lamont adam joseph
Gov. Ned Lamont and his communications director Adam Joseph on May 25, 2023. Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsjunkie

Adam Joseph, communications director for Gov. Ned Lamont, will leave his position as the governor’s chief spokesman on Thursday and begin a new role Friday as a vice chancellor of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system.

Joseph, who will depart the gubernatorial communications job about nine months after he assumed the role, has long helped to craft the messaging of Connecticut Democrats. He previously served as chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz after stints as spokesman for Senate Democrats, Senate President Martin Looney, and former New Haven Mayor John DeStafano, Jr among others.

He will be the first to serve in the new position — called vice chancellor for external affairs — under CSCU Chancellor Terrence Cheng. On Monday, Joseph described the new job as including overseeing the system’s government relations and communications teams while managing outreach to the state legislature and its federal congressional delegation.

In a statement Monday, the governor praised his outgoing spokesman as a passionate public servant. 

“Adam has been a senior member of this administration from day one and a trusted advisor to several elected officials for many years before that,” Lamont said. “His significant experience with state and local government, work ethic, and reliably good judgment will be a tremendous asset to CSCU as it continues on its mission of providing services that contribute to the education of our residents and the economic growth of our state.”

Joseph’s transition to the CSCU system was first reported back in September by columnist Kevin Rennie on his Daily Ructions blog. 

The new position comes after a contentious budget cycle for the troubled university system. In April, Cheng and other CSCU officials clashed with Lamont and legislative leaders over funding levels, which they argued would necessitate tuition hikes and layoffs. 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Connecticut as a member of the Lamont/Bysiewicz administration,” Joseph said in a statement. “I am grateful for the opportunity to continue in public service and work with Chancellor Cheng and the incredible team over at the CSCU system.”

Joseph will receive about $218,000 in the new position, a step up from the $148,000 salary he earned as the governor’s spokesman. As of Monday afternoon, the administration had not yet announced who would step into the role as Lamont’s communications director. 

Asked Monday to reflect on his time with the administration, Joseph recalled the massive scale of the state’s COVID-19 response while he was serving as Bysiewicz’s chief of staff as well as the intensity of coordinating the logistics of Lamont’s appearance at an emergency press conference in response to a tanker truck crash and resulting fire that shut down the southbound lanes of the Gold Star Bridge in April. 

Joseph also pointed to an unexpected meeting between Lamont and former Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who became a national figure after he resisted pressure during a recorded phone call with former President Donald Trump, who urged Raffensperger to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.  

As Joseph tells it, Lamont and members of his communications team were in the Hall of the House of Representatives, rehearsing budget remarks he would deliver to the legislature the following day. Raffensperger, who would address a Hartford forum on election security, was touring Connecticut’s historic state Capitol building while he was in town. 

“The governor hopped down [from the House dais] and greeted him and thanked him for his service to the country and his dedication to the constitution,” Joseph recalled. “It wasn’t on my bingo card of things I thought would happen over the course of my service.”