Gov.-elect Ned Lamont addresses the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches on Saturday at the Hartford Hilton. Keith M. Phaneuf /
Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell

The administration of Gov. Ned Lamont is shaping up as one of the most racially diverse in Connecticut history with the nominations Friday of two African Americans and one Latina as the commissioners of three state agencies: Housing, Insurance and Public Health.

After confirming the selections of housing and insurance commissioners that were reported earlier by the Connecticut Mirror, the administration closed out the day by announcing the nomination of Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell as the next commissioner of public health.

Coleman-Mitchell, now the executive director for Cougar Health Services at Washington State University, worked the Connecticut Department of Public Health for 14 years years before leaving as a section chief. She previously was the deputy health director in Hartford and the executive director of a health clinic in Meriden.

“Renée knows Connecticut’s public health community well and has the right experience and leadership skills to help achieve our goal of making our state even healthier,” Lamont said in a statement. “I look forward to having her on our team and am confident that, along with the capable staff at the agency, we will be ready to face these important challenges.”

Coleman-Mitchell has a master’s in public health from Yale University and a bachelor’s from Connecticut College.

The others nominated earlier Friday are Andrew N. Mais as insurance commissioner  and Seila Mosquera-Bruno as housing commissioner.

Andrew Mais
Seila Mosquera-Bruno

Mais is an insurance industry regulatory specialist at Deloitte and a former Cablevision talk show host. Mosquera-Bruno is the president and chief executive officer of the Mutual Housing Association of South Central Connecticut, which does business as NeighborWorks New Horizons.

All three face confirmation by the General Assembly. The remaining departments without nominees for commissioner are Motor Vehicles, Education, Social Services, and Agriculture.

Eight of the 23 department heads nominated by Lamont are black or Hispanic.

In December, Lamont addressed “The 94 % Black Leadership Summit,” a reference to election the estimate that 94 percent of African-Americans voted for Lamont, and promised to assemble an administration that provided employment and contracting opportunities for everyone.

His running mate, Susan Bysiewicz promised during the campaign, “Ned and I are committed to building the most diverse administration the state has ever seen.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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  1. Good for him. The only thing that matters for each of the department heads is how much expense they’ll cut from their respective budgets. They could be purple with pink hair and it wouldn’t matter.

    1. But everyone knows cutting Dept budgets isn’t how our new Governor will proceed to solve CT’s decades long problems. Bring on the new taxes !

  2. I would give Gov Lamont a B- on his staff picks. He has selected some highly qualified, skilled professionals. However, his choice for OPM, appears to be more politically motivated,, than based on accomplishments and success.

  3. I really do not care about a person’s racial or ethnic heritage – I thought we are all Americans – no hyphens required. The more the media and politicians focus on ‘diversity’, the more some group is going to feel left out. We are all humans and we are (hopefully) all citizens of this great country. I only care about a person’s character and capability. First priority is their ability to do the job and whatever group they come from or are associated with is irrelevant.

    Given our current fiscal state WatsonAL has it right – how can they reduce the cost of our state’s government and the associated burden on the taxpayers.

  4. Why is the left so hung up on racial diversity? Diversity is great. I believe that Diversity is one of the things that did make America great. We were getting to that point at which MLK’s dream of a world in which a person’s race didn’t matter, but we made a sharp turn about ten years ago, and now we are at a point in which race is the ONLY thing that matters.

    I would point of something that I believe actually IS important, and that is the fact that each one of these selections has significant, solid experience in their field. Also include the new Director of DCF, a black woman, however, a black woman with 28 solid years of exprience in the Departments and someone who would seem to know all of the areas of improvement that is needed. Contrast these selection with those of the previous Gov, especially for head of DCF. A former judge and close ally of the Gov, not in the least bit qualified, but she was a woman, and what happened? At least two children died.

    I think all of these selections are great, but they are great because of their competency profile which is what should be emphasized and should be lauded.

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