Deval Patrick names former Westfield Mayor Richard Sullivan to replace Ian Bowles as secretary for energy and the environment
BOSTON – Gov. Deval L. Patrick named former Westfield Mayor Richard K. Sullivan Jr. as his new secretary for energy and the environment on Wednesday.
Sullivan, who has been serving since 2007 as state commissioner for conservation and recreation, is being elevated to the gubernatorial cabinet position in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement by secretary Ian Bowles that he would be stepping down.
“I am honored to have the confidence of the governor to be able to step in and accept the duties as secretary of energy and the environment,” said Sullivan, 51. “I look forward to the challenges ahead. The governor has been a real leader in the area of clean-energy initiatives, and I am proud to be a member of his team moving forward.”
Patrick also announced his other Cabinet appointments for his second term some of whom will continue service from the first administration. They include: Gregory Bialecki, secretary of housing and economic development; Judy Ann Bigby, secretary of health and human services; Paul Reville, secretary of education; Joanne Goldstein, secretary of labor and workforce development; Mary E. Heffernan; Jay Gonzalez, secretary of administration and finance; and Jeffrey Mullan, secretary of transportation.
“This Cabinet is unrivaled in the depth of their experience, their grasp of the issues and their passion for public service,” said Patrick. “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.”
Addressing the Sullivan appointment, the governor’s announcement said the new secretary “takes charge of the most significant clean and alternative energy agenda of any state in America.” Sullivan’s new job will include oversight of implementation of the Patrick’s solar, wind, biofuels and energy efficiency initiatives.
Patrick cited Sullivan for having managed “a highly successful turnaround of the Department of Conservation and Recreation” as a commissioner.
Sullivan was in the midst of an unprecedented seventh-term as Westfield mayor when Patrick lured him away from his hometown to serve in the state position. As commissioner, he oversaw the state’s 450,000 acres of parks, beaches and forests.
Sullivan served under Bowles during his four-year tenure. Bowles, one of only two Cabinet leaders to serve for the governor’s entire first term (the other is Bigby), oversaw the Patrick administration’s groundbreaking energy initiatives that have included the controversial Cape Wind project and other ventures into renewable energy.
Sullivan, who acknowledged how volatile an issue the high-profile Cape Wind has become, said Patrick has been “aggressive on the issue of clean energy and the need for us to make ourselves more reliant on alternative forms of energy. Clean-energy initiatives are not just good for the environment but can help Massachusetts become a hub for future economic development, especially in terms of jobs.”
Patrick called Bowles a “star in this administration” and said he would “miss his passion, his energy, and his leadership.” Bowles told The Boston Globe he was leaving to seek “new challenges. I’ve had a remarkable opportunity to serve, and now I’m ready for the next chapter of my life.”
Sullivan entered politics in the 1980s. Still in his 20s, he first ran for a seat on the municipal commission that oversees Westfield’s public utility and followed it up quickly with three terms on the City Council before seeking the Whip City’s top elective office in 1993 at the age of 34.
Sullivan’s annual salary as commissioner has been $135,000; the secretary’s position carries a $150,000 salary.
Sullivan is a graduate of Bates College and Western New England Law School.
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