Today Stamford resident and businessman Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele’s office announced he and his wife will be visiting China all next week on a “humanitarian and trade mission.”
Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell imposed an out-of-state travel ban to help address the deficit, but Fedele’s office said the couple’s expenses are being footed by two co-sponsors – the National Lieutenant Governors Association and the People’s Friendship Organization.
“(They) are sponsoring the entire trip–flights, lodging, meals, ground transportation, everything–and that includes for spouses and staff,” Fedele spokesman Laura Fanelli wrote me in an e-mail.
Other Lieutenant Governors making the trip are from Nevada, Kansas, Alabama and Wisconsin.
Their itinerary, according to Fanelli, includes: Tours of various economic development zones in Beijing followed by meetings with Beijing’s assistant foreign minister, vice minister of commerce and the vice premiere; a visit to the Chengdu Panda Research Center and a meeting with the lieutenant governor of the Sichuan Province; a visit to the city of Mianyang, site of the disastrous earthquake; and a visit to Shanghai.
As is the case with most lieutenant governors, Fedele often has to struggle for media attention. But the job does have its travel perks.
About a year ago Fedele and his wife joined a state economic delegation on Northwest Airline’s inaugural flight from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks to Amsterdam.
Fedele spent about a week marketing the state to businesses in Germany, Italy and elsewhere, then he and his wife took a few days’ vacation in Italy.
Fedele’s office at the time said while the state covered the official portion of the trip, Fedele paid to have his wife accompany him and the couple was also responsible for any bills accrued on their sojourn in Italy.