Open main menu

George Keverian

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] In his role in the legislature, he was an advocate for greater openness in leadership, free speech and government reform.

George Keverian
George Keverian 1980s Massachusetts USA 9519694698.png
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
January 1985 – January 1991
Preceded byThomas William McGee
Succeeded byCharles F. Flaherty Jr.
Majority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
1978–1983
Preceded byJohn E. Murphy, Jr.
Succeeded byW. Paul White
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
20th Middlesex District
39th Middlesex District
In office
1967–1991
Preceded byWilliam H. Finnegan
Succeeded byEdward 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
BornJune 3, 1931
Everett, Massachusetts
DiedMarch 6, 2009(2009-03-06) (aged 77)
Everett, Massachusetts
Resting placeGlenwood Cemetery
Everett, Massachusetts
NationalityAmerican
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materHarvard College
Harvard Law School
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchArmy

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

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.[2]

Keverian attended Everett High School where he was a champion runner[3] the valedictorian of the class of 1949.[2] Keverian attended Tufts College for two years before transferring to Harvard College.[2][4] Keverian graduated from Harvard in 1953.[2]

Early political careerEdit

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.[5] He served on the Common Council until 1961, serving as President of the Common Council from 1960 to 1961.[1]

Massachusetts House of RepresentativesEdit

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 RepresentativesEdit

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,[2] 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.[4]

Later lifeEdit

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.[4]

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.[4]

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 burialEdit

Keverian died at age 77, on March 6, 2009.[4] He was buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Everett, Massachusetts.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Former House Speaker George Keverian dead". Associated Press. 2009-03-06. Archived from the original on 2011-06-13.
  2. ^ a b c d e Marquard, Bryan (March 7, 2009), "George Keverian, former House speaker, dies at 77", Boston Globe, Boston, MA, archived from the original on March 10, 2009
  3. ^ Marquard, Bryan (March 10, 2009), "George Keverian: Power, personality, wit", Boston Globe, Boston, MA, p. A15
  4. ^ a b c d e Staff. "Former Mass. Speaker Keverian Dies" Archived 2009-03-07 at the Wayback Machine., WCVB-TV, March 6, 2009. Accessed March 6, 2009.
  5. ^ Lazar, Kay (February 7, 2008), "Keverian aiming for a healthy comeback", Boston Globe, archived from the original on March 15, 2009

BibliographyEdit

  • 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).
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas W. McGee
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
1985–1991
Succeeded by
Charles F. Flaherty, Jr.
Preceded by
William Q. MacLean, Jr.
Majority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
1978–1984
Succeeded by
W. Paul White
Preceded by
William Q. MacLean, Jr.
Majority Whip of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
1975–1978
Succeeded by
John E. Murphy, Jr.