In what may have been his last press conference of the year, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker took a last selfie with his economic development secretary who is leaving his cabinet position this week.
Baker announced Tuesday that Jay Ash would be leaving the administration, praising him by saying that he's worked "tirelessly with members of the Legislature, local officials and private companies to enhance economic development, housing and the life sciences industry in Massachusetts.''
The Republican governor ticked off what he said were some of his administration's achievements under Ash, including transitioning over 1,400 homeless families out of hotels and motels, from 1,500 in 2015 to fewer than 40 now.
Ash is reportedly taking over as President of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, an influential business group, though he would not confirm the position Wednesday.
"It’s an interesting opportunity," Ash said. "I’m also considering some other options. I have to figure out what I wanna do with the rest of my life."
Baker also announced Tuesday that Mike Kennealy, who currently works under Ash as assistant secretary for business growth, has been chosen to step into the top job.
Kenneally, who will be sworn in Friday as the new economic development secretary, said, "I want to thank the Governor for this opportunity."
Governor Baker also weighed in Wednesday on the ongoing National Grid lockout that has left 1,200 workers off the job since June. He expressed frustration, saying the company has a responsibility under its state-issued franchise to serve its customers in exchange for the rate of return the company is allowed to make.
"We’re not telling people what to do, but if they don’t fix this and resolve this, then we’re going to make sure we come up with some means or mechanism that makes it possible for those folks to continue to pay their bills," Baker said.
And when asked about the upcoming election for a new state Republican Party Chair, Baker said the new Chair needs to be committed to growing the party ranks.
"If you’re running as a Republican, you’re probably running on it’s basically conservative platform with a real commitment to reform, a big investment and local government and what goes on and when I call sort of the community level, and you want to serve it make a difference."