State treasurer Blankley joins Wooden’s team for transition
GREENWICH — Once opponents but now allies, Greenwich resident John Blankley has joined the transition of team for new state treasurer-elect, Shawn Wooden.
Blankley ran for the position, but he failed to muster the needed support at the Democratic Party’s state convention last spring. Instead, Blankley threw his support behind Wooden, a former city council president in Hartford, in his successful Democratic primary against Greenwich resident Dita Bhargava. Wooden then beat Republican Thad Gray in the general election earlier this month.
Now, as Wooden prepares to take office in January, Blankley is showing his support by joining the 10-person Transition Advisory Committee.
“As treasurer-elect, I am committed to attracting the best quality talent and ideas to my transition and my service,” Wooden said in a statement to Greenwich Time. “John and I were competitors early in the campaign, and I came to know and respect his extensive experience with finance, operations and investments. He is clearly dedicated to improving Connecticut’s fiscal condition, and I am delighted he has agreed to serve my transition team.”
Wooden made the official announcements earlier this week. The committee is chaired by Hartford attorney Dan Papermaster, who has previously served on transition teams for U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman.
Vonda Brunsting, Darrell Hill, Duane Hill, Jason Rojas, Linda Savisky, Ted See, Christine Shaw and Stacy Walsh make up the rest of the transition team.
Blankley is a former high-ranking executive at several large corporations, including British Petroleum North America and Stolt Tankers and Terminals. He founded and still heads a successful IT company in Connecticut.
His business experience was a major part of his campaign for state treasurer, and it is expected to be the basis of his work to help Wooden prepare to head a 130-member staff and more than $60 billion in assets.
Those assets include the pension funds for more than 190,000 state employees and public school teachers across Connecticut. Much of the state’s deficit has been blamed on its unfunded liabilities with pensions. Solving that issue is expected to be a priority for governor-elect Ned Lamont and the state legislature.
The transition team is split into three subcommittees: personnel, operations and policy recommendations. Blankley will be a member of both the operations and policy subcommittees.
On Friday, Blankley said he was looking forward to the work.
“I am honored to have been invited to join treasurer-elect Wooden’s transition team,” Blankley said. “We represent a broad range of skills to meet our objective of ensuring a smooth handover from Treasurer Denise Nappier. (As part of the) operational and policy committees, my contribution will be my years of business experience to help the new treasurer address some of our state’s financial problems. I am looking forward to the challenge.”
In announcing his transition team, Wooden said, “I look forward to serving the people of Connecticut by tackling some of the significant challenges we face while maximizing the opportunities we have to invest in the right priorities that will improve our state. I am honored to have this breadth and depth of experienced professionals to assist me in transitioning into this important office.”
Current State Treasurer Denise Nappier, who was the first African-American state treasurer in the nation, did not run for a new term. After 19 years in the job, she was the longest-serving treasurer in Connecticut since 1818.