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Gov. Lamont announces staffing changes for second term

Both chief of staff Paul Mounds and general counsel Nora Dannehy will step down.

HARTFORD, Conn. — There will be some new names and faces in the Lamont administration as it heads to a second four-year term at the Capitol.

A week ago, the incumbent Democrat won reelection, beating Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski.

Tuesday morning, Gov. Ned Lamont laid out plans for term two, announcing the appointments of a new chief of staff and general counsel. 

RELATED: Connecticut Democrats celebrate continued power, gains in legislature

Both chief of staff Paul Mounds and general counsel Nora Dannehy will step down when Lamont’s first term ends.

“It’s a little bittersweet for me, but that's what a transition is all about,” Lamont said. “I'm incredibly optimistic about how far we've come in the last four years and we're just getting started.” 

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Tuesday Lamont announced current policy director Jonathan Dach will replace Paul Mounds as chief of staff.

State comptroller Natalie Braswell will take over for Nora Dannehy as general counsel after her year-and-a-half of service.

“We've been thinking about this for a while,” Lamont continued. “It's going to be a smooth transition.” 

Mounds spoke about his departure, saying he “never thought he’d be considered for a role like this” and is grateful for the opportunity. 

“I know I'm leaving this in good hands,” Mounds said. “This is an amazing governor. This is the best governor in the nation and I would say that to anyone.” 

Mounds previously served as Lamont's chief operating officer and prior to this administration, worked with former governor Dannel Malloy. 

“This governor and this team can serve for another four years and continuously move the state forward like it's never been seen before,” said Mounds.

There’s no word yet on where the two exiting staffers could end up, but Mounds did say he wouldn’t be going far. 

Lamont added his office will make more announcements soon about other positions. He will be sworn in for his second term January 4. 

RELATED: Coming off election victory, Lamont considering gas tax cut extension

The same day the state legislature will begin its next session, but lawmakers could be meeting sooner than that. 

There were talks early this week about a possible special session to address the expiring gas tax holiday.

“I don't think we want to have a cliff on the gas,” Lamont said. “Starting on December 1, I think we got to have a meeting, Special Session before that.”

The gas tax holiday is set to end December 1 and legislators on both sides of the aisle want a special session to extend that suspension.

Tuesday, Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) released a statement urging lawmakers to call a special session to not only extend the gas tax suspension, but to address home heating assistance.

They wrote, “Connecticut Republicans have been pushing to extend gas tax relief since the spring. We need a special session now because Democrats refused to act for months.”

“We look forward to conversations with the Governor and Democratic leaders so that we can make your voices heard and advocate for more than just relief at the gas pump as inflation persists… There’s no reason why our families shouldn’t be getting the help and relief they need now.”

At Tuesday’s press conference, Lamont said his team is in talks with legislative leaders and he is in support of a special session.

“We just had preliminary conversations just to understand so they can prepare their members going forward for later in the week,” said Mounds.

They didn’t share a date yet on when this special session could take place–Mounds said it would be up to legislative leadership, but Lamont agreed sooner is better.

Emma Wulfhorst is a political reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at ewulfhorst@fox61.com. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


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