Bush fan ex-rep. joins BRA

August 27, 2009
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A former Democratic state representative who controversially campaigned for George W. Bush has been named the new executive director/secretary at the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

Mayor Thomas Menino’s nomination of Brian Golden—who bashed local former presidential candidate John Kerry and vocally opposed same-sex marriage and abortion rights—is reportedly causing head-scratching in Democratic political circles.

Menino’s office did not respond to a Gazette request for comment on Golden’s appointment by the BRA board this month.

Golden, an attorney, was the Allston/Brighton-area state rep. from 1999 to 2005. He served as the head of the state Department of Telecommunications and Energy under former Gov. Mitt Romney and most recently headed the regional office of the US Department of Health and Human Services under Bush. He is also a lieutenant colonel in the US Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps and has served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. Golden moved from Newton to Brighton to take the BRA position.

“[Golden’s] life as a public servant speaks volumes about his commitment to helping people, including the six years in which he represented the residents of Allston and Brighton at the State House as state representative,” said BRA Director John Palmieri, the authority’s chief, in a written statement to the Gazette. “I believe he will be a tremendous asset to the agency and I look forward to working with him.”

Golden also was an original member of the Harvard Allston Task Force, one of the BRA’s community advisory committees that later was declared to be violating the state Open Meeting Law by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. Golden did not attend any of the meetings that allegedly broke the law, according to meeting minutes.

The executive director/secretary staffs the BRA’s board, advertises BRA meetings and handles requests for public documents, among other duties.

The BRA did not respond to Gazette questions about Golden’s thoughts on the issue of BRA transparency and the Harvard Allston Task Force controversy.

John Ruch