The reign of the Speaker of the Massachusetts House Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) will continue.

DeLeo has told the State House News Service that he intends to seek re-election to that position in January. Re-election would make him the longest to continuously serve as speaker in the history of the Commonwealth. Who's gonna take him out, right?

DeLeo, an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to trade jobs for votes several years ago, has been speaker since 2009. The three previous speakers were driven from office by corruption.

Salvatore DiMasi was convicted of federal charges of conspiracy, extortion, and theft of honest services by fraud and was sentenced to prison. Before him, Thomas Finneran pled guilty to a federal obstruction of justice charge and was placed on probation. And before Finneran, Charles Flaherty resigned after pleading guilty to a federal felony tax charge. He too escaped jail time.

DeLeo is now serving his 15th two-year term and rules the Massachusetts House with an iron fist. Lawmakers who cooperate with DeLeo get the best treatment while those who don't get rotten offices and zero consideration of their legislation.

The speaker barely escaped criminal prosecution in 2014 partly because the statute of limitations had expired on most of the serious allegations against him according to a State House News Service story at the time. Yet DeLeo is elected time after time to serve as Speaker of the House. Its further proof that corruption is just a way of life in Massachusetts government.

When next you spot any of the area delegations out glad-handing in the community, be sure to ask them if they plan to cast their vote next January for good government or for Bob DeLeo again.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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