Sen. Spilka honored with MBA Legislator of the Year Award

Issue May/June 2017

The Massachusetts Bar Association honored Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen E. Spilka (D-Second Middlesex and Norfolk) with its Legislator of the Year Award at the May 4 Annual Dinner.

The MBA's Legislator of the Year Award is presented annually to a state or federal legislator who has distinguished him/herself in public service through outstanding contributions to the legal profession, courts and administration of justice.

"Chairwoman Spilka is a well-respected leader in the Legislature and a committed advocate for juvenile justice issues," said MBA Chief Legal Counsel and COO Martin W. Healy. "We are proud to recognize her for her continued public service and work in shaping major policy initiatives in the commonwealth, many of which have protected the most vulnerable among us."

Spilka, who serves as the chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means - the committee that oversees the budget and finances of the commonwealth - also chairs the Biotech Legislative Caucus and the Tech Hub Caucus. Spilka's legislative accomplishments include efforts in a broad range of areas, including economic development, jobs creation, education, juvenile justice, and services for the elderly and disabled communities.

Spilka was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the fall of 2001, where she served three years before her election to the state Senate in January 2005. In the Senate she has served as the chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities; the chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies; and the majority whip.

Prior to becoming a legislator, Spilka was in private practice as an arbitrator and mediator, specializing in labor and employment law and community and court mediation. In addition, she has been a facilitator and fact finder in disputes in the public and private sectors, as well as a social worker and trainer of adult mediation and school-based peer mediation programs, collaborative-based collective bargaining and conflict resolution strategies.

Spilka is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law School and holds a bachelor's degree from Cornell University.

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