Justin Bernier, the head of the state’s Office of Military Affairs, resigned yesterday after testifying about a bill that could potentially eliminate his office. He said the resignation was not connected to the bill, however, and hasn’t really explained his reasons.
There has been no word on whether he’ll be replaced. Southeastern Connecticut lawmakers, however, feel that the state does need a military advocate, especially if another round of base closures were to threaten the Groton Sub Base, as in 2005. Bernier, as an aide to Rep. Rob Simmons, played a vital role in the effort to save the base that year.
The other problem is that Connecticut is not seen as a military-friendly state, and the elimination of a military affairs office (even one that employs just one person) would reinforce that point of view.
As for what’s next for Bernier (bio here), I heard a few rumblings about his political future yesterday, and poked around. I found this interesting WHOIS record for bernierforcongress.com. It’s heavily protected, there’s no useful registration information. But it’s very recent. The rumors are suggesting that Bernier might soon announce a run against Chris Murphy: you can take that for what it’s worth.
Could be nothing. We’ll see. Again, these are just rumors, Bernier himself hasn’t said anything about his plans.
In the meantime, expect the wrangling over the OMA to continue.