BOSTON: Larry Rasky, chairman and CEO of Rasky Partners, has died at age 69.
In 1997, Rasky started Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, according to the Boston Business Journal. It grew to a $15 million firm when it merged with Prism Public Affairs in January 2014.
The firm was renamed Rasky Partners in 2017, when cofounders Joe Baerlein and Ann Carter left the agency to start their own businesses.
Rasky was viewed as a political comms guru, especially in Boston. But he had a humble start in the business.
His first contact with politics came during college, working as a security guard at the building that housed former President Jimmy Carter’s Massachusetts campaign headquarters, according to Politico.
Rasky’s extensive political knowledge caught the attention of campaign workers and he was eventually asked to work on Carter’s primary campaign in Iowa, according to the Boston Globe. He went on to work on the Carter reelection campaign as deputy press secretary.
Rasky helped elect Boston Mayor Ray Flynn and was part of the early U.S. Senate campaign of John Kerry. He also worked extensively for current presidential candidate Joe Biden on his prior bids for president and was treasurer for the Biden super PAC, Unite the Country.
Rasky’s son Will Rasky, an associate VP in public affairs at his father’s firm, noted that politics and current events were regular dinner-table conversations.
“Even my mom, before raising me, produced art for a number of ad agencies that did political advertising and she knew that world as well and was always an ideological bedrock for my dad,” said Will. “We would all talk about these things as if they were an everyday part of life.”
Will said he has only recently come to appreciate the extent of his father’s experience.
“As I got further along in my career, the more I have realized what I was learning from my dad and the depth of what I could learn from him,” he said.
Despite the often tense and frenetic nature of politics, Will said his father brought an upbeat attitude to his work, something others have mentioned while recalling Rasky’s legacy.
“He was just an unbelievably gregarious guy and he brought that sort of lightheartedness to everything he did,” Will said.
Rasky died unexpectedly shortly after waking up in his home in Quincy, Massachusetts, on Sunday morning, according to the Boston Globe. He leaves behind his wife Carolyn and Will. The cause of death has yet to be determined.
Tributes to Rasky on social media:
We are heartbroken. Larry was a giant in so many ways, not just professionally but personally. He loved & was loved by so many. He treated the company like a family, and we are all shocked and saddened by the news of his passing. Read the full statement: https://t.co/sFbktgEe56— Rasky Partners (@RaskyPartners) March 22, 2020
.@JoeBiden issues a statement on the passing of Larry Rasky:— Molly Nagle (@MollyNagle3) March 23, 2020
"Larry Rasky was one of the sharpest political minds of his generation, a trusted advisor, and for me, a good and loyal friend."
Full statement --> pic.twitter.com/YoraTIqVFK
We lost a great one. Larry Rasky was a true friend and mentor. So many have benefited from his wisdom and generosity. While the memories are countless there are no words to describe this loss. Miss you. Love you. RIP my friend. pic.twitter.com/Nq3st0G7IS— George Cronin (@GeorgeCronin2) March 23, 2020
More sad news.— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) March 22, 2020
I first met Larry Rasky in the ‘80s, when he was comms operative for @JoeBiden, to whom he remained loyal and committed for decades to come. Boston thru and thru, he was a great, ebullient pol. RIPhttps://t.co/eEgeiXrwyD
Larry Rasky was at the center of political life in our city, state + country for decades. A brilliant strategist, he was a friend to House members, elected officials + corporate leaders alike. He will be missed. On behalf of the House, I extend my condolences to his family.— Speaker Bob DeLeo (@SpeakerDeLeo) March 23, 2020
Heartbroken to learn of the passing of my dear friend and colleague, Larry Rasky. Larry was one of those rare individuals whose smile lit up a room and let kindness & integrity guide him. Like so many others, I’ll miss him terribly. My thoughts & prayers go the Rasky family. pic.twitter.com/NltpmaKkog— Therese Murray (@ThereseMurrayMA) March 22, 2020
My heart goes out to Larry’s wife Carolyn, their son Will, and the entire Rasky family. There will never be another great like Larry Rasky. We will carry him in our memories forever. https://t.co/BLkwZHzUJU— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) March 23, 2020
Larry Rasky was a political legend. But more than that he was a loving husband and father, loyal friend and committed public servant. He will be missed dearly - my prayers are with his family. https://t.co/wu817ryV5H— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) March 22, 2020
My condolences to the Rasky family and the Rasky Partners team on the passing of Larry. He was a master strategist and communicator who did so much to help make Boston thrive. My heart and prayers go out to all of you. I’m sorry for your loss.— Thomas P. O'Neill (@tponeill3) March 22, 2020