The Social Equity Council, as dictated by the adult-use cannabis law, Public Act 21-1, consists of 15 members, seven (7) of whom are appointed by legislators, four (4) of whom are appointed by the governor, and four (4) of whom are ex-officio members.

 

Ginne-Rae Clay - Interim Executive Director 

Clay is an accomplished senior executive with more than 35 years of expertise in government, organizational management, education, community action, and community engagement. Most recently, she served with the City of Bridgeport as the deputy director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development and director of the Office of Housing and Community Development in a position that required her to oversee the management and coordination of multiple city departments, administer the city’s Housing and Urban Development grant programs, and create and negotiate its contracts, among other housing and community development programs.

In 2011 and 2012 she served as an adjunct professor at Central Connecticut State University’s School of Business, from 2007 to 2012 as state director for the Connecticut Small Business Development Center, and from 1987 to 2007 she held several senior level positions at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

Clay is also actively involved with several boards and community organizations. She is currently the president of the Greater Waterbury NAACP, and is a member of the ACLU of Connecticut’s board of directors, the Waterbury Diversity Council, the Waterbury Development Corporation, and Waterbury Voices. She has earned a master’s degree from the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business and Public Administration, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut.

 

Interim Deputy Commissioner Andrea Comer, Committee Chairwoman - Consumer Protection Commissioner's Designee

Interim Commissioner Comer will be filling the role of Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection or designee. Andréa has been appointed as a Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Consumer Protection, after serving as Chief External Affairs Officer for the CT Paid Leave Authority. Previously, she led communications, strategic planning and workforce development efforts for business, government and nonprofit entities.

Andréa has served on the Hartford Board of Education, as Chair of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Greater Together Advisory Committee, and as Chair of the CT NAACP’s Education Committee. She currently serves as Vice Chair of Five Frogs and on the boards of the Hartford Public Library and the state’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission.

Andréa has a BA in journalism from SUNY Buffalo State, is an Aspen Executive Leadership alum, and a UConn MPA Fellow. She was an inaugural recipient of the 100 New England Women of Color Award and has been recognized by the CT Commission on Children, YMCA, Urban League of Greater Hartford and the CT NAACP.

 

Joseph Williams - Governor's Appointee

Joseph Williams will be filling the role of an individual with a professional background of at least five years working in economic development. A resident of Hartford, Williams is a business advisor and international trade specialist for the Connecticut Small Business Development Center in the School of Business at UConn. Growing up in the Springfield, Massachusetts, public school system, he understands the importance of having a high-quality education and equal opportunity for all. Williams began his career having established his first entrepreneurial endeavor within five years of completing undergraduate studies and embarking on a successful corporate career. He continues to own and operate a small business in Connecticut called DST Construction, which undertakes residential redevelopment projects throughout the state.

 

Dr. Kelli Vallieres  - Governor's Appointee

Dr. Vallieres will be filling the role of an executive branch official focused on workforce development. Dr. Vallieres serves as executive director of the Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategies. Prior to joining state government, she worked for more than 20 years as the CEO of two manufacturing companies in Connecticut, has a PhD in adult experiential learning, and serves on the boards of several workforce-focused organizations across the state.

 

Marilyn Alverio - Governor's Appointee

Alverio is the founder and creator of Latinas & Power Symposium, which was established in 2004 as a professional network of Latinas who collaborate and support each other through their career and business journey. In 2019, the group expanded and she became CEO of Latinas & Power Corp. The nonprofit organization continues to grow at the local, national, and global level with in-person and new virtual platforms throughout the world and a mission to develop influential leaders and community advocates. Throughout her 35-year corporate career, she held numerous management positions in the airline, pharmaceutical, health, and financial services industries. Most recently, she retired from Mass Mutual, where she was a marketing strategist and consultant.

 

Commissioner David Lehman - Ex Officio Member

Commissioner Lehman will be filling the role of Commissioner of the Department of Economic & Community Development Commissioner or designee.

 

Secretary Melissa McCaw - Ex Officio Member

Secretary McCaw will be filling the role of Secretary of the Office of Policy & Management Secretary or designee.

 

Treasurer Shawn Wooden - Ex Officio Member

Treasurer Wooden will be filling the role of the State Treasurer or designee.

 

Subira Gordon - Speaker of the House Appointee

The appointee must be one with professional background of at least five years working in social justice or civil rights.

 

Michael Jefferson - Senate President Appointee

The appointee must be one with professional background of at least five years working in social justice or civil rights.

 

Edwin Shirley - Senate Majority Leader Appointee

The appointee must be one with professional background of at least five years in providing access to capital to racial and ethnic minorities or women.

 

Corrie Betts - House Minority Leader Appointee

The appointee must be one who is from a community that has been disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition and enforcement.

 

Avery Gaddis - Senate Minority Leader Appointee

The appointee must be one who has a professional background of not less than five years in providing access to capital to minorities, as defined in section 32-9n of the general statutes;----- to racial and ethnic minorities or women.

 

Ramón Arroyo - Black and Puerto Rican Caucus (BPRC) Chair Appointee

This appointment does not need to meet any specific qualifications.

 

Ojala Naeem - House Majority Leader Appointee

This appointment must be one with professional background of at least five years working in economic development to help minority-owned businesses.

 

One (1) appointment to the council is forthcoming from the Office of the Governor.