By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
HUDSON – Longtime Hudson resident and public servant Mary-Lee King was all smiles in the Town Hall auditorium April 23.
Recently retired, she was the subject of a celebration bringing together local politicians, friends and family members.
“King was lauded for her quiet and effective behind-the-scenes and trailblazing career as an advisor to governors, state senators, and state agency leaders,” a press release describing the event read.
King served as Chief of Staff for Paul Cellucci before he became Governor, while he was a State Senator.
As Cellucci rose to the governor’s office, King didn’t fall away. She worked as Chief Policy Advisor to former Governor Bill Weld and aided a number of other local political campaigns.
“Mary-Lee King is the epitome of a public servant,” State Senator Jamie Eldridge said in his remarks. “She was committed, unselfish, competent and served with great intelligence for 40 years.”
Moving into the state bureaucracy, King spent much of her career with the Department of Fish and Game, retiring as the department’s Deputy Commissioner late last year after being appointed to the role in 2015.
Spearheading environmentalism and conservation policy, King earned praise for working “across the aisle” to pass bills to establish a five cent incentive to recycle beverage cans among other things.
Likewise, she persevered in the male-dominated world of state politics.
“Mary-Lee King broke some glass ceilings,” State Representative Kate Hogan said, April 23.
Current Fisheries and Wildlife Board member and former Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Bob Durand, meanwhile, thanked her for her conservation work.
“What I always appreciated was that you brought together the old school of conservationists with a newer wave of conservationists to really make a difference for people across the state,” he said.
King received resolutions from the State Legislature congratulating her on her years of service. The Town of Hudson issued its own proclamation. US Representative Lori Trahan and US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey also issued certificates.
Outside of her state work, King recently spoke to the Community Advocate about her role in drafting Hudson’s Town Charter as a member of the local charter commission in the late 1970s.
“There were a lot of late nights of discussion,” she recalled when discussing her role pushing back on a particular effort to weaken the Executive Assistant position in municipal government. “Maybe it was my negotiating skills [that got the job done].”