Governor-elect Deval Patrick named two fellow Harvard graduates with strong ties to the state’s business and political circles yesterday to oversee his administration’s policies on housing, the economy, energy, and the environment.
Patrick appointed Ian Bowles – president and chief executive of the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, a centrist think tank in Boston – as secretary of energy and the environment.
He appointed Daniel O’Connell – a lawyer, former chief of staff to US Representative Edward J. Markey, and developer of Fan Pier in Boston – to be secretary of housing and economic development.
Born in Philadelphia, Bowles, 41, grew up in Woods Hole, graduated from Harvard and Oxford, and went to work in Washington for Claudine Schneider, a Republican congresswoman from Rhode Island.
In 1996 he ran unsuccessfully for Congress, losing to US Representative William D. Delahunt, Democrat of Quincy. From 1999 to 2001, he worked in the Clinton administration as associate director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and as environmental aide to the National Security Council. In 2001, he co-wrote a book on conservation, “Footprints in the Jungle.”
In an interview yesterday, Bowles said he wants to use his new position to promote clean energy. He spoke broadly of uniting venture capitalists, scientists, and environmentalists to help form policies. But he was reluctant to delve into details.
“There’s an enormous opportunity in front of us – with renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy technology – to make Massachusetts a global leader, and I think the specific policies and incentives we’ll be working on in the weeks and months to come,” said Bowles, who now lives in Charlestown.
Bowles said he, like Patrick, supports Cape Wind, the controversial project to build wind turbines in Nantucket Sound. He called the project “an important symbol of our commitment to renewable energy.”
The appointment of Bowles drew praise from business leaders and environmentalists.
Robert A. Rio, vice president of governmental affairs at Associated Industries of Massachusetts, called Bowles “a terrific choice.”
“His work at MassInc has been extremely well received over the years,” Rio said in a statement. “We believe he will manage the secretariat and agencies in a thoughtful and balanced fashion.”
Philip Warburg, president of the Conservation Law Foundation, also praised Bowles.
“Bowles has a strong record on climate change,” Warburg said. “He clearly understands the central role of energy-efficient and renewable resources, like wind, in moving the climate change agenda forward.”
O’Connell, 57, a Boston resident, has worked since last year as executive vice president and a partner of Meredith & Grew’s Development and Advisory Services Group.
Before that, he worked for Spaulding & Slye Colliers, where, in addition to Fan Pier, he helped build North Point in Cambridge and the Convention Center District Authority in Puerto Rico. He also served as executive director of the Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency and as director of planning and development for the Massachusetts Port Authority.
In an interview, O’Connell said he was concerned that the lack of affordable housing has been pushing residents out of the state, particularly young college graduates. He also said he was concerned by what he described as a rash of foreclosures in low-income neighborhoods. He said he was “excited and energized” by his appointment.
“The exciting thing about the opportunity is the governor and lieutenant governor’s decision to unify economic development and housing,” O’Connell said. “There’s just such an interconnection.”
By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff
Andrea Estes of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Michael Levenson can be reached at email@example.com.
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