Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Ned Lamont listens to Rep. Toni Walker, a co-chair of his transition team (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

WILLIMANTIC, CT — An estimated 450 volunteers, members of the public, and lobbyists packed a room at Eastern Connecticut State University vying for a chance to influence the policies of Connecticut’s 89th governor.

“You told Ned and I along the way that you wanted to help,” Lt. Gov.-elect Susan Bysiewicz told the room. “Maybe you’re a little surprised that we took you up on it.”

The 15 policy transition committees are responsible for coming up with a “roadmap” for the incoming administration on a variety of issues, but through the lens of creating jobs and growing the economy.

“I don’t want this to be one of those things where you write a really great report and it ends up on some bookshelf somewhere because what a waste that would be,” Gov.-elect Ned Lamont said.

Lamont said the budget group is separate and they will look at the budget impact of the various components of all 15 policy committees.

“I’m going to look like a laser beam at what it looks like for economic growth,” Lamont said.

As Lamont wandered around the room to get a sense of what the groups were talking about he heard the transportation committee talking about how the “Public-Private-Partnership” legislation sunsets this year and was difficult to work with. He also heard about shortages in the nursing field from the health care committee and about food security from the agriculture committee.

As far as arts and culture is concerned, Lamont told the group that it’s the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and Connecticut has some great tribute bands and a town named Woodstock.

“Maybe we should host our own Woodstock tribute anniversary special,” Lamont said to laughs and applause.

Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Diverse group of volunteers (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

He said each of the 15 policy committees compliment each other and are all important to how Connecticut moves forward.

He said after getting the feedback the proposals he will make won’t be different than what he proposed on the campaign trail. Each of the members of the transition committees received the 72-page document of proposals Lamont made on the campaign trail, but were told they could think outside those parameters.

“I’m gonna have a workplace that accommodates the 21st century family,” Lamont said. “I was serious when I talked about paid family medical leave.”

He also touted his support of an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

He asked everyone to stay involved and not to make it a one-day meeting.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, a Republican who ran for lieutenant governor, said she’s happy to help with the transition.

“Governing is different than the campaign,” Stewart said.

She said the partisan bickering needs to go away in order to move the state forward.

Stewart was one of more than a dozen Republicans in the room helping with the transition. Others included Republican Thad Gray and Greg Butler, executive vice president and general counsel for Eversource.

Lamont said he needs to make sure all voices are heard in this process.

The policy committees will not be involved with any personnel issues. Lamont has yet to hire a budget director or a chief of staff.

Lamont said he was close to filling both positions and plans to make an announcement about his chief of staff within a week.

Outgoing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had a 22-member transition team. By the first week in December, Malloy had hired Tim Bannon as his chief of staff, Ben Barnes as his budget director, and retiring Supreme Court Justice Joette Katz as his Department of Children and Families commissioner.

Bannon was the only one of the three who didn’t serve all eight years.

First Lady Cathy Malloy attended the meeting Tuesday and will be co-chairing Lamont’s Criminal Justice committee.

Gov.-elect Ned Lamont welcomes transition committees at ECSU

Posted by on Tuesday, November 27, 2018