The Political Journey and Legacy of ‘Self-Made Man’ William “Mo” Cowan

William Cowan, known as “Mo” Cowan, made history as the second African American Senator from Massachusetts, serving a brief but impactful tenure in the United States Senate from February to July 2013. Appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to fill the seat vacated by Senator John Kerry, Cowan brought his background in law and public service to the forefront during his time in office. Despite his short stint, Cowan’s dedication to public service and his commitment to his community left a lasting impression.

Born on April 4, 1969, in Yadkinville, North Carolina, Cowan’s journey to the Senate was marked by determination and hard work. After earning his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Duke University, Cowan moved to Massachusetts in pursuit of a law degree from Northeastern University. Coming from modest beginnings, Cowan’s resilience and ambition propelled him forward in both his personal and professional life.

Cowan’s entrance into politics began during his tenure as a partner at the law firm of Mintz Levin, where he assisted then-Governor Mitt Romney in diversifying the judiciary by identifying African American candidates for judgeships. His commitment to public service deepened in 2009 when he joined the administration of Governor Deval Patrick, eventually serving as Patrick’s chief of staff from 2011 to 2012. Sworn into the Senate by Vice President Joe Biden on January 7th, 2013, Cowan wasted no time in making his mark on Capitol Hill. Serving on key committees such as Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Cowan tackled pressing issues facing the nation with dedication and vigor.

Despite his initial decision not to seek reelection in the special election to complete John Kerry’s term, Cowan’s impact extended beyond his time in office. Returning to the private sector as the Chief Operating Officer of Mintz Levin Strategies, Cowan continued to contribute to his community and advocate for positive change. Residing in Stoughton, Massachusetts, with his wife Stacy Cowan and their two sons, Miles and Grant, Cowan’s legacy as a trailblazer and dedicated public servant endures. His journey from humble beginnings to the corridors of power serves as an inspiration to future generations.