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Sen. Beth Bye to Resign to Join Ned Lamont’s Administration

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — State Sen. Beth Bye will resign to take a job with Gov. elect Ned Lamont’s administration.

Lamont picked Bye to lead Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood, which was created in 2013. She will help to develop a cohesive early childhood care and educational system.

“Beth Bye has devoted her entire professional career to helping to build a more progressive and equitable early childhood system in which all children, regardless of their parents’ socio-economic status, can grow, learn and develop,” Lamont said. “It’s clear that the formative early childhood years are jey to providing children a solid educational base and platform, and I know Beth is the best person to take the helm of this critical agency.”

Bye is a Democrat who represents the 5th Senate District, which includes West Hartford, Bloomfield, Burlington and Farmington. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and then moved to the Senate in 2011. There will be a special election to fill Bye’s seat because she was reelected in November.

Currently, Bye is the executive director of Auerfarm, a Bloomfield-based community farm that hosts 15,000 student trips annually. Prior to that, Bye led Great by 8, a community partnership to develop a program that supports optimal health and educational outcomes for children ages birth to eight. She also worked as Early Childhood Director at the Capitol Region Education Council and was Director at Trinity College Community Child Center and the University of St. Joseph School for Young Children.

She will earn $155,000 in her new job.

“I am grateful to begin this next chapter in my career, leading an agency I helped to spearhead and create,” said Bye. “Connecticut’s children—all of them—represent  the future of our state, and deserve to have the tools and support necessary to develop, grow and thrive.”


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Ned Lamont Picks James Rovella for Commissioner

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  Gov. elect Ned Lamont has nominated a former Hartford Police Chief to be a commissioner.

Lamont tapped James Rovella, 60, to be the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Commissioner.

Rovella has selected Regina Rush-Kittle of the Middletown Police as Deputy Commissioner for Emergency Management and Stavros Mellekas of the Connecticut State Police as State Police Colonel.

“James, Regina and Stavros are experienced law enforcement officers, having dedicated their lives to keeping our streets and communities safe in Connecticut,” Lamont said in a statement to the press. “I am proud to welcome these three dedicated public servants to my administration’s leadership team.”

Rovella began as a patrol officer with the Hartford Police Department. He was then promoted to homicide detective before he served 12 years for the office of the chief state’s attorney, where he became chief inspector and oversaw all medicaid fraud, financial and statewide criminal cases. In 2012, Rovella returned to Hartford to become its interim chief of police. He was then appointed permanent chief in August 2012. Rovella retired in February 2018.

“I thank Gov. elect Lamont for the trust he has placed in me to lead the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection,” Rovella said. “My decades in public safety have been guided by a commitment to building trust between law enforcement personnel and the local communities in which they serve. That priority will remain a focus as I work to make this state a safer home for all of our residents.”

Rovella will begin his duties on Jan. 9 and will make $183, 340. His nomination will be sent to the General Assembly for consent.

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Ned Lamont Selects Paul Mounds as First Chief Operating Officer

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Gov.-elect Ned Lamont selected a Hartford native and  public policy veteran to be the state’s first chief operating officer, one of 38 in the nation.

Lamont tapped Paul Mounds, 33,  to be the point person for all the state’s commissioners. Mounds will report to Ryan Drajewicz, Lamont’s chief of staff. The role aims to “enhance cross-agency collaboration and efficiency.”

Lamont, who is filling his cabinet to take the helm on Jan.9, made the announcement on Friday at the State Capitol.

“Paul is a relationship builder and someone who understands how the executive branch agencies can best be leveraged to create lasting and impactful change on behalf of the people of Connecticut,” Lamont said. “I welcome Paul back into state service and look forward to working closely with him particularly as we build our agency leadership teams and take on the challenge of building a more efficient, responsive government.”

Mounds currently works as vice president of policy and communications for the Connecticut Health Foundation. He informs and educates policymakers on issues related to health equity. He previously worked as the senior director of public policy and government relations for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Mounds began his career as an intern at the State Capitol. He worked as a press assistant and federal grants coordinator for U.S. Rep John Larson and a deputy director of outreach with Sen. Richard Blumenthal.  Moreover, Mounds was a member of the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Competitiveness.

He also serves as a Commissioner on the Connecticut Judicial Selection Commission and on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.

A graduate of Trinity College, Mounds was born in Hartford, raised in East Hartford and lives in Glastonbury with his wife and child.

