New State Economic Development Undersecretary Stanton Launched Career at Haverhill City Hall

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

One of the new undersecretaries in the reorganized state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development received her start as a Haverhill City Hall staffer 16 years ago.

Sarah A. Stanton is taking charge of one of the “three pillars of economic development,” Economic Strategies, under Housing and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini told WHAV he hired Stanton right out of school as his executive assistant. He said he is not surprised by her advancement over the years.

“She was a really bright kid. I knew I wasn’t going to keep her for long. She was great. She did an office procedures manual for me…I am very happy to have given her her start,” he said.

In the state job, Stanton is responsible for the state’s tourism and international trade sectors through the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment. She will also lead the office’s efforts on the administration’s cross-secretariat Workforce Skills Cabinet and help coordinate federal opportunities such as CHIPS and Science Act funding, Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health and climate-tech investment.

Stanton worked in Haverhill between March and October of 2007 before moving on to become special assistant to the Ipswich town manager; Woburn’s chief procurement officer and CitiStat director; Salem’s city auditor and finance director under then-Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, who is now lieutenant governor; Cambridge budget director; and Bedford Town Manager.

Fiorentini said he couldn’t help, but witness Stanton’s growth.

“I’ve seen her at economic development conferences. I’ve been very, very proud of her over the years. She was an all-star and you could see that right away,” the mayor said.

Stanton is also an adjunct professor of city planning, political science and public administration graduate programs at Boston University, Merrimack College and Northeastern University. She holds an undergraduate degree in political science from Plymouth State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Northeastern University.

WHAV reached out to Stanton, but did not receive a response in time for this story.

On March 1, Gov. Maura Healey filed legislation to create a new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities headed by a cabinet-level secretary charged with expanding the work now done by the Department of Housing and Community Development. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development will be renamed the Executive Office of Economic Development.

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