Lamont names leaders of business council
Ned Lamont’s campaign announced the names of a dozen business leaders who, should he be elected governor, would serve on a business advisory council he plans to create.
The list includes the likes of Greenwich resident Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo; Bigelow Tea CEO Cindi Bigelow; Adam Norwitt, CEO of Amphenol; Tony James, vice chairman of Blackstone Group; Travelers CEO Alan Schnitzer; Elliot Joseph, Hartford HealthCare CEO; and Roxanne Coady, RJ Julia Books founder.
Lamont said in an emailed statement that there are more business executives willing to commit after the election.
“This is just an initial list of commitments, and I want to thank these exceptional leaders for committing to help our state,” he said. “We’re going to keep engaging the business community and growing this list of leaders — and we’re all going to work together to get our economy moving together.”
For Lamont, the list is a signal that he is every bit as much of a pro-business candidate as the GOP nominee Bob Stefanowski, a former corporate executive, and unaffiliated candidate Oz Griebel, the former CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance.
It is unclear if any on the list officially endorse Lamont’s campaign, though many, like Nooyi, have previously worked with Lamont and voiced support for his campaign. Lamont has worked hard to separate himself on business policy from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, for example, criticizing the First Five program in which large employers receive state aid.
A spokesman for Schnitzer did not return a request for comment on whether his inclusion on the list constitutes an endorsement. Travelers is one of the largest insurance companies in the country.
Lamont has held roundtable discussions with 60 CEOs throughout the state, according to his campaign. If nothing else, the list showcases Lamont’s connections within the business community. Last year, Lamont helped organize the state’s first bipartisan, cross sector economic development summit at Yale.
GOP nominee Bob Stefanowski often paints Lamont as unfriendly to the business community, and touts an endorsement by the Connecticut political action committee of the National Federation of Independent Business.
“It’s clear when you take the temperature of the business community right now, the vast majority of them would be happier with a Stefanowski governorship than a Lamont governorship because Stefanowski offers them a stable tax environment and a more favorable tax environment,” said Kendall Marr, a spokesman for Stefanowski.
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