26, SINGLE, JAMAICA PLAIN
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
By Cyr's count, the legislative session currently wrapping up required him to keep tabs on some 1300 bills potentially affecting his department's 10 units and 100 programs.
Apparently that's not enough work for him; he also serves as Vice Chair of the MA Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth. And, while things are slow at the State House, he's taken a leave to work on the Barack Obama re-election campaign.
"Fabulous," "adorable, well-dressed, and fit," with a "rugged edge," as our panelists describe him, Cyr says he learned his people skills growing up working in his parent's seasonal restaurant on Cape Cod.
It's taken him far: he has interned at the White House, worked for the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, and organized on Deval Patrick's re-election campaign. But it's his current job that combines his love of public service with the public health policy he studied in college.
Job title: Deputy director of government affairs, Department of Public Health
Held since: February 2011
Marital/relationship status; children; pets: Single and looking.
Home: Jamaica Plain
Originally from: Truro, on the tip of Cape Cod
What you do: I serve as the bridge between the Department of Public Health and the legislature.
I field inquiries from legislative offices, track the progress of bills relevant to the Department (some 1300 in the 2011-2012 session), and advise the department on legislative matters.
I help put out fires, notify public officials in advance of noteworthy events, and staff the commissioner and other senior staff at meetings. In my liaison function, I translate for and between the Department of Public Health's 10 units (with 100 distinct programs) and the legislature.
One experience that made you glad to do this work: The opportunity to assist people in navigating programs and services in the Commonwealth — I get to do this nearly every day.
My first meeting on the job was on beaver-trapping policy. A legislator from Western Massachusetts had requested a meeting with the head of DPH's Environmental Health unit. Apparently local public health was given authority over beaver trapping issues, after a 1996 ballot initiative banned trapping in the Commonwealth, and the state DPH serves as the appellate entity for trapping waivers. Who knew that the trapping of beavers fell under the purview of public health?
Other jobs: Prior to joining the Patrick Administration, I worked for the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. I also had the privilege of interning in the Obama White House working on green jobs and recovery initiatives. I graduated from NYU in 2008 with a B.A. in public policy and community health, where I also led undergraduate student government.
Other activities: I serve as the Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth.
Path to Beacon Hill: In 2010, I had landed home on Cape Cod, waiting on tables to bail myself out from gratuitously serving in the Obama White House. By chance, I was offered an opportunity to work on Governor Patrick's reelection bid, organizing the Cape and Islands. I had never worked on a campaign before, and had little idea what I was doing, but somehow I cobbled together a coalition of (mostly retired) supporters to win back key towns that Scott Brown had carried just months earlier.
I had studied public health policy in college, and admired the first-in-the-nation public health programs in Massachusetts. When given the chance, I jumped at the opportunity to work under the tutelage of former Commissioner John Auerbach, a true public servant.
Personal style: I enjoy interacting with people – genuinely. I suppose it's my background growing up in my family's seasonal restaurant on Cape Cod.
Favorite thing about working in the State House? Getting to know promising young professionals who are committed to public service and super talented; and learning from those who have a few more sessions under their belt. Also, listening to roll-call votes and hearing the myriad of accents that exist in our relatively tiny state.
One thing you would change to make State House work more "beautiful": If Beacon Hill staffers received adequate compensation, it would help raise the fashion bar. In the interim, I'd recommend that colleagues scour Boomerangs for tweed jackets.