Cheryl Coakley-Rivera ends her political career - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Cheryl Coakley-Rivera ends her political career

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A major announcement was made at state Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera's 50th birthday party Friday night at the International Biergarten.

After 15 years on Beacon Hill, she is retiring.

There were laughs when Coakley-Rivera's sisters dressed her in a purple wig, tutu and a wand to ring in her 50th birthday.

And there were tears as the first Hispanic woman to hold a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives announced her retirement.

"At the end of the day, I truly know that I have been truly blessed with each of one of you in my life," Coakley-Rivera said. 

After 15 years, Coakley-Rivera will now become the first Hispanic to serve as an assistant clerk in the Hampden County Superior Court Clerk's office.

She says she will miss the work she has done in the Statehouse.

"The love, caring, compassion and commitment that all the residents of the 10th Hampden District have, I have learned a lot. But overall, that's what I am taking away," she said. 

Coakley-Rivera plans to endorse Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce President Carlos Gonzalez to fill her seat.

"If we can continue to build on what Cheryl Rivera has done in the last 15 years, this district will continue to be represented," Gonzalez said. 

Before the night's end, many friends, co-workers and family members stood up to wish Coakley-Rivera well as she begins the next chapter of her life.

"You've been a dear, dear friend, but always someone who gets the job done for all. You're the real deal as they say. Happy birthday," said Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe. 

She's returning to court where she first worked when she was 18 years old.

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