Gov. Ned Lamont’s reelection bid wasn’t the only 2022 campaign news this week. House Majority Leader Jason Rojas announced that his Chief of Staff Matthew Brokman would replace Jacqueline Kozin as executive director of the state Democratic party.
“This is a unique and exciting opportunity that will reduce Matt’s visibility in our office, but won’t be taking him away completely,” Rojas wrote in a letter to House Democrats. “Matt will continue to serve as my Chief of Staff and will be with us full-time during the session next year. Until session, and post-session, Matt’s hours will be reduced at the state as he works to help elect Democrats.”
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said in a press release Tuesday that this should not be allowed to happen.
“The notion that the Majority Leader’s chief of staff should be allowed to work part time in that role, collecting a government paycheck, while also running the political shop for Governor Lamont and legislative Democrats seeking re-election, is disturbing and smacks of an arrogance that comes with one-party rule,” Candelora said.
Rojas said that’s a far fetched comment especially since staff for legislative Republicans also work on campaigns.
He pointed to former House Republican Chief of Staff George Gallo who ended up serving time in prison for steering Republican candidates to a direct mail company in Florida in exchange for kickbacks.
Candelora said he’s urging the Joint Committee of Legislative Management to reject the employment arrangement.
“To do otherwise would reflect poorly on all of us while leaving many Connecticut residents questioning our ability to make good decisions here at the capitol,” Candelora said.
Rojas called it a “cheap shot” and said there’s no reason Brokman can’t do both jobs well.
What happens if the House Democratic caucus has to oppose Lamont on an issue?
Rojas said legislators make their own policy decisions and staff serves a supporting role. He said there’s no reason to think that couldn’t happen with Brokman in both roles.
Rojas said all lawmakers have two jobs and serve their constituents in the General Assembly and hold other jobs outside the legislature. He said he doesn’t see a distinction between that and the roles Brokman will serve.
“This is a great fit for Matt and great for all of us, and I think we can all be thankful that he won’t be leaving us during the session,” Rojas wrote in the email.
Brokman has served as chief of staff for the majority leader since former Speaker Joe Aresimowicz was in that role. Brokman worked for AFSCME Council 4 before that and is married to Lindsay Farrell, who is the senior political strategist for the National Working Families Party.