Rob Hotaling won only 12,400 votes running for governor as an Independent Party candidate, but his debate performance impressed certain officials in the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont.
Hotaling, a senior vice president at Webster Bank with a background in digital technology, is being hired as a deputy commissioner in the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Alexandra Daum, the DECD commissioner, said Monday she and her deputy, Paul O. Robertson, separately thought about offering Hotaling a job while watching the second of Hotaling’s two gubernatorial debates with Lamont and Republican Bob Stefanowski.
“We had the idea after watching the last debate,” Daum said. “I remember sitting on my couch thinking. ‘This guy is really smart. He’s got a lot of energy, a lot of good ideas. Is there any chance he’d consider coming to work for me?’ I thought it was kind of a long shot.”
Hotaling starts Feb. 22. He said he was honored to be approached.
“It says a lot about Gov. Lamont’s character,” Hotaling said of the administration hiring a one-time opponent. “In the end, we’re all Nutmeggers and we want the right thing for our state.”
Daum said the hire was her decision, though she signed off with the governor’s office. Lamont said he was unaware the hiring was complete, but he shared her opinion of Hotaling.
“I think the world of Rob. I think he did a very good job during the campaign,” Lamont said. “He comes out of the private sector.”
That is true of Daum and her predecessor, David Lehman.
Hotaling was born in Liberia in 1978 to an American father serving as a Peace Corps volunteer and a Liberian mother. They left for the U.S. after a violent coup in 1980.
He and his wife, Luz, live in Cheshire with their four children.