Stanley C. Rosenberg (born October 12, 1949) is an American politician who served as President of the Massachusetts Senate from January 2015 until December 2017. Rosenberg was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1986 and served as the representative for Amherst and Pelham until 1991 when he won a special election for the State Senate seat being vacated by Congressman John Olver. A Democrat, Rosenberg resigned from the Senate on May 4, 2018, amidst a sexual harassment scandal involving his husband, Bryon Hefner.
Rosenberg first lived in Malden and Revere becoming a foster child as a toddler and raised in foster care. He is a 1967 graduate of Revere High School, where he was in the band and participated in many clubs and groups. He attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst and operated a hot dog cart as a self supporting student and played the tuba in the marching band. He went on to graduate in 1977 with a degree in Arts Administration and Community Development.
While attending UMass Amherst, he founded and became the first director of the Arts Extension Service and then transitioned to becoming director of the Community Development and Human Service Programs in the Division of Continuing Education. Rosenberg was a member of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band where he played the tuba, and was a Brother of Kappa Kappa Psi. Subsequently, Rosenberg worked as an aide to then-state Senator John Oliver from 1980 to 1983. He also served as an Executive Director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party from 1983 to 1985, and as the district director for Congressman Chester G. Atkins from 1985 to 1986.
While in the Senate, Rosenberg served as Chair of the Election Laws Committee (1991–1993), Chair of the Banking Committee (1993–1996), Chair of Senate Ways and Means Committee (1996–1999), and Assistant Majority Leader (1999–2002). He was the Senate’s first President Pro Tempore from 2003–2013, and was appointed Senate Majority Leader by Senate President Therese Murray on January 31, 2013, becoming the highest ranking LGBT elected official in the Commonwealth.
During the 187th General Court, he served as the Senate Chair of the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting following the 2000 and 2010 US Census. Rosenberg was also a key architect in the battle for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Rosenberg is also a founder and co-chair of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Foster Kid Caucus, the first of its kind in the nation. The caucus seeks to improve the conditions and address issues related to foster and adopted children.
Rosenberg has also been heavily involved in Pskov, Russia where he, and other members of the Legislature and professional community have been traveling for over 15 years in an effort to foster goodwill and encourage economic, social, and political progress. He is also an active member of both the Council of State Governments and Americans for the Arts.
In Franklin County: Bernardston, Colrain, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Leverett, Leyden, Montague, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Shelburne, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell and Whately.
Current committee membership
Rosenberg is not a member of any committees in the current General Court.
Bryon Hefner scandal
In November 2017, it was reported that four men accused Rosenberg’s estranged husband, Bryon Hefner, of sexual harassment, allegedly willing to trade his influence with Rosenberg in return for sexual favors. In December 2017, Rosenberg voluntarily stepped down as Senate President while an ethics probe into his possible role in the scandal began. Also in December 2017, The Boston Globe reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had opened an investigation of the matter.
On March 29, 2018, a state grand jury indicted Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner, on charges of sexual assault, criminal lewdness, and distributing nude photographs without consent. Hefner faces the possibility of two years in a county jail to up to five years in state prison.
On April 24, 2018, Hefner appeared in Suffolk Superior Court and pled not guilty to five counts of sexual assault, four counts of distributing nude images without consent, and one count of criminal lewdness. He was ordered not to enter the Massachusetts State House or to contact witnesses or victims.
On May 3, 2018, Rosenberg announced that he was resigning from the Senate, effective at 5 p.m. EDT on May 4. According to Boston.com, this announcement followed the release of an ethics report that claimed that Rosenberg “violated policy by giving Hefner access to his Senate email account despite a promise to his colleagues that he would build a firewall between his personal and professional life,” and recommended that Rosenberg be barred from leadership positions through 2020.
In June 2018, a civil lawsuit was filed in the state of Massachusetts saying that Hefner sexually assaulted the plaintiff and alleged that Rosenberg “knew or was aware” that Hefner posed a risk to others and he continually allowed Hefner access to lobbyists, State House staff members, and others. The lawsuit does not ask for specific damages on any of the six counts.
In September 2019, Hefner pleaded guilty to three counts, including indecent assault and battery, assault and battery and dissemination of a nude image. He was sentenced to three years on probation and required to register as a sex offender.
Rosenberg currently resides in Amherst. He was one of five openly LGBT members of the Massachusetts General Court, alongside Representatives Sarah Peake (D–Provincetown), Kate Hogan (D–Stow), Denise Andrews (D–Orange) and Liz Malia (D–Jamaica Plain).
In January 2018, it was announced that Rosenberg and Hefner had separated while Hefner undergoes treatment for substance abuse issues.
- Rizzuto, Robert. “Sen. Stan Rosenberg of Amherst becomes new president of Massachusetts Senate”. Retrieved January 7, 2015.
- “Our Man at the State House”. University of Massachusetts Amherst. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
- Bernstein, David S. (2015-02-24). “11 Things You Didn’t Know About New Senate President Stan Rosenberg”. Boston. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
- “Stanley C. Rosenberg”. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
- Four men allege sexual misconduct by Senate president’s husband
- Christian M. Wade. “Rosenberg steps down as ethics probe begins”. Salem News. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
- “Rosenberg’s husband draws FBI scrutiny”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
- Abraham, Yvonne (2018-03-29). “Senator’s husband indicted on sexual assault, criminal lewdness charges”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
- Miller, Joshua (2018-04-24). “Bryon Hefner, Rosenberg’s husband, pleads not guilty to multiple charges”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
- Stout, Matt (2018-06-20). “Alleged sexual assault victim files suit against Hefner and Rosenberg”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
- Kim, Young-Jin; Connolly, Caroline (September 10, 2019). “Bryon Hefner Pleads Guilty to Three Charges in Sexual Misconduct Scandal”. WBTS-TV. Boston, MA.
- “Senator’s candid remarks described as ‘courageous‘“. The Republican. 2009-07-07. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
- “Amid Controversy, Stan Rosenberg and Bryon Hefner Are Separating”. Boston Magazine. 2018-01-11. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
- David Scharfenberg (December 7, 2014), “Testing times for a Senate leader: An advocate for openness in politics, Rosenberg long kept own life private”, Boston Globe
- Joshua Miller (January 8, 2015), “Rosenberg calls for fight against income inequality”, Boston Globe
- “New Senate President Stanley Rosenberg Outlines Agenda”, Radio Boston, WBUR, January 13, 2015
- Rosenberg Legislative website
- Rosenberg Constituent Services website
- Rosenberg Campaign website
- Stan Rosenberg’s Biography – Project Vote Smart
| Chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee of the Massachusetts Senate
| Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate
| Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate
|New office|| President pro tempore of the Massachusetts Senate
| President of the Massachusetts Senate