AMHERST, Mass. – State Sen. Stephen M. Brewer will join the faculty of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst after he retires in January from a 26-year career as a state lawmaker. Brewer, a UMass Amherst alumnus, will serve as a professor of practice at CPPA.
“It is our younger generation that will lead the way to change in society—for social justice, environmental sensitivity and intergenerational responsibility,” Brewer said. “There is no better place to undertake this effort than at the Commonwealth’s flagship campus of higher education. I am honored by this appointment and look forward to getting to work.”
Brewer, a Democrat from Barre, has chaired the Senate Ways and Means Committee since 2011, overseeing all of the Commonwealth’s fiscal matters. His knowledge and first-hand experience in this field positions him well for one of the courses he will teach during his first semester at UMass Amherst—a two-credit graduate-level class on state budgeting. Brewer will also offer an undergraduate course on advocacy in state government.
UMass Amherst officials are welcoming Brewer back to the campus. “We are incredibly fortunate to have Sen. Brewer joining us,” said M.V. Lee Badgett, CPPA director. “Students don’t often get this kind of access to a veteran legislator. That he has such deep knowledge of how the state manages its finances and is also well-versed in government ethics makes this an even more valuable learning opportunity for our students, who are poised to be the next generation of our public leaders.”
John Hird, dean of the College of Social and Behavior Sciences, said, “CPPA plays a crucial role in the university connecting faculty research with policymakers and the public, and Sen. Brewer’s appointment will bolster those connections and provide our students with the real-world experience of a seasoned leader.”
In addition to sitting on the Joint Committee on Rules, Brewer serves on the Senate Committee on Ethics and Rules and on the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. He is deeply committed to improving services for veterans and led the first-ever Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. In that role, Brewer was instrumental in the creation and passage of the Massachusetts Welcome Home Bill, one of the nation’s most comprehensive laws aimed at helping returning veterans transition back to civilian life.
Brewer grew up on a farm in Barre, in central Massachusetts, and throughout his time in the State House has worked to protect agricultural land and open space. In 1971 he earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UMass Amherst and he received a master’s in history from Assumption College in 1974.
His political career began in 1977 when he was elected to the Barre Board of Selectmen. He served until 1984. From 1980 to 1988 he worked as an aide to state Sen. Robert Wetmore. Brewer was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1988. Brewer has served in the Senate since 1997 from the Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex District, the second-largest Senate district in the state made up of 28 communities.
The CPPA is the hub of interdisciplinary public policy research, teaching and engagement at UMass Amherst. CPPA teaches and conducts rigorous research to realize social change and solve problems for the common good. CPPA faculty and alumni are effective policy leaders from the local to the global levels in addressing topics such as family and care policy, environmental issues, emerging technologies, social inequalities and governance.