A note to whomever wins as Connecticut’s governor for the next four years:
You were (very likely) elected by a skinny margin which means that about half of Connecticut’s voters wanted the other candidate. This means that victory celebrations must be respectful of the half who voted for you and the half that did not.
It also means that, as a leader of this great state, you will have to listen to lots of folks who do not necessarily agree with the direction you have proposed, and you have to find ways to represent all of us. I would like you to reach out to me and others like me, whether we voted for you as the winner or not.
It means as our top-ranking administrator, you will have to expect and demand that all of your appointees represent all of the state, from our rich corners and communities to those cities, towns and people who continue to struggle daily with the stress of scarcity and poverty. I would like your administration to be honest, to be transparent in its policies and investments, to use my tax dollars wisely and frugally, to pay for results and not for business as usual if that business does not result in the betterment of all of our residents.
I would like you to remember where the best return on investment lies, and that is with our youngest children where we can change the trajectory of intergenerational poverty and address our gnarly achievement gap.
And, as a leading edge “baby boomer,” I would like you to promote ways in which new partnerships can be forged between our “olders” and our “youngers,” capitalizing on the wisdom and knowledge of the former and the energy of the latter.
Good luck. I love our state and I hope that you do it proud.
Janice M. Gruendel, Ph.D., of Branford, is a fellow of the Zigler Center in Child Development & Social Policy, Yale University. She has served in state government in numerous leadership roles, most recently as the deputy commissioner of the Department of Children and Families under Commissioner Joette Katz.