Gov.-elect Ned Lamont plucked his first appointee from the General Assembly on Wednesday, naming Rep. Chris Soto, D-New London, as his director of legislative affairs, as well as Maribel La Luz as communications director and his campaign manager, Marc Bradley, to oversee external and constituent affairs.
The appointments of Soto and La Luz are the governor-elect’s first Hispanic hires. La Luz is communications director for the 17-school Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system. She previously held similar posts for the city of Hartford and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Soto will resign before the legislature opens its 2019 session on Jan. 9, creating a vacancy to be filled by a special election. Soto is a Coast Guard Academy graduate who left the service after five years of active duty. He also has a master’s degree in public administration from Brown University.
“Marc, Maribel and Chris will have key roles in ensuring my office is accessible to people across the state of Connecticut – from constituents to local leaders, media, businesses and the legislature,” Lamont said in a statement. “I’m excited for them to be an integral part of my team.”
Soto was elected in 2016, defeating Rep. Ernest Hewett in a Democratic primary. He is well-regarded in the House, where leaders named him vice chair of the Appropriations Committee in his first term.