Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

For immediate release:
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Governor's Press Office

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

Brendan Moss, Press Secretary, Governor's Office

BOSTONToday, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced the departure of Housing and Economic Development (HED) Secretary Jay Ash, and introduced current HED Assistant Secretary for Business Growth, Mike Kennealy, as incoming Secretary. A press conference will be held in the State House on Wednesday afternoon and incoming Secretary Kennealy will be sworn in on Friday, December 28th.

“From day one, Jay has worked tirelessly with members of the Legislature, local officials and private companies to enhance economic development, housing and the life sciences industry in Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration will always be particularly thankful for his work to help reduce the number of homeless families living in hotels and motels, from over 1,500 to less than 40, and his focus on achieving economic growth across the entire Commonwealth. We thank Jay for his public service, wish him well in the future and look forward to welcoming Mike to the cabinet.”

“Massachusetts cities and towns have had a tremendous partner and collaborator in Secretary Jay Ash throughout our administration’s first term,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Drawing upon his successful career as Chelsea city manager, Jay has a keen understanding of municipal concerns and has helped local leaders build stronger communities. From the substantial reach and impact of MassWorks to the development of new tools to prepare underutilized sites for development and create collaborative workspaces, Jay has been a driving force in economic growth. I join Governor Baker in wishing him all the best and look forward to working alongside Mike going forward.”  

“I am proud of what we have accomplished together to grow and strengthen Massachusetts’ economy over the past four years as we worked to empower communities to achieve their economic potential, ensuring prosperity could be shared across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Jay Ash. “Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito led by example, engaging local and state officials and our vibrant business and nonprofit sectors in an active dialogue, and we followed by identifying opportunities for investment and areas where we could create more support. It was an honor to visit over 200 cities and towns over the last four years. I have been energized by the vision and tenacity of our municipal, community and business leaders, and I am grateful to Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for asking me to serve in this capacity. Incoming Secretary Mike Kennealy is uniquely qualified and played an instrumental role in our first term achievements. Finally, I would like to thank the talented and committed professionals in EOHED and across the administration, who have been generous with their time and talent, and totally committed to the Commonwealth.”   

“It has been an honor to serve as Assistant Secretary for Business Growth under Secretary Ash, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito over the last four years and I am excited to take on the role of Secretary,” said incoming Secretary Kennealy. “I have been inspired by the ingenuity and drive in our diverse communities and companies and I look forward to working with the Administration, Legislature, local officials and members of the non-profit and private sectors across the Commonwealth to grow Massachusetts’ nation-leading innovation economy and continue to make progress on important issues like affordable housing and homelessness.”

Under Secretary Ash’s leadership, the Baker-Polito Administration conceived and pursued an economic development strategy entitled “Opportunities for All,” to bring vitality to communities, prosperity to people and growth for businesses in all regions of the Commonwealth. Key accomplishments include:

  • Transitioned over 1,400 homeless families out of hotels and motels, from 1,500 in 2015 to under 40 today.
  • Partnered with the Legislature to pass two billion-dollar economic development packages in 2016 and 2018, the $1.8 billion housing bonding bill and a $623 million life sciences bill to ensure our continued leadership in this sector on a national and global basis.
  • Delivered $12.5 million in state funding to the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield, a state of the art facility that will have the potential to serve as life sciences hub for the region.
  • Supported Worcester’s revitalization, including the redevelopment of the Canal District with a recently-announced $35 million infrastructure and HDIP affordable housing investment, made in conjunction with Pawtucket Red Sox relocation, announced in August.
  • Partnered with Springfield on six projects designed to revitalize its downtown revitalization, including the October announcement of the $2.5 refurbishment of the Paramount Theater, a lynchpin project for the city.
  • Played an important role in Lynn’s economic revitalization as a member of the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) Team – launching a number of commercial and housing projects, including Gateway North residences, which opened in 2018.
  • Served on Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet (comprised of EOLWD, EOHED, EOE secretaries) and drove the creation of 7 regional workforce plans, over $50 million in Skills Capital Grants and the launch of the first registered tech apprenticeship program in the state.
  • Helped facilitate expansions from leading companies like GE, Kronos, MassMutual, MilliporeSigma and Siemens.

About Mike Kennealy:

In early 2015, Mike Kennealy joined the Baker-Polito Administration as Assistant Secretary for Business Growth in the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development. As Assistant Secretary, Kennealy has played an integral role in advancing the administration’s strategy for job creation and business development across the entire Commonwealth and has provided leadership in key sectors, including serving as co-chair of the board of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. 

Kennealy combines a successful track record in the private sector with a strong commitment to the public good. He began his career in private equity at TA Associates, a Boston-based firm. In 1997, he joined Spectrum Equity, a private equity firm founded in 1994 with offices in Boston and San Francisco. During his more than 15 years at Spectrum, he helped grow the firm to become an established market leader with nearly $5 billion in assets under management and investments in over 100 high-growth internet, software and information services companies. After his career in private equity, Kennealy spent two years as Special Advisor to the Receiver at Lawrence Public Schools, where he worked with the state-appointed superintendent/receiver on strategic and financial initiatives to support the school district’s turnaround plan.

Kennealy and his family live in Lexington, Massachusetts, where they have been highly involved in town government, education and youth sports. He has served on the Board of Trustees of St. John’s Prep in Danvers since 2009 and currently serves as Chairman, and he serves on the Board of Visitors for The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences at Dartmouth College. 

Kennealy received a A.B. in Government from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito 

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and members of their administration are committed to making Massachusetts the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development 

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development promotes vibrant communities, growing businesses, and a strong middle class.

Governor's Press Office 

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