Monday night the Everett City Council observed a moment of silence for former Senate President Tom Birmingham, who died Jan. 20, 2023, at the age of 73.
Councilor-at-Large Stephanie Smith requested the memorial tribute to Mr. Birmingham, who served as Everett’s state senator after first being elected to the seat in 1990. Mr. Birmingham became president of the Senate in 1996 and served in that esteemed position of leadership until 2003.
“When I was a child growing up in Everett, Senator Birmingham was a fixture at all events,” recalled Councilor Smith. “Everett was lucky to have one of the top leaders in the Senate as our senator, and the work that he did on education reform was instrumental to our education system in Massachusetts today.”
Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Joseph McGonagle also praised the former Senate leader for his outstanding record of public service.
“Serving as a member of the Everett City Council, I know how instrumental Sen. Birmingham was in the construction of the new high school in Everett and how responsive he was to the needs of our community,” said DiDomenico, who currently serves in the seat held by Birmingham. “When he ran for governor in 2002, I supported his candidacy.”
Interestingly, DiDomenico’s mother, Marie (Apruzzese) DiDomenico, and Tom Birmingham were one year apart at the Shurtleff School in Chelsea. “Our families crossed paths many times growing up in Chelsea,” said DiDomenico.
DiDomenico noted Mr. Birmingham’s sterling academic credentials. Mr. Birmingham graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and was a Rhodes Scholar.
“He was a brilliant senator and someone I looked up to a well,” said DiDomenico. When I first ran for senator in 2010, I spoke with him during that time. After I won, he came to some of my events and was a supporter of mine, and someone I relied on. He always said, ‘Be yourself and people will respond to that.’ It was an honor for me to follow in his footsteps and to serve in that seat. There were high standards and big shoes to fill.”
McGonagle said Mr. Birmingham was a friend that he admired and respected.
“Tom was a friend, and when I was an alderman and city councilor, I got to know his mother, Agnes, who would always show up at social events at the Everett Senior Center,” said McGonagle. “Tom was just a good, good guy. I had a great admiration for him.”
McGonagle supported Mr. Birmingham in his run for the Democratic nomination for governor. “We were at the State Democratic Convention and Mike Marchese and I had left. We were on the highway going home, and we got a call that the vote was tied. We turned around and came back to the convention for Tommy. He would have been a great governor,” said McGonagle.