The Record-Journal of Meriden has published an interesting profile of soon-to-be Speaker Chris Donovan (D-Meriden), chronicling his rise from community organizer (thank you SO MUCH presidential campaign, now I cringe when I hear that phrase) to lawmaker to Speaker-presumptive.
Of interest is that apparently Donovan is planning on leaving the job he currently holds with the SEIU (Service Employees International Union), where he represents community college workers.
Donovan says his longtime involvement with organized labor does not create a conflict of interest. It is a part-time legislature and lawmakers have to work at other jobs, he said. He likens it to lawmakers whose careers make them experts in areas like health care or education. Careers outside the General Assembly add to a legislator’s breadth of knowledge and experience, he said.
Still he plans to leave his job with the Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges when he becomes speaker, hoping to preempt any criticism or appearance of a conflict, he said.
But even while Donovan looks to curb accusations, he has hired a union political director to serve on his staff. Rick Melita, who has often lobbied in Hartford for the Connecticut State Employees Association, began working for Donovan two weeks ago and will deal with policy issues as Donovan makes the transition to his new role. (Falcone)
I have a feeling that he’s going to find himself dogged by the union issue for at least a little while, if not longer.
The entire article is well worth a read as the 2009 session rapidly approaches. Donovan is hiring staff and will decide on committee chairmanships over the next month.
Falcone, Amanda. “Donovan got organized a long time ago.” Record-Journal 15 November, 2008.