Eversource executive could compete for governor
Dannel P. Malloy and Tom Foley never had much to agree on — except Greg Butler.
The major power company executive was a token Republican on Malloy’s 2010 gubernatorial transition team and was tabbed for a similar role by Foley had the GOP nominee prevailed in that tight race.
Now Butler, an executive vice president and general counsel of Eversource Energy, may have designs of his own of being governor.
“I’m flattered that people have asked me to consider doing this,” Butler said. “I care a lot about the state of Connecticut and our future and I’m not ruling it out.”
The 59-year-old former Justice Department senior attorney-adviser under President George H.W. Bush avoided criticizing Malloy, a Democrat who is undecided on whether to seek a third term next year. He would not elaborate on his future.
Malloy declined to comment through a spokeswoman Thursday.
Liz Kurantowicz, a former chief of staff for the Connecticut GOP and political consultant from Fairfield, said Butler is held in high esteem.
“It I were to ascribe one characteristic to him it would be a leader,” Kurantowicz said. “We need a fresh approach to the way we do business here in the state. I think he’s got a tremendous background. He’s a great person. The state would be lucky to have a leader like him.”
Butler has never held elected office, a bright-line contrast from the stable of GOP legislators and mayors competing for governor. He would be relying on his law resume and community service record, not to mention references from the New England’s largest energy provider. Whether that’s a help or hindrance to Butler, who resides in the Hartford suburb of Marlborough, remains to be seen.
Northeast Utilities, the predecessor of Eversource, shouldered its share of criticism earlier in Butler’s tenure, especially for its slow restoration efforts after Hurricane Irene and an October nor’easter that dumped heavy snow across the state, both in 2011. The sluggish response forced the resignation of NU subsidiary Connecticut Light & Power President and COO Jeff Butler, who is not related to Butler.
Eversource most recently drew the scrutiny of the CBS news program “60 Minutes,” which pointed to the utility as an example of a company that has used a controversial H-1B visa program to lay off 220 American IT workers and replace them with cheaper workers from overseas. The program has become the bane of Donald Trump, who frequently assailed it during last year’s presidential campaign.
“Three years ago we made strategic changes to our IT department to support the merger of two companies and keep pace with changing technologies to better serve our customers,” said Tricia Taskey Modifica, an Eversource spokeswoman. “We approached this change with sensitivity and respect for the affected employees by offering comprehensive severance packages, career transition and training services, and extended healthcare coverage. It’s important to note, the IT function is an essential part of our capability to provide reliable energy and service to our customers.”
Butler is board chairman of the Connecticut Health Foundation, the state’s largest nonprofit grant-making entity that seeks to improve medical outcomes for underserved populations. He’s a trustee of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, the parent of the Connecticut Public Television and WNPR.
In December, Butler lost his wife of 33 years, Nancy Butler, to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS). She was the founding pastor of Riverfront Family Church, an evangelical church in Hartford.
firstname.lastname@example.org; 203-625-4436; http://twitter.com/gettinviggy