BOSTON (SHNS) – Speaker Ronald Mariano has assembled a senior staff, keeping longtime aide and chief of staff John Walsh in the same position as he builds out his team in the speaker’s office, according to someone close to the speaker.
Walsh will be joined by Whitney Ferguson, a top aide to former Speaker Robert DeLeo who will remain on the new speaker’s staff in a similar role to the one she held under DeLeo. Ferguson’s title will remain deputy chief of staff.
One major new addition to the speaker’s office will arrive at the State House from City Hall as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh prepares to leave the city for Washington, D.C. and the Biden administration. Ana Vivas will be Mariano’s new press secretary, an advisor to Mariano told the News Service.
Vivas is currently deputy press secretary to the mayor and will join the speaker’s staff on Feb. 16. She’s a graduate of Emerson College and previously served as media relations manager for the Boston Public Health commission.
The hires give Mariano’s office a blend of experience and new perspective as he succeeds DeLeo as the first new speaker in 12 years. For Walsh, it’s a return to the speaker’s office after he started his State House career in the House in former Speaker Thomas Finneran’s office in 2002.
Walsh went to work for Mariano beginning in 2009 as a special assistant and took over as chief of staff to the then-majority leader in 2013. Ferguson came to the Legislature from the private sector, starting with DeLeo as deputy director of communications after working as an account executive with the Castle Group.
Ferguson worked in the communications shop and then as deputy chief of staff under Seth Gitell, the long-time former communications director and then chief of staff to DeLeo who has been assisting with the transition.