House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) became Speaker at the height of the global economic downturn in 2009. His focus on jobs and the economy led to the passage of a number of economic development measures that have contributed to job growth and success for the Commonwealth. Today, the state’s Stabilization, or Rainy Day, Fund stands at $3.46 billion, the highest amount in Massachusetts’ history.
A former selectman, Speaker DeLeo spearheaded municipal health reform in 2011 saving cities and towns an estimated $1.5 billion since implementation and preventing municipalities from cutting jobs of fire fighters, police officers and teachers.
In 2014, Speaker DeLeo crafted and helped pass the first major changes to Massachusetts’ gun laws since the 1990s. In addition to this comprehensive, nation-leading gun safety law, he has made gun safety a top priority through subsequent legislation and investments: to ban bump stocks, prevent individuals who pose a risk of causing bodily injury to themselves or others from owning or possessing a firearm, and focus on treating urban gun violence as a public health issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Massachusetts has one of the lowest rates of gun-related deaths in the nation. In 2018, The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence praised the Massachusetts Legislature for its leadership on gun safety with its support and investment in the Commonwealth’s “innovative and highly impactful Safe and Successful Youth Initiative.”
More recently, under Speaker DeLeo’s leadership, legislation passed during the 2019 – 2020 session includes the historic $1.5 billion investment in Massachusetts public schools known as the Student Opportunity Act and a first-in-the-nation Act to Modernize Tobacco Control banning flavored tobacco and regulating vaping products. Among the new laws is an Act Relative to Children’s Health and Wellness, part of the House’s comprehensive, session-long initiative that aims to break down silos of service to better address the complex health and wellness needs specific to the Commonwealth’s 1.4 million children.
Under his leadership, the House has also increased funding to support high-quality early education and care programs across the state. Over the past several years, the House has supported efforts to bolster the early education and care workforce through partnerships with Massachusetts community colleges, as the invaluable service early educators provide to working families is vital to maintaining a healthy economy. Over the past three fiscal years, the House budget provided a total of $55 million to increase rates for early educator salaries, the highest increase in Massachusetts history.
In 2018, Speaker DeLeo and the House completed a productive two-year legislative session by passing several landmark bills including those relating to criminal justice, gun safety, the opioid epidemic, women’s reproductive rights, education, economic development, and veterans benefits.
The comprehensive criminal just reform law passed last session seeks to create a more equitable system by supporting the state’s youngest and most vulnerable residents, reducing recidivism, and enhancing public safety.
Under his tenure, Massachusetts has led the nation in laws designed to combat the opioid epidemic with a trio of laws passed in 2014, 2016 and 2018. The laws are science-based, medically comprehensive substance addiction bills that increase funding and expand the healthcare system’s capacity to fight the crisis at unprecedented levels.
Massachusetts has led the nation in clean energy policy with legislation enacted in 2016 and 2018 featuring pioneering and first-in-the-nation commitments to offshore wind and energy storage. In 2019, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), named Massachusetts No. 1 in the U.S. for energy efficiency for the ninth year in a row. In 2019, the House passed a $1 billion, 10-year investment in addressing climate change known as GreenWorks.
In 2018, Speaker DeLeo worked with his colleagues in the House to ban conversion therapy and repeal outdated laws that restricted women’s reproductive rights. In 2014, under his leadership, the Legislature also passed legislation, sponsored by the Speaker, updating domestic violence laws, which created new criminal offenses and elevated penalties, boosted prevention efforts, and empowered victims.
An award-winning legislator, Speaker DeLeo seeks to empower individuals, families and communities by focusing on legislation that keeps communities safer, creates jobs, and increases educational opportunities for people of all backgrounds. Under his leadership, the House passed nation-leading legislation relating to early education and care, health care, the opioid crisis, economic development, gun safety, veteran’s benefits, criminal justice reform, clean energy, and civil rights.
Speaker DeLeo is a graduate of Boston Latin School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern University and a Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School. He received an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from Suffolk University in 2009 and an honorary degree from Salem State University in 2012. On Jan. 2, 2019, the House re-elected him as Speaker, his sixth term as Speaker. A grandfather of two, Speaker DeLeo resides in Winthrop.
Honors and Awards
FamilyAid Boston Thomas M. Menino Award for Outstanding Community Service (2019)
For Kids Only Afterschool Giving Heart Award (2019)
The MENTOR Network’s Ripple of Hope Award (2019)
Stop Handgun Violence Leadership Award (2019)
Triangle, Inc. Public Servant of the Year Award (2019)
Rental Housing Association Public Service Leadership Award (2018)
Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership Leadership Award (2018)
Roca 30 Peace Award (2018)
Citizens for Juvenile Justice Youth Justice Champion Award (2018)
Caring Force Legislative Champion Award (2017)
Bunker Hill Community College President’s Distinguished Service Award (2017)
Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care Legislative Achievement Award (2017)
Boston Business Journal Power 50 Game Changers Honoree (2016)
Two-time honoree of the Equal Justice Coalition (2015 and 2009)
Stop Handgun Violence Gun Violence Prevention Hero (2015)
MassEquality Political Icon Award (2014)
MassINC Gateway Cities Champion Award (2014)
Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance Legislator of the Year Award (2014)
New England Board of Higher Education Leadership Award (2014)
Massachusetts Bar Association Legislator of the Year Award (2012 and 1998)
Vision Impairment and Blindness Distinguished Leadership FOCUS Award (2012)
Massachusetts Municipal Association Legislator of the Year (2011, 2006 and 1996)
Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus Good Guys Award (2010)
Health and Home Care Association of Massachusetts Legislator of the Year Award (1996)
Family: Two children and two grandchildren
Interests: Sports and reading
Education: Boston Latin School; Northeastern University, B.A; Suffolk University Law School, J.D.
Public Service: Town Meeting Member (1977-2014); Board of Selectmen (1978-1988, chairman 1981-1982, 1984-1985 and 1987-1988); Winthrop Democratic Town Committee (1980-present, vice chairman 1986-present); Massachusetts House of Representatives (1991-present) – House Ways and Means Committee Chair (2005 to 2009) and Speaker of the House (2009 to present).