Republican Policymaker To Lead Gaming Commission

By Sarah Birnbaum

Dec. 13, 2011

stephen crosby deval patrick

Deval Patrick and Stephen Crosby leave the Dec. 13 news conference. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/AP)

BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has named Stephen Crosby, a former Republican Party official, as chairman of the state's powerful new gambling board.  

Catch Crosby's conversation with WGBH host Bob Seay during "Morning Edition" on Dec. 14.

Crosby was the budget chief under former Governor Paul Cellucci and chief of staff to former Governor Jane Swift — both Republicans. He’s currently the dean of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston.
Patrick, a Democrat, said that Crosby was a model public servant.
“The chair needs to be someone who has the proven capacity and the experience to launch a new organization, someone who knows and loves Massachusetts, and appreciates what makes us special… and someone whose integrity is beyond reproach,” Patrick said. “We have found that person in Steve.”
The five-member gambling panel will have sweeping powers over the new casino industry. Those include approving or denying casino gaming licenses — each of which is worth half a billion dollars.
The law includes little regulatory oversight of the board, which has drawn some criticism. Top lawmakers have said they wanted to give the commission as much leeway as possible to regulate the new industry.
The board’s job, Crosby said, was to “maximize the public good and minimize the unintended consequences” of expanded gaming in Massachusetts.
Crosby said he’s seeking an “honest, transparent and fair” process.
“Nothing — nothing poisons the public perception more than a suspicion that something’s going on under the table and we will do everything we possibly can to avoid that suspicion and reality,” he said.
Crosby earned praise from even the most ardent casino opponents. Former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, who led the charge against casinos, called it an inspired choice.
Attorney General Martha Coakley and state treasurer Steven Grossman, both Democrats, will each name one member to the commission. The remaining two members will be appointed by a majority vote among Patrick, Coakley and Grossman.

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