BOSTON (SHNS) – Gov. Maura Healey has named Edward Augustus as state housing secretary, according to a source familiar with the process, turning to a former state senator and Worcester city manager to serve as point person on one of her top priorities.
The governor created the position earlier this year after she promised to make housing a priority on the campaign trail.
In striving to boost housing production, Augustus will face the same challenges as others before him: addressing local resistance to growth, navigating zoning bylaws and ordinances that vary from community to community, and working with the Legislature to enact new housing policies.
Healey pledged last fall to split the housing and economic development secretariat into two if she were elected, and the administration has often pointed to the housing secretary position as critical to efforts to addresss the housing affordability and availability crisis across the state.
“We think it’s certainly going to be a chief reason we’re going to be able to meet or hopefully close the gap on the 200,000 housing units that we are short in Massachusetts,” Lt. Gov. Driscoll said about the position in February.
Augustus left his post as a chancellor at Dean College in Franklin last month, saying at the time that he was “not sure where life’s journey will take me next,” MassLive reported.
Before his stint at Dean College in Franklin, where he worked for less than a year, Augustus roamed the halls of both Worcester City Hall and the State House. He served as Worcester city manager for eight years, from 2013 through mid-2022, his LinkedIn says.
Over his eight years as city manager, he oversaw over $90 million in renovations to the city’s public parks and led a downtown resurgence effort, according to a release from Dean College, from when the college named Augustus chancellor.
Augustus represented Worcester’s 2nd District in the Senate for two terms, from 2005 until 2008 where he chaired the Committee on Bills in the Third Reading and Joint Committee on Election Laws, and vice-chaired the committees on education, veterans and federal affairs, and public service. He won his Senate seat in 2004 by defeating GOP candidate Robi Blute to fill Guy Glodis’ former seat in the Senate.
He was Congressman Jim McGovern’s chief of staff, worked in former President Bill Clinton’s U.S. Department of Education, and served as director of government and community relations for the College of the Holy Cross, the Dean College release says.
The Healey plan to split the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development into two separate offices, an Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities and an Executive Office of Economic Development, will take effect on May 30.
(Michael P. Norton contributed reporting)