After winning two months ago, Ned Lamont will be sworn in as the 89th Governor of Connecticut on Wednesday, January 9th . Lamont, 65, will take over a projected state budget deficit of $1.7 billion. Lamont is ambitious to govern and says he will start working hard to fix the state’s problems on day one. Ruling out income tax hikes and tolls for cars Lamont says he will likely add truck only tolls and will create a better relationship with the business community. Expectations for Lamont are high but some are questioning if he will be able to deliver. The deficit is projected to increase and Lamont will have to make tough decisions to balance the budget.
Lamont has already began to assemble a staff. He named Ryan Drajewicz as his Chief of Staff. Drajewicz is a native of Connecticut and worked for former Senator Chris Dodd before taking a job with Stamford based Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world. Lamont also named Melissa McCaw as the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. McCaw, the former CFO for Hartford, will oversee the state budget and work with Lamont to create a budget. Lamont created a new role for his administration, the Chief Operating Officer. He named Paul Mounds to serve as a liaison between state departments and agencies. Other high profile appointments include Colleen Flanagan Johnson as a Senior Advisor, Maribel La Cruz as Communications Director, Chris Soto as Director of Legislative Affairs, Joe Giulietti as Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, and Rollin Cook as the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections
What is clear in Lamont’s picks for his staff and leaders of state agencies is that Lamont wants new and experienced people to work for him. Lamont has chosen people from both the private and public sector for his senior staff. Drajewicz as Chief of Staff brings an approach from someone who has worked for both a private corporation and the government. Joe Giulietti as the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation will bring a new perspective to the department. Giulietti previously served as President of Metro-North Railroad and has worked on transportation projects all across the country. Rollin Cook, who previously headed the corrections department in Utah, brings an immense amount of experience in criminal justice and prison reform to the Corrections Department in Connecticut.
Ned Lamont has a herculean task in front of him. All eyes are on him and the people of Connecticut need him to deliver. It is important that the people of Connecticut understand that change will not happen quickly. It can only happen slowly over time and the people of the state need to be patient and proactive.