William Michael "Billy" Bulger is a retired American Democratic politician, lawyer, and educator from South Boston, Massachusetts, whose eighteen-year tenure as President of the Massachusetts Senate is the longest in history, and who was also president of the University of Massachusetts.
Bulger was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to James Joseph Bulger, Senior and Jane Veronica "Jean" McCarthy, who were of Irish descent. He is the third of six children in the family. When Bulger was four years old, the family moved to South Boston's Old Harbor Village housing project in 1938. He grew up there and has maintained lifelong friendships with many of those who were his former neighbors, including best friend, Korean War Marine P.O.W. and Purple Heart recipient Fred L. Toomey.
Although the Bulger family was poor, William matriculated into Boston College High School. He enrolled at Boston College in 1952, but his undergraduate career was interrupted by his joining the United States Army. He served from September 1953 to November 1955, then returned to Boston College, completing his undergraduate degree in English Literature . He attended Boston College Law School, from which he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1961. He is also the recipient of over 20 honorary degrees from a variety of academic institutions.
Member, Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1961-1970;member, Massachusetts Senate, since 1971;president, Senate, since 1978;president, U. Massachusetts, since 1996. Pioneered legislation to curb child abuse. Sponsor and/or co-sponsor legislation dealing with solar energy incentives, creation of Boston Housing Court, Government Land Bank Commission, professionalizing Parole Board, establishment marine sanctuaries off the Massachusetts coast, creation Massachusetts Water Resources Authority prinicipally to assist in Boston Harbor clean-up effort.
Chairman of the Board State Legislation Leaders Foundation.
(This memoir, by turns passionate and hilarious, recounts ...)
Bulger became interested in politics in 1959 and was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1960. After serving five terms, Bulger was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 1970 representing the First Suffolk District. In 1973 he was named Second Assistant Floor Majority Leader.
Boston College Alumni Council
Knights of Columbus
He married Mary Foley on July 2, 1960. They have nine children and 33 grandchildren.