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Political experts respond to MA losing Senate seniority

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

In the past several years, Massachusetts has seen a high turnover in the Senate with the death of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and now as Sen. John Kerry assumes his new role.

CBS 3 Springfield spoke with political experts about what this means for the state's representation in Congress.

"In terms of seniority, I think it's overrated," said professor of political science at Western New England University, Peter Fairman.

He's followed the careers of both the late Kennedy and Kerry.

"In terms of seniority I'd rather have Ted Kennedy on my team. He was one of the best senators of all time at getting things done and was there for decades," he said.

But now that Massachusetts no longer has a senior senator fighting for funding on Capitol Hill, some constituents may wonder what that means for the state's future.

Fairman says not to worry.

"Even junior members have a lot of power," he said.

But Kerry's resume is a lot to contend with. The outgoing senator was on the Foreign Relations Committee for 28 years, serving as committee chair for the last four.

Fairman says that is his top concern for our junior senators.

"Getting on the committees where the money is doled out, that's a pretty good thing, that is usually not where junior senators end up," he said.

"When you've got a senior United States senator who's been there for a month, I don't think that's happened too often but again I think Sen. Warren's going to do a tremendous job," said State Rep. Angelo Puppolo.

For Puppolo, it's a relief knowing that Massachusetts still has a senior member of Congress in the House of Representatives.

"Certainly Congressman Neal does a fantastic job and his stature and rank in the House are second to none," he said.

And Massachusetts is once again going through a political transition with another special election just months away.

But Fairman says being a good senator is more about ability rather than clout.

"Some of it we have to say depends on the political skill of the people that are there," he said.

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