Last week, McGee cast a futile vote with 14 other Democrats and 24 Republicans to limit to eight years the tenure of House Speaker Thomas Finneran. This week, Finneran ousted him from the Taxation Committee, stripped him of his vice chairmanship of the Public Service Committee, and reassigned him to two marginal House panels.
He was saddened, but not surprised, by the swift sanction. His father, after all, removed George Keverian as majority leader when his deputy challenged him for the speakership. "My father would not have voted the way I did; he does not believe in limiting the term of the speaker. I see it as a way to keep the process open," McGee says, echoing the view of Keverian supporters, who 16 years ago toppled his father, the longest serving House speaker in Massachusetts history.
The junior McGee is convinced that only a term limit can prevent the concentration of power that is marginalizing current House members as it once did those who served under his father. When Keverian proved an indecisive leader, his successor, Charlie Flaherty, shifted power back into the speaker's office. Finneran now has consolidated it there, where the senior McGee always believed it belonged.