Courtesy of Susan Bysiewicz

As newly inaugurated Gov. Ned Lamont SOM ’80 and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz ’83 begin their tenures, New Haven’s influence and interests will be well-represented by a team of the city’s political veterans in Hartford.

Just prior to their Jan. 9 initiation into Connecticut’s first and second–highest offices, respectively, Lamont and Bysiewicz each announced their top staff appointments. While Lamont’s team has yet to include a high-ranking staffer from the Elm City, all five of Bysiewicz’s top aides are veterans of New Haven politics at various levels of government.

“To have New Haven so well represented speaks to the prominent role the city plays in statewide planning for a vibrant Connecticut going forward,” mayoral spokesperson Laurence Grotheer told the News. “Mayor Harp is looking forward to a productive working relationship with Gov. Lamont and his administration … [and] knows that Gov. Lamont understands the vital role of New Haven and other Connecticut cities in the future of this state.”

In a Dec. 31 New Haven press release, Bysiewicz publicized her picks for her five senior-most staffer positions: chief of staff, general counsel, press secretary and two senior advisors. Of her five appointments, two attended college in New Haven. Two have experience working for the city’s representatives at the federal level, three have worked for politicians representing New Haven at the state level and two are alums of City Hall.

Bysiewicz’s top aide — Chief of Staff Adam Joseph — was tapped from the team of longtime State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven. Joseph served as Bysiewicz’s deputy director of communications when she was Connecticut’s secretary of state, a post she held for more than a decade — from 1999 to 2011. He also previously worked in the administration of then-Mayor John DeStefano in both communications and legislative positions.

Cherie Phoenix-Sharpe, who has served as New Haven’s deputy corporation counsel since 2014, was named Bysiewicz’s chief legal advisor. Both of the lieutenant governor’s senior advisors are veterans with experience on campaigns and national-level races.

Samuel Carmody, a graduate of Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, transitioned from his position as Bysiewicz’s campaign manager in both the 2018 primary and general election to the role of senior advisor for legislative affairs. Carmody brings to the table a wide range of experience in Connecticut politics. He worked for former State Attorney General George Jepsen and current U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-New Haven. In November, DeLauro was re-elected to her 14th term, representing the state’s third congressional district — which encompasses New Haven and most of its suburbs.

Bysiewicz’s other senior advisor is also a DeLauro insider. Jimmy Tickey, who oversees economics and community development for the lieutenant governor, spent the past eight years as DeLauro’s campaign manager.

Naming Tickey to the post of senior advisor is consistent with Bysiewicz’s campaign promises to set economic and community development as a top priority of the new government’s goals.

“[DeLauro and I] developed a special bond on four re-election campaigns,” Tickey told the News. “I learned from the best not just about politics, but how you can make government work for people and get results for working families … [Bysiewicz and I] have spent a lot of time together discussing an economic agenda that helps small businesses and fosters good economic development for all Connecticut families.”

Bysiewicz highlighted the need to remedy the Nutmeg state’s economy and managing budgetary concerns during her campaign. Connecticut has struggled with its finances in recent years — Hartford received a bailout from the state last 2018, diverting state funding, and New Haven continues to address its own financial woes.

Finally, Bysiewicz named another New Havener to the position of press secretary. Juliemar Ortiz, previously a press aide with the Senate Democrats, began her career as a journalist with the New Haven Register after graduating from Southern Connecticut State University.

In an interview with the News, Grotheer said he was familiar with all members of the Bysiewicz team, given their backgrounds in the politics of New Haven. The high proportion of Elm City political alumni is significant in underscoring the status of New Haven as one of Connecticut’s most important areas, according to Grotheer.

“Our administration is committed to growing our economy by supporting small businesses, investing in infrastructure, ensuring equal pay for equal work, developing our workforce and honoring our veterans,” said Bysiewicz in the press release. “I am proud to announce a team that brings both diverse perspectives as well as strong experience in local, state and federal government.”

Bysiewicz was inaugurated on Jan. 9.

Angela Xiao | angela.xiao@yale.edu