Meehan to take job as university chancellor

Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) will resign from his House seat and become chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

“I’m honored to have been selected by President Jack Wilson to be the next Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell,” Meehan said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “If my nomination is approved by the Trustees, I plan to accept the position and to leave Congress in July.”

Meehan’s resignation represents the first open seat in Massachusetts’s congressional delegation since Joe Moakley (D) died in 2001. After Meehan resigns, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) will set the date for a special election to replace him. According to Massachusetts law, the special election must take place within 120 days of Meehan’s resignation.

Meehan noted that deciding to leave Congress has been difficult because “being a member of Congress has been the best job I have ever had.”

“But after serious personal reflection and many discussions with my wife Ellen and my close friends, the opportunity to serve as Chancellor of my alma mater is the right path for me,” he said.

The lawmaker had long been believed to be interested in running for the Senate and had amassed a considerable war chest for such a campaign if a seat became open. However, when Sen. John Kerry (D) announced earlier this year that he would seek another term, that door closed for Meehan. Observers speculate it was at that time that he began to weigh other options more seriously.

The lawmaker earned his bachelor’s degree from the Lowell campus and later went on to garner a master’s and a law degree from Suffolk University in Boston.