For Immediate Release - August 30, 2007

SECRETARY BIGBY APPOINTS RICHARD CHACÓN AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE OFFICE OF REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS

SECRETARY BIGBY APPOINTS RICHARD CHACÓN AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE OFFICE OF REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS

BOSTON-Thursday, August 30, 2007- Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby announced today that she has appointed Richard Chacón as Executive Director for the Office of Refugees and Immigrants (ORI). Mr. Chacón will begin this work on September 10.

In announcing the appointment, Secretary Bigby said, "Richard Chacón will be a strong advocate for Massachusetts' refugees and immigrants as ORI's Executive Director. His broad range of experience and commitment to issues affecting diverse communities will ensure the agency's effectiveness in engaging refugees and immigrants fully in the economic, social, and civic fabric of the Commonwealth."

Governor Patrick added, "Richard has been a vital member of our team and I know he will lead the office with compassion and care. He fully recognizes the many important contributions our dynamic refugee and immigrant communities make to Massachusetts every day. Under Richard's leadership, we have an opportunity to show national leadership in how states can help newcomers integrate more fully into our economy and society."

Bigby also recognized the dedicated service of former ORI Executive Director Pierre Imbert. "I thank Pierre Imbert for his integral role in expanding services for refugees and immigrants. Among his achievements was the creation of the Citizenship for New Americans Program, which partners with the Department of Transitional Assistance to assist refugees and immigrants in the naturalization process. I wish him the best as he returns to the private sector."

Richard Chacón previously served as Governor Patrick's Director of Policy, overseeing diverse policy initiatives, including immigration; education; and transportation. From 1994-2006, Mr. Chacón worked at the Boston Globe, most recently as Ombudsman serving as the primary liaison between the paper, readers and community organizations. He also held the positions of Deputy Foreign Editor; Latin America Bureau Chief; Higher Education Reporter; City Hall Reporter; and Boston Neighborhoods Reporter. Mr. Chacón has also worked at New York Newsday, the Democratic National Committee, and WBUR.

Throughout his career, Mr. Chacón has been active on issues of importance to immigrant communities. In New York, he directed Columbia University's Intercultural Resource Center, a residential and cultural center promoting diversity and was later the Assistant to the Deputy Mayor, serving as a liaison to the city's Latino community. At Boston's WCVB-TV in the 1980s, Mr. Chacón produced a weekly public affairs program featuring New England's Latino communities. Previously, Mr. Chacón anchored midday radio broadcasts and reported for evening television newscasts in El Paso, Texas, reporting extensively on issues relating to the US/Mexican border.

The Office of Refugees and Immigrants promotes the full participation of refugees and immigrants as self-sufficient individuals and families in the economic, social and civic life of Massachusetts. ORI works with community-based organizations and other state agencies to provide a range of services to refugees, asylees, immigrants and other non-citizen residents. More information about ORI is available at: www.mass.gov/ori.

- 30 -