Victim Advocate Natasha Pierre FILE PHOTO

The policy director for Connecticut’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, Natasha Pierre of Windsor, will become the state’s new victim advocate, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Monday.

Pierre, whose role was to develop the commission’s legislative and policy agenda and advocate against gender and racial discrimination, now succeeds Garvin Ambrose as victim advocate.

Pierre also has served on several state commissions, including the Trafficking in Persons Council, the Taskforce on Domestic Violence in Immigrant Communities, the Commission on the Standardization of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations, and the Law Revision Commission’s Domestic Violence Address Confidentiality Committee.

“Attorney Pierre has extensive experience advocating for justice and fairness within all branches of government, the private sector, and nonprofit and community organizations, and I have no doubt that she will continue this advocacy in this important role where she will be responsible for working on behalf of victims to preserve their rights and needs,” Malloy said.

Pierre was the first choice of the Victim Advocate Advisory Committee, a seven-member panel charged with interviewing candidates. The governor must appoint an advocate from among those recommended by the panel.

The advocate, who serves a four-year term, is the ombudsman for crime victims within the criminal justice system and assesses and comments on state services for victims.

“I am honored to be appointed to continue the legacy of my predecessors, and excited about working with an outstanding and dedicated staff to safeguard and advance victims’ rights in Connecticut,” Pierre said.

Before joining the permanent commission, Pierre had served as counsel for Connecticut Legal Services, Inc. and for Western Massachusetts Legal Services, Inc.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from the University of Connecticut and a dual advanced degree in law and social work from UConn’s schools of law and social work.

Ambrose had been the executive assistant state’s attorney in Illinois and legislative liaison for the Cook County state’s attorney before Malloy appointed him back in February. The governor’s office announced Ambrose’s resignation in July to pursue a “professional opportunity” in Chicago.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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