He holds the distinction of being the youngest Republican ever elected to the Massachusetts Legislature. What followed was nothing short of a spectacular career on Beacon Hill that included 6 years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and 20 years in the Massachusetts Senate.
From 2007 to 2011, Richard served as Senate Minority Leader and, in 2010 he was the Republican Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor. He also served as State Chairman of the Baker for Governor campaign in 2010.
Throughout his state government career, Richard worked in virtually every area of policy and served as a member of numerous legislative committees including; Education, Government Regulations, Housing and Urban Development, Human Services and Elderly Affairs as well as Senate Ways and Means.
Widely respected for his ability to work across party lines, Richard played a prominent role in many key policy-making and budgetary issues. He helped draft the final version of the Welfare Reform Act of 1995, which became a national model. He was the chief sponsor of the Whistleblower Protection Law, which provides safeguards to health care workers reporting incidents of patient abuse and unsafe working conditions. He also authored legislation creating Zoo New England, a successful public/private partnership.
And his leadership and effectiveness did not go unnoticed. He was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Massachusetts Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, the YMCA’s of Massachusetts, the Developmental Disability Council, and the Home and Health Care Association. Upon his retirement from the Legislature he received a distinguished “Good Guy” award from the non-partisan Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus.
In addition to his work with Preti Strategies, Richard is a Broker Associate for Berkshire Hathaway Commonwealth and has served as past Chair and current member of the Government Affairs Committee at the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, as well as on the Professional Standards Committee for the North Shore Association of Realtors.
Richard is a 1984 graduate of American University. He currently resides in Wakefield MA with his husband Bernie Starr.