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BOSTON (AP) -- Gov. Deval Patrick has named William Mo Cowan, a former top aide, to serve as interim U.S. senator for Massachusetts until a special election is held to fill the seat left vacant by John Kerry's confirmation as secretary of state.

Patrick formally announced his selection at a Statehouse news conference on Wednesday, calling Cowan a trusted adviser and friend who has earned the respect of people throughout government.

The 43-year-old Cowan said he was humbled by the appointment. He stepped down as the governor's chief-of-staff last month after previously serving as chief legal counsel.

Cowan says he has no plans to run for any public office in the future and would return to the private sector after his interim appointment.

The North Carolina native will be the state's second African-American U.S. Senator. Edward Brooke served from 1967-1979.

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