Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP
Tom Birmingham, the immediate past President of the Massachusetts State Senate and a Rhodes Scholar, applies his 12 years experience as a legislative leader to assist the firm's clients. He handles strategy for clients facing public, political, and regulatory issues. A longtime labor lawyer, Mr. Birmingham focuses on legal and public strategy issues involving affordable housing and educational and healthcare organizations.
Mr. Birmingham was elected state senator in 1991. In his first term, he was the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Education. In that capacity he was the architect of the Education Reform Act, ambitious legislation designed to improve the equitability and caliber of public education in the Commonwealth for all school children.
In his second term, Mr. Birmingham was appointed to chair the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. For three years there, he authored balanced budgets that were fiscally responsible and included considerable investments in schools, health care and public safety, as well as targeted tax cuts.
Midway through his third term, he was elected President of the Senate.
Mr. Birmingham is co-author of the Education Reform Act of 1993. He successfully fought every year since its passage for the law's full funding, which has meant a $2 billion dollar increase in state aid for our public schools. He also championed the expansion of more than $100 million for the Community Partnership early education program. He initiated and helped to provide more than $50 million of funding for after school, summer school and weekend academic programs.
In other areas, Mr. Birmingham drafted and secured passage of the Small Necessities Leave Act to allow parents to take 24 hours per year off from work to attend parent-teacher conferences, bring children to doctor's appointments and to take elderly family members to the doctor. He drafted and brought to enactment legislation to give Massachusetts the highest minimum wage in the nation: $6.75 an hour. He also fought to expand healthcare coverage, particularly for senior citizens and young people.
Recognition from the American Cancer Society, Bay Windows, the Children’s Trust Fund, the Massachusetts Coalition of Police, Project Bread, Meals on Wheels, Massachusetts Alliance for Arts and Education, Unified Veterans Association, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Historic Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Municipal Association, the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association and Mass Insight.