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In the News

New administration expected to be broad-based, diverse
Boston Globe November 8, 2006 By Andrea Estes and Scott Helman

Democrat Deval L. Patrick pivots from political outsider to governor-elect today, with an eye toward assembling what one adviser called a "a talented and diverse administration" that will include people of color, women, and loyal campaign supporters.

Patrick plans to name a transition team later this week that includes former attorney general Scott Harshbarger, former senior Weld administration official Gloria Larson, and Charlotte Golar Richie, a former state representative and top aide to Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston, said a senior campaign official.

The three names signal Patrick's intention to tap a broad-based group of leaders and policy specialists as he looks to build the first Democratic administration in Massachusetts in 16 years.

Harshbarger, a Democrat, was seen as a liberal, activist attorney general, while Larson worked for a Republican governor, and Golar Richie is the highest-profile black official in Menino's administration. All three supported Patrick's gubernatorial campaign.

The transition team will help to recruit and review Patrick's picks for top state jobs and help to formulate his policy priorities, as the governor-elect prepares to take office Jan. 4.

Governor Mitt Romney called Patrick last night to congratulate him on his victory, and the two plan to meet at 10 a.m. today at the State House. In preparation for the new governor, Romney has assembled transition reports from 100 agencies and will provide Patrick with the resignation letters of all 13 Cabinet secretaries.

One of the first moves Patrick is expected to make as governor is hiring his secretary of administration and finance, a key Cabinet official who will be responsible for crafting a proposed budget within a month of taking office, according to a campaign official.

Some Patrick campaign aides being considered for administration posts when Patrick takes office, according to the campaign official, include Golar Richie; Suzanne Bump, a lawyer and former state representative; Ron Bell, a deputy campaign manager and voting activist; and Lily Mendez-Morgan, a deputy campaign manager who runs a fund for minority and low-income communities.

"Deval has said he'll take a fresh look at everything and look at the best ideas, no matter where they come from," said Doug Rubin, a Patrick adviser. "He's going to be very aggressive in trying to make the change he thinks is needed on Beacon Hill."

During his campaign, Patrick vowed to encourage alternative energy and economic growth and to hire 1,000 new police officers, among other policy initiatives, and he campaigned as an outsider running against the "Beacon Hill culture." Now, to get his agenda passed, he will have to work with the same political establishment he's been campaigning against for nearly two years.

In interviews yesterday, House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and Senate President Robert E. Travaglini said that they held nothing against Patrick for his campaign rhetoric and that they looked forward to a collegial State House climate.

Travaglini, who had thought of leaving the Senate soon, said yesterday that the prospect of working with Patrick for the next four years made him want to stay. He refused to say specifically, but Travaglini suggested he would remain leader of the Senate for the foreseeable future.

"I'm in no hurry," Travaglini said, pointing out that, under Senate rules, he would have to step down as president in four years in any event.

"I view an opportunity today for the Democrats to redefine themselves," Travaglini said. "We're part of a party who's lost sight of its mission, whose vision is clouded, and who's lost its fastball. . . . We have a magnificent opportunity to prove that we still possess the tool set to demonstrate leadership, efficiency in government, and new initiatives and policies that bode well for the citizens of the Commonwealth."

DiMasi said that after what he called "16 years of detached administration" it will be "nice that we have somebody's who's interested, a Democrat . . . instead of a disinterested Republican governor who looked just for headlines and [was unable] to work with the Legislature to get things done."

Healey's main pitch in her campaign was that one-party rule on Beacon Hill would only bring collusion on higher taxes and out-of-control spending. But DiMasi and Travaglini both said yesterday that the Democrat-dominated Legislature had proven itself to be fiscally responsible.

Both legislative leaders also offered some insight into their agendas for the coming year.

DiMasi said he wanted to craft an energy policy for the state and said the Legislature should consider investing in early education. He also said lawmakers have to contend with crumbling transportation infrastructure, saying they would halt Romney's plan to end tolls on the Mass. Pike west of Route 128 if the state cannot afford it.

Travaglini said he wants to revisit his proposal earlier this year to offer paid family and medical leave to thousands of workers in Massachusetts, to invest in the public higher education system, and to fund stem cell research.

Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney's communications director, said the administration has set aside an office for the transition team and is pledging to cooperate with the new governor.

"We sent out a memo to all of the Cabinet members and agency heads and asked them to complete the questions, so that we could compile transition reports for 100 agencies, ranging from the small ones to the big ones," Fehrnstrom said. "We have about three feet of documents."

One Democratic operative familiar with the campaign said that Patrick and his running mate, Timothy P. Murray, were taken aback by the number of staff members Romney and Healey had in the executive office and that they hoped to operate with fewer.

Patrick was often questioned by his rivals during the campaign about whether he would owe something to unions and other special interests who supported him.

He often answered by saying there was no quid pro quo, and the Democratic operative said that, although some backers were already looking for favors, Patrick meant what he said.

"No one's been promised anything," the operative said.

A coalition of women's organizations called MassGAP, meanwhile, is already at work trying to propel women into top jobs in the new administration.

The group, which was founded in 2002, has begun reviewing resumes and hopes to recommend to Patrick's transition team by Thanksgiving a handful of women for each of 150 leadership positions, including Cabinet posts and directors of state agencies.

"We are prepared to move at lightning speed to get resumes in, review them, make recommendations, . . . lobby for our group of candidates, and push through to the end until the last position is filled," said Jesse Mermell, executive director of the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus.

Two of the women helping the bipartisan effort to place women in top jobs are former acting governor Jane Swift, a Republican, and former state treasurer Shannon O'Brien, a Democrat who ran for governor in 2002.