- Associated Press - Thursday, January 25, 2018

BOSTON (AP) - The only black state senator in Massachusetts is stepping down to take a job with one of the region’s top construction firms.

Democratic Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry said Thursday that she will be joining Suffolk Construction as a vice president in charge of diversity, inclusion and community relations.

Forry, whose parents emigrated from Haiti, had publicly expressed interest in running for Senate president if the post became available.

That job is currently being held by Democratic Sen. Harriette Chandler during an ongoing investigation into whether former Democratic Senate President Stan Rosenberg or his staff violated Senate rules in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct against Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner.

Forry, who lives in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, was elected to the Senate in 2013.

In statement Thursday, Forry pointed to her family, including her husband, four children, aging parents and 103-year-old grandmother, as the main reason for her decision.

“They have all sacrificed so much to make me who I am. It is now my turn to truly put them first,” she said.

Forry won praise from her colleagues.

Chandler said Forry “has been a critical voice in the Massachusetts Senate for those who too often go unheard.”

Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who served with Forry when she was a member of the House, called her “a thoughtful, savvy and passionate public servant.”

After winning the special Senate election in 2013, Forry found herself at the center of a debate over who should host the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in the city’s South Boston neighborhood.

The breakfast had traditionally been hosted by the senator in the First Suffolk Senate district, which for generations had been held by an Irish-American man from South Boston.

Some balked at having Forry - a Dorchester resident and a Haitian-American - host the event known for its political zingers and awkwardly-sung Irish ballads though she represents the First Suffolk Senate district which also includes other neighborhoods like Dorchester.

Forry ultimately prevailed and has hosted the event in the years since she was elected.

Her resignation takes effect Friday.

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