Gov.-elect Ned Lamont took the first steps toward taking on his new job, announcing a transition team he said will focus heavily on Connecticut’s budget and economic development.
The Democrat made the announcement outside the state Capitol on Thursday. He appeared with five leaders of his team, which includes representatives from state government, politics, business and education, shortly after having lunch at the governor’s official residence with his wife Annie and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his wife Cathy.
Lamont said Malloy, who did not seek a third term this year, has “done a lot of thinking about transition,” crediting him with requiring each state commissioner to provide an outline of their respective agency’s priorities and recommendations for the future.
“This is going to be a smooth, and productive and constructive transition,” said Lamont, whose running mate Susan Bysiewicz met privately with outgoing Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman on Thursday. Lamont has not ruled out keeping some of Malloy’s agency heads, but said he will bring in other people from the business and nonprofit worlds. Lamont is the founder of a cable TV company, while his wife is successful venture capitalist.
The director of Lamont’s transition team will be Ryan Drajewicz, a senior management associate at the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates and a one-time staff member of former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd. The other members include Democratic Attorney General George Jepsen, Democratic Rep. Toni Walker of New Haven, Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa Nunez and Garrett Moran, president of the nonprofit organization Year Up and the former COO of Blackstone’s Private Equity Group.
Lamont said the transition team will be divided into groups that will initially concentrate on state budget issues and economic development. He said the team will also look at the organization of state government and the state’s current budget situation. When Lamont takes office in January, he will face an initial, roughly $2 billion deficit in the first year of the typically $40 billion state budget.
Lamont said he wants his advisors to “take a look at the current numbers, as they’re coming in on the revenue side over the next few weeks.” He said they will also closely review the transition memos provided by Malloy’s commissioners “and see where we’ve got to back fill, where we can make some real savings going forward.”
The Democrat previously announced a separate advisory group of business leaders, including CEOs of top Connecticut companies. He said Thursday that group will help him reach out to existing companies in the state and those he hopes to attract to Connecticut.
Lamont’s inauguration is planned for Jan. 9.
Source: The Associated Press