“I am honored to join Gov. Elect Lamont’s administration and look forward to working collaboratively with agency commissioners and their teams to implement programs that will help support businesses and Connecticut citizens alike,” Mounds said. “In particular, using metrics and data to measure success will allow us to evaluate programmatic effectiveness on behalf of taxpayers.”

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Lamont Taps Hartford Budget Director for Top Post

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  A Hartford finance official will become Governor-elect Ned Lamont’s budget chief come January.

Melissa McCaw was tapped on Tuesday to be the next secretary of policy and management to oversee the state’s budget. She will be the state’s first African American budget director.

McCaw, 39, of Hartford, has been serving as the chief financial officer with the city of Hartford for the past three years.  Previously, she served as a budget director for the University of Hartford. She also worked with the Office of Policy and Management as a budget specialist for eight years.

McCaw graduated from Wesleyan University with a master’s degree in public administration and also has a certificate in public financial management from the University of Connecticut.

“To grow our economy, add jobs and give the business community confidence, we have to fix our budget challenges,” Lamont said. “Melissa will help lead that effort, and I’m proud to announce her as a critical member of the team.”

The governor submits a budget plan every two years. McCaw will be working with Lamont to submit a plan to the legislature in mid-February to balance the fiscal years.

“I look forward to achieving the governor-elect’s vision for a budget and policy plan that addresses Connecticut’s fiscal crisis, spreads out economic opportunity and helps grow Connecticut’s middle class,” McCaw said.

McCaw will be tackling a $1.7 billion projected deficit in the coming months.

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Joe Biden to Visit Hartford, Stump for Candidates

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Former Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Hartford Friday to campaign for a few Democratic candidates: Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Ned Lamont, Congressional Candidate Jahana Hayes and Incumbent U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.

The pre-election rally will be held at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy on Vernon Street. It is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

Earlier this month, Biden endorsed Lamont, saying: “Ned Lamont has dedicated his life to making sure middle-class families have a fighting chance to get ahead and stay ahead. He’s a person of character and integrity, who is in the public arena to make a positive difference.”

In the latest poll, Lamont was almost tied with Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Bob Stefanowski. The Sacred Heart University and Hearst Media found that 39.5 percent of those polled favor Lamont and 36.1 percent favor Stefanowski. Independent Candidate Oz Griebel garnered 8.4 percent. And 14.8 percent of those polled were unsure.

Two weeks earlier, a Quinnipiac University Poll had Lamont leading by eight percent.

Hayes is challenging Republican Manny Santos for U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s 5th Congressional District seat. After much criticism for how she handled a former staffer who accused her chief of staff of misconduct, Esty decided not to seek reelection. The district includes 41 municipalities, including the city of Waterbury.

Hayes is the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and hails from Waterbury.

Murphy, who is up for reelection after serving his first term, will face Republican Challenger Matthew Corey. A Quinnipiac Poll in August shows Murphy with a 59-31 lead over Cory.


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Ned Lamont Enters 2018 Race for Governor

HARTFORD — Ned Lamont has announced his bid to be the next governor. He is the latest to enter the race that has more than 16 candidates vying to succeed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy who will not seek a third term.

On Wednesday, the 64-year-old Greenwich businessman filed paperwork with the Connecticut Secretary of the State and emailed supporters a letter and video announcement.

“I am proud to call Connecticut my home, to start my business here and raise my family here,” says Lamont. “We have many great assets and people want to live here, but we are falling behind. We need to fix our state budget and improve our economy so more people and businesses can continue to stay in Connecticut and find opportunity to advance here. Like many parents, I want my three children to stay here, to work and to raise a family in a thriving Connecticut.”

“Business people are measured by their results and Connecticut needs results right now; we need to change the way we do business. More good-paying jobs, more companies moving into Connecticut that attract talent, more leaders willing to come together to find common ground, fix our budget, and get our state moving again. We have serious issues to address and our leaders will need to tell the truth about how we are going to solve our biggest problems.”

In a statement to the press, Lamont said his agenda includes addressing the crisis in the state budget and finances; growing the economy and attracting and retaining a talented workforce that include raising the minimum wage; advancing pay equity; establishing paid family leave, and building out our transportation infrastructure and jobs by implementing modern tolling.

Lamont, a Democrat,  has been a small business owner for more than 25 years. He founded Lamont Digital Systems (Campus Televideo), a company that challenged the cable utilities to provide a better service at a lower cost to students.

