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In the news: Lamar Cook

In the news: Lamar Cook

Governor Maura T. Healey has hired LaMar Cook as deputy director of her western Massachusetts office in Springfield, which serves as the primary liaison to the governor’s office for the region’s residents. She made the announcement at the Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Beacon Hill Summit.

Cook, 43, is a major presence in the Springfield business community. He is co-founder of the Back-to-School Brighter Initiative, which provides children in the city with a fresh start to their academic year with free haircuts, backpacks and school supplies.

He also has extensive experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, most recently serving as director of Hotel UMass, the best-rated hotel in Amherst. He is a member of the Springfield Community Preservation Committee and a board member of the Massachusetts Lodging Association.

A Springfield native, Cook received a certificate in hospitality and tourism management from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Western New England University in Springfield.

“I’m extremely excited to begin this work for the constituents of western Massachusetts,” he said. “I’m grateful for the governor’s appointment and the opportunity to serve.”

Cook will work with Kristen Elechko of Northampton, whom Healey named director of the western Massachusetts office, which opened May 1 in the Springfield State Office Building. Elechko most recently served as regional director for Senator Ed Markey — as his point person for all matters related to central and western Massachusetts.

Elechko and Cook will be responsible for collaborating with stakeholders, constituents and local municipalities on issues concerning the region.

“Lieutenant Governor (Kim) Driscoll and I are committed to leading an administration for all of Massachusetts, and that means making sure that the people of Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Berkshire counties have a direct line to my office,” Healey said. “Kristen and LaMar are two proven leaders with deep ties to western Mass. — they know the communities, they know the businesses, they know the needs and opportunities of the region. We’re excited to welcome them to the administration and encourage residents to get in touch with them.”

Driscoll also praised the new tandem.

“This dynamic western Massachusetts duo will make a major impact on the region. Kristen and LaMar are well-known and trusted leaders in western Mass., and I’m excited for even more residents to get to know them,” the lieutenant governor said. “They both have the drive, experience and vision to deliver results for their region — and they will have the support of the governor and me each step of the way.”

Healy laison, Springfield