There was talk earlier today the legislature’s Democrats were eliminating the position of state Business Advocate, created in 2006 by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and the General Assembly, to help cut the deficit.
Rell tapped former Republican U.S. Congressman Rob Simmons for the job in February, 2007.
But ultimately the Democrats decided today instead to only cut Simmons’ budget and transfer the job from the governor’s budget office to the state Office of Economic and Community Development.
“Rob’s a good guy,” Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford, said in an interview. “I don’t want to see the guy lose his job. I mean that.”
Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, told his colleagues it was not lost on the GOP the only office Democrats targeted for cuts today was that held by a former Republican Congressman.
“We can’t do that stuff. We really can’t do that stuff,” McKinney said.
The whole discussion got me wondering why, if Simmons is eventually shown the door, some of his duties couldn’t be assumed by Lt. Gov. Mike Fedele.
Fedele, a Stamford native and businessman, was tapped as Rell’s running mate in 2006 because of his business experience and has been a defacto business advocate over the past two years both locally and abroad in Europe and China.
In an interview with me as he prepared to assume office in early 2007, Fedele said: “I’m a natural fit to … work with the new commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development to stimulate job creation and attract business.”
Sounds pretty much like what Simmons does.