Lamont on Jan. 2 chose former 5th District Sen. Beth Bye of West Hartford to lead the Office of Early Childhood.
Bye’s vacancy put in motion a special election that is scheduled for Feb. 26.
The endorsed Democratic nomination in the 5th Senate District is Derek Slap, current Connecticut State Representative for the 19th District, which includes a portion of Farmington and all of West Hartford.
Connecticut’s 5th Senate District is comprised of a most of Farmington, all of West Hartford and Burlington and a portion of Bloomfield.
“I’m committed to being an inclusive, collaborative and tireless advocate on behalf of families in West Hartford, Farmington, Burlington and Bloomfield,” Slap said.
The Hartford Courant reported that Bill Wadsworth of Farmington, a Republican who is a former state representative and ran unsuccessfully against Bye for the 5th State Senate district in 2014, plans a bid for the seat.
Derek makes his home in West Hartford with his wife, Alex, daughters Maggie and Zoe, and son, Charlie. He is vice president of Marketing and Communications with the UConn Foundation. He is also a lecturer in Political Science at Yale University and has been an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University, Central Connecticut State, Southern Connecticut State and Eastern Connecticut State universities.
Experience and Education:
Derek has experience with the legislature. As Chief of Staff for the Senate Democratic Caucus, he managed a 70-person staff, helped achieve significant budget savings and worked with citizen activists to address issues such as gun safety, school security and mental health reforms; GMO labeling; and access to high quality pre-k.
Before his tenure as Chief of Staff, he was Director of Communications for the Senate Democrats for four years. Derek has also been Deputy Chief of Staff/Communications Director for the Secretary of the State, Communications Director for the DeStefano for Governor campaign, and Director of Public Information for the City of New Haven.
You may recognize Derek from TV. He was a news anchor and reporter at NBC Connecticut from 1999 – 2004, and before that worked at TV stations in Florida and CNN Headline News in Atlanta.
Derek earned his MBA from the UConn School of Business and bachelor’s degrees in Broadcast Journalism and International Relations from Syracuse University where he graduated Magna cum Laude.
One of Connecticut’s most immediate and important challenges is enacting an affordable, balanced and sustainable budget. Derek is committed to working across party lines to identify additional spending cuts and make government more efficient wherever possible.
Connecticut’s fiscal health also depends on creating a stronger economy – one that generates more revenue from high-quality jobs. Workforce development, investments in transportation and higher education must play a role.
West Hartford, Avon and Farmington enjoy wonderful public schools and it’s critical – as tough budget decisions are made in Hartford – that they’re not unfairly targeted. Our children deserve a quality education that provides them with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Derek also believes public school teachers must be embraced by policy makers as partners in the effort to strengthen and protect our schools.
Additional legislative priorities:
The wage gap between men and women isn’t only unfair, it’s bad for working families, the economy and Connecticut’s overall competitiveness – Massachusetts just passed a landmark pay equity bill in 2016. Derek supports pay equity legislation that will protect employees and prospective employees from gender-based discrimination on wages and compensation. He believes common sense solutions are achievable and looks forward to working with both parties on this initiative.
Derek wants to improve transparency and accountability at the Metropolitan District Commission. There are a number of proposals that would accomplish this and he’s committed to working collaboratively to move them forward. Details include: adding a non-voting member to the MDC board of directors in the form of a consumer advocate, requiring the MDC to disclose detailed information about applications for land use, zoning, wetlands and tax abatement before it holds a hearing or acts on the request. Derek would also like to see drought protections written into law so bottled water companies cannot continue to pump water from reservoirs during a drought while families are asked to conserve.
Derek also looks forward to sponsoring and/or supporting legislation that creates a small business hotline to help them better navigate state bureaucracy; builds a taskforce to assess and improve the workforce development system; and makes Connecticut more affordable for seniors by exempting social security income from the state personal income tax.