Kevin Harrington, raised during the Great Depression, was a college government and history teacher, a basketball coach, a mayor, a judge, the president of the Massachusetts Senate and the first president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. He died in November at age 79.
At 6 feet 9 inches tall, he was literally a towering political figure, a man who devoted his life to public service and through his presidency of NCSL helped raise the stature, effectiveness and political clout of the 50 states.
His career as an educator carried over to the legislature where he is credited with strengthening the state's education system, including mandatory kindergarten, instituting minimum pay for teachers and restructuring a number of state colleges, through his co-chairmanship of the Wills-Harrington Commission. Elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1958, he was president from 1971 to 1978, at the time the third...