Metro, Politics, Column

Preparing To Take Office, Baker Makes Key Appointments

Governor-elect Charlie Baker’s transition team officially announced two of the top positions he has chosen for his Cabinet on Monday. Steven Kadish, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Northeastern University, will serve as Baker’s chief-of-staff. State Representative Matthew Beaton has been chosen as the energy and environmental affairs secretary. In selecting his administration, Baker plans to use the extensive networks he has built during his decades of public service in the Commonwealth.

Kadish was the director of global health equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and served as executive vice president and chief financial officer at Dartmouth College. At Northeastern, Kadish served as a senior vice president and oversaw human resources, facilities, campus planning, and the information services departments. He was a senior vice president for Administration and Project Management for Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare as well.

“I am honored to serve Governor-elect Baker as well as the people of the Massachusetts and I look forward to carrying out the Governor-elect’s ambitious vision for a prosperous, thriving Commonwealth,” Kadish said, according to The Boston Globe.

Although Kadish is enthusiastic about the chief-of-staff position, he expects the administration will have to immediately make an impact in the city.

“Matching the next governor’s enthusiasm, experience, and drive will not be easy, but as the transition process moves forward, I know Baker’s team will be ready to hit the ground running in January,” Kadish said in a statement released by the transition team, according to The Globe.

Earlier on Monday, Baker announced Matthew Beaton as his selection for energy and environmental affairs secretary. Beaton is a Republican who has operated his own small green building business—Beaton Kane Construction— which specializes in energy-efficient and sustainable construction.

“As an avid sportsman, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to promote the preservation and accessibility of our precious natural resources for the benefit of every citizen of this great Commonwealth,” Beaton said, according to The Globe.

The New England Council on Green Energy applauded Baker on his selection, noting that the future of Massachusetts’ clean energy sector is dependent upon the policies of the upcoming administration. Beaton earned a degree in biotechnology from WPI and a master’s in energy and environmental analysis from Boston University, according to the Baker transition office. Despite previous milestones in renewable energy, Baker maintains that there are ways to improve the quality of the Commonwealth’s environment and promote local agriculture throughout Massachusetts and that there are still many new opportunities to effectively handle climate change and encourage more sustainable energy.

Baker had made his first Cabinet pick on Nov. 11, selecting manager of Chelsea City Jay Ash to lead the state’s housing and economic development agency. Ash, a Democrat, will be serving on the same cabinet as Republican Beaton as well as for Baker. Baker’s selection of Ash emphasizes his efforts to concentrate on bipartisanship.

Ash has also served as president of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and was a founder of the Metro Mayors Coalition. He lobbied on Beacon Hill for gambling expansion, which led to the state’s law that currently sanctions casinos.

Ash has a strong reputation for his successful efforts in Chelsea, Mass. to bring economic expansion and grow residential development. “I’m getting calls from developers every day because of the success of the residential development,” Ash said in a 2013 Globe story. “We’re a community a lot of people will have to rediscover again before they believe it’s changing, but it’s developments like these that are making that happen.”

Baker had previously selected Richard L. Taylor to become a key member of his transition team, but he resigned on Friday after The Boston Globe raised questions about his extensive unpaid taxes and business judgments of more than $1 million. Taylor has many financial issues connected to his highly unsuccessful Popeye’s Chicken franchise and is continuing to pay off his taxes and debts. Taylor had opted not to inform Baker and the transition team of his financial troubles until he was questioned by The Globe.

Featured Image – AP Photo / Mark M. Murray

November 19, 2014