W. Massachusetts to have a voice in cabinet
Date: 12/8/2010Dec. 8, 2010
By G. Michael Dobbs
BOSTON -- Former long-time Westfield Mayor Richard Sullivan told Reminder Publications his appointment by Gov. Deval Patrick to serve as Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs is humbling.
"The governor gave me that vote of confidence," said Sullivan , who has been the commissioner of the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation the last three years.
The announcement last week was part of Patrick's introduction of his second-term cabinet.
Sullivan served as Westfield's mayor from 1994 to 2007, when he was asked by Patrick to lead the state's parks.
Sullivan noted that in his former job, he saw "the governor has been a real leader in preservation, even in these tough times."
Sullivan replaces Ian Bowles who has become a controversial figure in Western Massachusetts over his support for contested biomass facilities. Bowles served for four years in the position and is leaving "to pursue other opportunities in the private sector," according to a press release.
"Ian has been a star in this administration over the last four years," Patrick said. "He has been a terrific partner in our efforts to create a clean energy hub in Massachusetts, saving money for consumers, increasing our energy independence, and creating jobs in a vital industry of the future. I will miss his passion, his energy and his leadership."
Sullivan said that under the Patrick Administration, the state has become a nationally recognized leader in the development of clean energy. The continued goal is to use green energy to decrease the Commonwealth's dependence on fossil fuels and increase jobs development, he noted.
Sullivan is a past president of the Massachusetts Mayors Association, past chairman of the Turnpike Advisory Board and a past member of the Governor's Local Advisory Committee. He also served as founding president of the Winding River Land Conservancy, which has protected 1,700 acres in western Hampden County. He is a graduate of Bates College and Western New England Law School.
Sullivan learned of the appointment last Tuesday. It wasn't exactly a surprise, he said, as there had been some discussions about the announcement the previous week.
"This Cabinet is unrivaled in the depth of their experience, their grasp of the issues, and their passion for public service," Patrick said. "I am proud that Massachusetts is first in the Nation in health care coverage for our residents and student achievement, and is creating jobs faster than nearly every other state. This is the team to help finish what we started."
As the only member of the cabinet from Western Massachusetts, Sullivan said he remains committed to the region.
"I still live in Western Massachusetts. My roots are still in Western Massachusetts. My heart is in Western Massachusetts," he said.
He recalled advice his father once gave him: "Don't ever forget where you came from."