Among those who spoke at Friday’s check presentation ceremony was Jay Ash, the administration’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, and it was plain to see why Jay was the first Cabinet appointee named by Charlie Baker shortly after his election in 2014.
Ash had been the city manager of Chelsea for over a decade and performed an incredible job in raising that city from the ashes (no pun intended) to the point where it is one of the most vibrant communities in the state and won an All-American City Award under Jay’s tenure.
Jay is a graduate of Chelsea High (as is our Town Council President Russ Sanford) and Clark University, where he excelled on the basketball court. He not only was articulate, humorous, and convivial, but he displayed a sense of professionalism about his job that transcended politics-as-usual: An understanding of how the legislative process works, coupled with real expertise in the realm of economic development.
The respect with which Jay Ash is held on Beacon Hill was evident in the remarks made by House Speaker Bob DeLeo, who related how he first got to know Jay when Ash was the chief aide to the former House Ways and Means Chairman Richie Voke — and how obvious it was at that time that Jay Ash was a young man who was destined for big things.
It truly was a privilege to see Jay Ash in action, so to speak, and to realize that the entire Commonwealth is the beneficiary of such a dedicated public servant who truly wants to see our state become the best that it can be.
We’re fortunate that a person of Jay Ash’s caliber is working for the citizens of our state, and we look forward to even bigger things from him in the future.