The US Senate has confirmed state Representative Claire D. Cronin as the country’s next ambassador to Ireland.
The voice vote occurred as senators took up a slate of President Biden’s nominations for ambassadors, judges, and other positions.
Cronin, of Easton, the second-ranking Democrat in the Massachusetts House, ascended to the role as House majority leader in February under Speaker Ronald Mariano. She was the first woman to be named the chamber’s number two No. 2 Democrat.
Mariano issued a statement congratulating Cronin and thanking her for years of service.
“The Commonwealth has greatly benefitted from Claire’s integrity, intellect, and leadership. The House of Representatives has been especially fortunate to have Claire among its ranks and as its first woman Majority Leader,” he said. “She leads through example — with the goal of elevating voices, advocating for a more just society, and delivering impactful solutions through collaboration. Claire is one of those unique people who lifts you up and challenges you to be a better person and public servant.”
Mariano added that Cronin will “be greatly missed in the House.”
“But I trust she will make us proud as Ambassador,” he said.
Biden nominated Cronin to the position in June. She was a leading surrogate and a fund-raising bundler for his presidential bid in Massachusetts and appeared on national television during the 2020 Democratic National Convention when she cast the state’s official nominating votes for him.
Cronin previously chaired the Legislature’s powerful judiciary committee, where she helped usher a sweeping criminal justice overhaul reform bill into law in 2018, and last year she was among the House’s chief negotiators on a high-profile police accountability bill.
Elected to the House in 2012, Cronin is also a lawyer and served as an arbitrator mediator in a the landmark Catholic clergy sexual-abuse settlement.
Her new position will transport Cronin to an estate in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, surrounded by 62 acres of lawn and gardens. The ambassador’s residence and was once described by The New York Times as “one of Dublin’s most spectacular houses.”
Cronin joins a long list of former Massachusetts elected officials who served as diplomats.
Former governor Paul Cellucci left the State House to serve as president George W. Bush’s ambassador to Canada, just a few years after his predecessor, former governor Bill Weld, also resigned after he was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be the ambassador to Mexico. (Weld ultimately withdrew after he was blocked from having a hearing by conservative Republicans in the US Senate.)
Former US senator Scott Brown served as the ambassador to New Zealand in the Trump administration; former Boston mayor Ray Flynn was ambassador to the Holy See under Clinton; and former congressman and one-time gubernatorial candidate Brian Donnelly was named ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, also under Clinton.