HARTFORD, CT — Six months into his first term Gov. Ned Lamont is making some changes and restructuring some of the staff in his office.
Jonathan Harris, who dropped out of the governor’s race last April and endorsed Lamont, will move from the Office of Policy and Management to the governor’s office. Harris, who has had an extensive political career as mayor, state senator, deputy treasurer, and former Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner, will become Lamont’s senior advisor.
Harris was brought over to the Capitol late in the session to help negotiate legislation.
Harris replaces Colleen Flanagan Johnson, who will leave at the end of the month to return to Cigna.
Harris’ role will be to coordinate the legislative, policy and communication functions of the governor’s office, each of those functions have suffered for one reason or another in the first few months of Lamont’s term.
Maribel La Luz, Lamont’s communications director, will move over to the Department of Economic and Community Development. Max Reiss, who joined NBC 30 as Connecticut’s Chief Political Correspondent in 2014, will become Lamont’s director of communications and Rob Blanchard, who has been Lamont’s traveling press secretary since the campaign, will become the deputy communications director.
Paul Mounds, one of Lamont’s first hires, will continue in his role as chief operating officer, a position created by Lamont. He will also take on a new role of deputy chief of staff.
Jonny Dach, who was the deputy chief of staff, will continue in his role as director of policy.
“Following my first legislative session, I conducted a holistic review to evaluate my office structure and needs relative to my goals,” Lamont said. “Both Jonathan and Paul’s expertise and historical knowledge of state government are natural fits in these new roles. Parallel to that, I wanted to take the opportunity to augment DECD’s business development efforts with someone like Maribel, whose private sector business-to-business experience at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as her state and local government experience, will help deepen and broaden DECD’s outreach and advocacy efforts.”
Lamont said he would leverage “Max’s political, policy, and new media experience” at the same time as elevating Blanchard’s position.
Lamont also thanked Flanagan Johnson for her work getting his office situated.
“Colleen was clear with me last fall that her tenure in my office would be limited, and I am grateful for her hard work to get my administration off the ground. I’m confident that these adjustments will serve us well as we prepare for the next legislative session and beyond.”