senate, he said he had no intention of seeking public office once his interim appointment expired. He said: "This is going to be a very short political career. I am not running for office. I'm not a candidate for public service at any time today or in the future." Until his appointment, the U.S. Senate had never had more than one African-American member at one time.
In 2003, Boston Business Journal named him to its list of "40 under 40", a select group of younger business and civic leaders. He is the former president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association and the Northeastern Law School Alumni Association. He serves on the Board of Trustees of Northeastern University. Other non-profit boards he has served on include the Discovering Justice Foundation, Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, the Chestnut Hill School, and Project STEP.
U.S. Senate 
Committee assignments 
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
- Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion
- Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Science and Space
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Personal life 
- Kerry, John (January 29, 2013). "Letter to Deval Patrick". boston.com. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Montanaro, Domenico; Murray, Mark (January 30, 2013). "Patrick appoints former chief of staff interim senator; first time there will be two black senators". NBC News. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Michael Levenson (December 13, 2010). "For top aide, echoes of governor’s journey". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Phillips, Frank (January 30, 2013). "William ‘Mo’ Cowan is Governor Deval Patrick’s pick to serve as interim US senator". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "William "Mo" Cowan, L'94". Alumni Stories. Northeastern University. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Seelye, Katharine Q. (January 30, 2013). "Boston Lawyer Chosen for Kerry’s Senate Seat". New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Ashton, Kimberly; Pickette, Jeffrey (November 27, 2012). "Stoughton Resident Mo Cowan to Step Down as Governor Patrick's Chief of Staff". Stoughton Patch. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Ring, Dan (January 30, 2013). "Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint William Cowan as temporary replacement for Sen. John Kerry". The Republican. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- Battenfeld, Joe; Chabot, Hillary; Cassidy, Chris (January 30, 2013). "Gov names adviser Mo Cowan to interim Senate post". Boston Herald. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "First-ever program brings bar leaders together". Lawyers Journal, November 2003. Massachusetts Bar Association. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "Alumni/ae Association Board of Directors". School of Law. Northeastern University. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Officers of the Corporation and Board of Trustees 2012–2013". Northeastern University. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
- "Discovering Justice Board of Trustees". Discovering Justice. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Letter from the Chairperson". 2006–2007 Annual Report. Roxbury Preparatory Charter School. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Message from the Board President". Board of Trustees. The Chestnut Hill School. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "Board of Advisors 2012–2013". Project STEP. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- Miga, Andrew (February 7, 2013). "'Mo' Cowan sworn in as Massachusetts' new senator". Boston Globe. Retrieved February 7, 2013.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Profile at Ballotpedia
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at Roll Call
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
|United States Senate|
|United States Senator (Class 2) from Massachusetts
February 1, 2013 – present
Served alongside: Elizabeth Warren
|United States order of precedence|
as U.S. Senator from North Dakota
|Current order of Precedence of the United States||Succeeded by
as Governor of Delaware
|Current seniority in the U.S. Senate
|Least senior Senator|