Governor-elect Deval L. Patrick yesterday named a woman who is a former Weld administration official, a Worcester lawyer, and a prominent African-American businessman who is a former bank president to head the transition team that will help him make appointments and set policy priorities.
Patrick tapped Gloria Larson, a lawyer who served as Governor William F. Weld’s economic affairs secretary; Michael Angelini, a lawyer who headed the Worcester County Bar Association; and Ronald Homer, former head of Boston Bank of Commerce and the chief executive of Access Capital Strategies, a firm that helps banks meet their lending obligations in low-income communities.
The transition appointments represent Patrick’s first concrete move toward building the first Democratic administration in 16 years. It also signals his intention to follow through on his promise to build a bipartisan and diverse leadership team.
The three will oversee a transition committee of 10 to 15 members, who are expected to be named shortly, according to Angelini. Additional working groups will be created in subject areas to come up with specific policy and personnel recommendations.
Patrick is also expected to move quickly to fill key leadership positions such as the secretary of administration and finance and the chief of staff, aides said.
“This is a personnel job for the time being,” said Angelini, who has been active in Worcester politics and is a friend of Lieutenant Governor-elect Timothy P. Murray and US Representative James P. McGovern, an early Patrick supporter. Angelini is a lawyer with the firm of Bowditch & Dewey, where he serves as chairman. He is also chairman of the board of Hanover Insurance Co.
“The trick is to find the right people, to instigate them to want to be considered and to find, in Deval’s words, “not just the famous, but the undiscovered,” he said.
Angelini said he hopes to identify candidates for key posts quickly, so that people can be in place by Patrick’s swearing in on Jan. 4. “He wants to hit the ground running,” Angelini said.
Larson, who switched her voter registration from Republican to unenrolled to vote in the September primary, said she has already received scores of requests from people eager to join Patrick’s team. Larson, who served in president George H.W. Bush’s administration, was a member of Mitt Romney’s transition team in 2002, serving as chairwoman of the Transportation and Housing Committee.
“He has such terrific star power,” Larson said of Patrick. “I genuinely believe he’ll have one of the best Cabinets we’ve ever seen in Massachusetts. He’s going to draw people into state government that, but for his being governor, wouldn’t want to serve.”
Larson is cochairwoman of government practice at the law firm of Foley Hoag, where she said she works in real estate development. Three years ago she was number one on Boston Magazine’s list of the 100 most powerful women in the city.
Of the three, Patrick has known Homer the longest, meeting him in 1983. The men have been been involved in civic activities and served on several boards together including the Boys and Girls Club, Homer said. From the time Patrick told Homer he was planning to run for governor in 2005, he has been a supporter, Homer said.
“We hope we’ll find people with high energy and high integrity and who feel government can make a difference. It will be similar to his campaign – a wide breadth of people, some of who are Republicans, some independents, some Democrats but all of whom think that together we can build a better community.”
Homer spent 13 years as president of the Boston Bank of Commerce. He has served as president of the National Bankers Association, according to the Patrick news release. The Globe reported that Boston Bank of Commerce was “on its deathbed” in 1995 when chairman Kevin Cohee took over the bank and removed Homer.
Patrick will have dozens of high-level jobs to fill, at least 13 immediately. Governor Mitt Romney asked all 13 Cabinet secretaries to submit resignations by yesterday afternoon. Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom last night said he did not know how many had been submitted.