Governor Lamont and Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Solicit Input From Transition Policy Committees as They Near Their 100th Day in Office
(NEW BRITAIN, CT) – As they approach the 100th day of their administration, Governor Ned Lamont and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz convened a meeting with the co-chairs from each committee of their Transition Policy Working Groups to review the progress of the first 100 days and discuss priorities going forward. The governor and lieutenant governor highlighted their achievements that align directly with the proposals of the committees, solicited input from the chairs regarding priority recommendations the administration should focus on for next four years, and reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that committees meet with relevant commissioners.
The Transition Policy Working Groups were formed in the days following their successful election on November 6, 2018. The incoming administration held a policy summit attended by more than 450 people and announced the creation of 15 committees, which were each assigned a topic encompassing a wide variety of issues critical to Connecticut’s success. Dozens of residents were named to serve on the committees, with their memberships specifically designed to incorporate as many viewpoints as possible, regardless of political affiliation.
Immediately prior to taking the oath of office on January 9, each of the 15 committees supplied the incoming governor and lieutenant governor with policy recommendations to consider during their first days of their administration.
“We are grateful for all the good work of the Transition Policy Working Groups – work that laid the ground for many of the initiatives we’ve taken, from developing a leadership team in state government that is nearly 50 percent women and the most diverse in our state’s history, to eliminating red tape and making our state friendlier to business, to acting on the recommendations that will create a paid family and medical leave program, raise our minimum wage to $15 an hour, and continue our work to reform our state’s system for criminal justice,” Governor Lamont and Lt. Governor Bysiewicz said in a joint statement. “If we are not working together, we are not working. This means staying engaged and staying involved. Together, we are going to grow our economy, improve our communities, and create new opportunity for all of our residents and businesses.”
Many of the Transition Policy Working Group recommendations have already been implemented, including:
- Developing a Leadership Team of Unprecedented Diversity:The Lamont-Bysiewicz administration includes nearly 50 percent women as commissioners, and represents a more diverse set of leaders from different Connecticut communities than any administration in our state’s history.
- Building Better Systems to Improve Government Performance and Use Data: The opportunity for Connecticut government to do better by coordinating across agencies and focusing on performance was a theme across transition policy committees. Further to those thoughts, the administration created the important new position of Chief Operating Officer in the Office of the Governor, which was assumed by Paul Mounds; appointed David Wilkinson, former Director of the White House Office on Innovation, as Chief Performance Officer; and brought in Josh Geballe from IBM as commissioner for the Department of Administrative Services. Together, this team is designing and implementing a strategy to improve data systems and develop new mechanisms to measure and drive performance across government (further to the recommendations of the Digital Strategy Committee). The same team is working to build Connecticut’s Digital Front Door, easing the interface of Connecticut’s citizens with the government services they need, even as the administration advances its efforts to make Connecticut the first 5G state in New England.
- Creating the Role of Chief Economic Development Adviser to the Governor, Revamping the DECD/CERC collaborative: David Lehman is serve as commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and as the governor’s senior economic adviser, a position proposed by the jobs and economy committee, bringing a new level of focus and initiative to the administration’s work to attract and retain the businesses that will get the state growing.
- Advancing Priorities for Women and Families: Drawing on the recommendations developed by the women’s policy committee, the administration proposed implementation of paid family and medical leave for the first time in Connecticut; introduced legislation to move Connecticut toward a $15 an hour minimum wage; and established the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, bringing together leadership from across state government to meet the needs of women and girls.
- Maintaining Momentum on Criminal Justice Reform: Consistent with the recommendations of the criminal justice policy committee, the administration brought a nationally respected leader in criminal justice reform to Connecticut to serve commissioner of the Department of Corrections (DOC) – Rollin Cook – who is working to ensure that Connecticut accelerates its efforts reforming the criminal justice system. The administration has moved forward its proposal to make medication assisted treatment universally available in prisons, including providing the resources to do so in the governor’s budget proposal. Working with the Department of Motor Vehicles, DOC is making a priority of ensuring that every person has a valid state-issued ID at release from incarceration. The administration has also introduced legislation to create a new level of transparency around state prosecutions, and appointed a new slate of experts to the Criminal Justice Commission, including – for the first time in state history – a formerly incarcerated person.
- Advancing Green Energy and Creating New Green Industry Jobs:Further to the recommendations of the energy and environment committees, and together with DECD and the Connecticut Port Authority, the administration is in final negotiations to create a deal that will make New London a hub of the emerging wind power industry, creating tremendous potential for Connecticut to capitalize on this alternative source of energy in future years and bringing scores of new, green jobs to Connecticut.The administration is also working with the legislature to authorize the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to procure a significant portion of Connecticut’s energy needs from wind power.
- Enhancing Coordination Across Government to Build Housing and Promote Transit-Oriented Development: Consistent with the recommendation of the housing policy committee for stronger coordination across state government on these issues, Governor Lamont recruited Lisa Tepper Bates to join the Office of the Governor as Senior Coordinator for Housing and Transit-Oriented Development. In this role, she is facilitating work across state agencies and expediting the administration’s efforts to build the transit-oriented housing that is needed to attract the employers and workforce that is desired in Connecticut.
- Census 2020: As preparations are being made for the upcoming 2020 census, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz launched the Connecticut Complete Count Committee to analyze previous census undercounts and recommend strategies to ensure a full count in Connecticut. An accurate census count is critically important to the state because it is the foundation that helps determine over $11 billion of federal funding allocations. The committee is an advisory panel of community leaders who represent diverse populations from across the state including elected officials, faith leaders, community health centers, chambers of commerce, community activists and heads of housing authorities.
- Promoting Regional Cooperation to Improve Use of Education Funds: Working from the concepts developed by the shared services and education committees, the administration has proposed incentivizing more intensive efforts across the state’s school systems to improve services and preserve much-needed funds for use in the classroom. The administration has proposed legislation that will create a diverse Commission on Shared School Services to survey the state and country for best practices and share them with municipalities. The administration is also re-invigorating the Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations at the Office of Policy and Management to serve as an important resource for towns and the state as they seek to understand and maximize the opportunities of regional cooperation.
- Stepping up Efforts to Combat Opioid Addiction and Overdoses: Further to the discussion of the human services and healthcare committees regarding the need for new efforts addressing the opioid crisis, the administration has launched with the efforts of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services a new coordinated campaign to confront and prevent the increase in opioid addiction across Connecticut – the “LiveLOUD – Live Life with Opioid Use Disorder” statewide awareness campaign, as well as the new Naloxone and Overdose Response (NORA) smartphone app.
- Creating New Opportunities for Connecticut Farmers: Consistent with the views of the agriculture committee, the administration is introducing legislation to expand opportunity for Connecticut’s farmers by launching a robust hemp cultivation program.
Governor Lamont and Lt. Governor Bysiewicz said they will continue consulting with the members of their transition team throughout their administration.