In 2006, Lamont won a primary election against Incumbent US Senator Joe Lieberman. And in 2010, he lost his gubernatorial bid to Malloy.


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Ned Lamont Makes Stop in Hartford

By Evan Lawrence, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — In the final stretch of  his primary election campaign, Democrat Ned Lamont can be found in many places. However, on Friday afternoon you would have found him making an appearance in Hartford, taking a tour of the New England Assistive Technology Resource and Education (NEAT) Center at Oak Hill in the Blue Hill section of Hartford.

Originally a school for the blind, Oak Hill is an institution that has been around since 1893 and now services people with a number of different disabilities, including intellectual, developmental and physical impairments. It is Connecticut’s largest community-based provider to people with disabilities, having programs in over 50 Connecticut towns,officials say.

The key term there is “community based,” according to Patrick Johnson Jr., ACSW the President of Oak Hill. Preceding the tour, Mr. Johnson explained to an attentive Lamont how the school of thought has changed over the last thirty years from institutionalization to a more effective community based living.

“People want their children at home, or living in the community just like everyone else” Johnson said. “The NEAT Center at Oak Hill is helping to make that possible especially with the recent advancements in technology.”

Oak Hill teacher B. Rankin and Tim

Bruce Stovall , the vice president of Oak Hill, began the tour by explaining more about these improvements starting with their equipment restoration and reutilization. Oak Hill repairs and restores used disability equipment and then sells it to buyers at a significantly reduced price, making the expensive equipment much more affordable for those that need it.

Lamont, who has previous experience teaching (including a friend with Lou Gehrig’s disease) got to see first hand how much the technology has improved. This included screen magnification, speech to text technology, and even a mounted computer mouse that responds to a reflective dot on the users forehead. This way a quadriplegic can move the cursor by merely looking at the part of the screen they would like to select. Or, in this case, a zealous Lamont can spell out “Vote for Ned” and briefly experience how difficult a simple task can be for a disabled person.

The final stop on the tour was a training session for the “Birth to Three Program,” which evaluates, identifies, and provides support to families with disabled children. Trainees with different backgrounds before entering this program, are physical therapists, speech pathologists, as well as some that had personal experiences with disabilities, and were now here to continue their future in this field. A future, however, that is very uncertain, Oak Hill officials said.

While Oak Hill does receive some money from charitable donations, 90 percent of their budget is from public funding. This means in recent years, the employees of Oak Hill’s cost-of-living adjustments have been less then one percent. Already burdened with the effects of inadequate funding, Oak Hill President Patrick Johnson said he hopes that whoever is elected governor does reduce their funding any lower then it is currently.

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CT Hispanic Caucus To Endorse Ned Lamont

HARTFORD — Ned Lamont picked up another endorsement from a  minority group that’s hoping to “ride the wave of the man who seems like he will win the primary and the race for governor.”

The Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Council has endorsed Democratic Primary Candidate Ned Lamont and is set to make an official announcement in New Haven this afternoon.

“We really want to be with a winner,” said Tomas Reyes. “And we feel it would be a symbiotic relationship.”  Reyes chairs the caucus, a statewide organization of politicians, activists, and other stakeholders who  promote the election of qualified Latino candidates.

Reyes goes on to say that Ned Lamont, who lost his political party endorment at the Democratic Covention earlier this year, is on Row B. And so is a Latino Democratic challenger, Jerry Garcia. Garcia is  running for secretary of state. The caucus also endorsed Garcia.

In 2006, the group endorsed Dan Malloy,  the Democratic endorsed candidate for governor this year.

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Ned Lamont to Speak at MLK Day Breakfast

PORTLAND, CT — Entrepreneur and former challenger to Sen. Joe Lieberman’s seat in Congress, Ned Lamont, will deliver the keynote address at the Collin’s Foundation Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Breakfast and Food Drive in Cromwell on Monday.

The event is scheduled to begin Jan. at 8:00 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza.

Attendees of the breakfast will be making King’s holiday a day of activism by both advancing the education of the Foundation’s scholarship recipients and providing much needed food for the hungry, organizers said.

Organizers said the foundation’s goal is to help feed more than 500 families during this difficult winter.  They ask attenees to bring:

Canned meat or fish (i.e., tuna, spam, chicken, etc.)
Canned fruits
Individual packages of hotdogs
Pasta sauce
Peanut butter.

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