Public office: Lieutenant governor, January 2007 to present; State House of Representatives, 1993 to 2003; Stamford Board of Representatives, 1983 to 1987. Ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2002.
Current post: Lieutenant governor
Michael C. Fedele is running with all the advantages and disadvantages of any lieutenant governor. The advantages include being the only statewide Republican office holder in the race. The main disadvantage is the challenge to establish his own identify without criticizing his current boss, M. Jodi Rell.
“Do we agree all the time? No, no different from any other relationship,” Fedele told The Mirror in February. “Do we agree sometimes? Absolutely.”
Fedele said he is free to disagree with the governor, but he is careful about sharing details. He can offer counsel, but he cannot shape policy. “There’s one governor,” he said.
On two high-profile social issues, Fedele said he would have acted as did Rell, vetoing a bill abolishing the death penalty and signing a bill that codifies into state law a court decision legalizing gay marriage.
But this election is revolving around the economy and the budget, and Fedele tries to separate himself from Rell on those pivotal issues, saying he probably would have vetoed the budget Democrats passed last year and insisted on more spending cuts.
Fedele has called for a four-year hiring and spending freeze and moratorium on all but essential borrowing.
He finished second at the Republican State Convention in May behind businessman Tom Foley, who was able to afford major, early television advertising. In a three-way primary with Foley and Oz Griebel, Fedele is the only Republican seeking public financing for his campaign.
Fedele has labored to establish name-recognition and to qualify for public financing under the Citizens’ Election Program. As Rell discovered before him, holding the No. 2 spot does little to raise an official’s profile unless events thrust the lieutenant into the governor’s office.
Fedele stands with Rell when she faces the press for her monthly press conferences in the atrium of the Legislative Office Building, occasionally interjecting an answer. From their first days in office together, she has included him in budget meetings.
But on the day that Rell announced that she would not seek re-election, Fedele offered an answer to a scrum of reporters outside her office that has proven embarrassing: He asserted he had her endorsement. It has not been forthcoming.
“Mike Fedele, I chose him to be my lieutenant governor. He’s a good candidate. He’d make a good governor. All of them would. I think we’ll let the delegates decide,” Rell said an interview before the convention.
Fedele moved to the U.S. from Minturno, Italy when he was 3 years old. He grew up in Stamford and attended public schools, including Westhill High School, where his classmate in the class of 1973 was the endorsed Democratic candidate for governor, Dan Malloy.
Fedele, who attended Fairfield University, never finished college, but he’s had a successful business career. He is the founder of the Pinnacle Group, an information-technology company that is based in Stamford.
In announcing his candidacy for governor, Fedele said that creating a business-friendly environment will be central to his campaign. “I am running for governor because I believe that Connecticut is facing a defining moment — and that is the revitalization of our economy,” he said during his announcement.
In May, he convinced Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton to drop out of the race and become his running mate, but they will be on different lines on the Republican primary ballot August 10. Boughton won the endorsement and therefore will be on the top line with Foley.
Personal: Fedele, 55, is married to Carol Fedele. They are the parents of three children and reside in Stamford.
Education: Fairfield University, Norwalk State Technical College