Patricia Baker

President and CEO, Connecticut Health Foundation 


When Patricia Baker became the Connecticut Health Foundation’s (CT Health) founding leader in 1999, she brought over two decades of experience as a visionary and pragmatic leader in health care policy-making, service provision, advocacy, and community engagement. Prior to undertaking the directorship of the foundation, Patricia served as the national program director for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, director of Connecticut government programs at Oxford Health Plans, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, and associate executive director of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

Under Patricia’s leadership, CT Health has become the state’s largest independent health foundation. By using grant-making and technical assistance to improve the health status of Connecticut residents — particularly underserved populations — the foundation has literally changed and saved lives. “But no one can do this work alone,” Patricia says. “I am very proud of the role we play. But I’m also humbled every day when I witness the dedication of our grantees and partners as we work together to build a more equitable system.”

Patricia, who holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in urban and regional planning, is affiliated with a number of policy and planning organizations. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable for the Promotion of Health Equity through the Elimination of Health Disparities; a member of the board of directors of Grantmakers in Health; vice chair of the governor’s Health Care Cabinet; chair of the State Health Improvement Plan advisory council; and serves on several other advisory committees.

Judy Blei

Judy Blei is the principal of Judith Blei Government Relations. Her firm offers legislative advocacy, strategic planning and training to a variety of non-profit and professional clients interested in changing public policy on the state government level.

Her clients include among others, End Hunger Connecticut, the Connecticut Farm Bureau, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, and the Ct Council of Adult and Continuing Education. Advocating for her clients’ interests since the early 90’s, Ms. Blei helped pass landmark legislation that banned soda and other sugary drinks in schools, banned smoking in all workplaces, codified in state law the holdings of Roe vs. Wade, and established a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program.

Gregory B. Butler

Board Chair, Connecticut Health Foundation


Assistant: Kathy Schmidt kathy.schmidt@eversource.com

Gregory B. Butler is senior vice president and general counsel of Eversource Energy. Butler also serves on the board of directors of The Mark Twain House & Museum, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Eversource Energy Foundation, the New England Legal Foundation, and is a committee member of the Energy Bar Association.

Previously, Butler held several positions at Eversource Energy (formerly Northeast Utilities), including secretary, vice president and general counsel, and vice president of governmental affairs. He also served as vice president of federal affairs at New England Electric System and senior counsel at Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, senior attorney with the United States Department of Justice and associate counsel to the minority leader for the New York State Assembly.

In addition to serving as chair, Butler serves on the foundation’s governance and public policy committees.

Judith Feder

Professor, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University                


Judy matches her own contributions to policy with her contributions to nurturing emerging policy leaders. As dean from 1999 to 2008, she built Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute into one of the nation’s leading public policy schools, whose graduates participate in policymaking, policy research, and policy politics, not only throughout Washington but throughout the nation and the world.

Judy Feder is a professor of public policy and, from 1999 to 2008, served as dean of what is now the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. A nationally-recognized leader in health policy, Judy has made her mark on the nation’s health insurance system, through both scholarship and public service. A widely published scholar, Judy’s health policy research began at the Brookings Institution, continued at the Urban Institute, and, since 1984, flourished at Georgetown University. In the late 1980s, Judy moved from policy research to policy leadership, actively promoting effective health reform as staff director of the congressional Pepper Commission (chaired by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV) in 1989-90; principal deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services in former President Bill Clinton’s first term; a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (2008-2011) and, today, as an Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute.                      

Judy is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Public Administration, and the National Academy of Social Insurance; a former chair and board member of AcademyHealth; a member of the Center for American Progress Action Fund Board, the Board of the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the Hamilton Project’s Advisory Council; and a senior advisor to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. In 2006 and 2008, Judy was the Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia’s 10th congressional district. Judy is a political scientist, with a B.A. from Brandeis University, and a master’s and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Kristen Noelle Hatcher

Attorney Hatcher oversees the Public Benefits practice at CLS, the largest legal services program in the state. There she and her unit advocate through individual and class legal representation, as well as systemic advocacy on behalf of low-income people to gain access to healthcare, food assistance, income maintenance, energy assistance, child care assistance and other programs that help individuals meet their basic needs.

Her journey to healthcare access and poverty law began while attending Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT where Hatcher completed course work that examined U.S. History and the impact of race, class, and gender on the shaping and current status of the U.S. health, housing, education, and legal systems. She drew on this knowledge working for a managed Medicaid nonprofit organization serving Connecticut and performing interventional research in the public health system in Denver, CO. This work inspired Hatcher to attend law school, so that she could address health inequities in new forums.

While in law school Hatcher clerked for the Office of the Chief Counsel, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department, Region VIII. Upon graduating from the University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, CO, Hatcher returned to Connecticut and soon thereafter joined CLS. With her colleagues, Hatcher has advocated through class litigation to obtain access to the Department of Social Services for disabled clients and to obtain access to oral health services for children.

She has championed health equity by participating on: the Health Disparities Committee of the Sustinet Board; the CT Commission on Health Equity, where she served on the executive committee and chaired the youth committee; and the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities Regional Health Equity Council for Region I, for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health.

To enhance her advocacy in this arena, Hatcher completed a Health Equity Fellowship with the Connecticut Health Foundation and was invited back to serve as one of the first Senior Fellows for the program, a distinctive honor reserved for two individuals. She completed the Shriver Poverty Law Center’s Racial Justice Institute and is employing the Institute’s skills and resources to launch new advocacy that will address behavioral health needs for teens.

Hatcher currently serves as the Vice Chair on the board for Health Equity Solutions, a Connecticut nonprofit that is one of the lead agencies for health equity policy evolution in the state. Hatcher also advocates for the underserved through lobbying and her seats on legislative councils, including the CT Medical Program Oversight Council and the Equity and Access Council for the State Innovation Model.

Wendy Brown Helmkamp

Partner, The Clarion Group


Wendy is adept at thoroughly understanding her clients’ needs and delivering outcomes that help them to improve their organization’s effectiveness. She is accomplished at taking a strategic idea or conceptual design and understanding what it will take to make it operational. Wendy is valued for her ability to develop solutions with her clients that help them overcome organizational resistance and facilitate change.Wendy Brown Helmkamp has over 20 years of experience in organizational and cultural transformation efforts for large and small companies across a wide range of industries. Her experience includes extensive work helping business leaders address organizational design issues. She is highly skilled at helping her clients navigate change successfully, enhancing the effectiveness of her work.

Alison Johnson

Alison Johnson makes the complex clear in public policy, project management, and advocacy using the power of the written word. She is a consultant to nonprofit organizations and state agencies and has been in private practice since 1997, working with networks of leaders to help them move an agenda forward.

From 1990-1997 she was the Director of the Nonprofit Human Services Cabinet, a collaborative of twenty of Connecticut’s leading associations, coalitions and statewide human service providers. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University. Alison is based in Middletown, Connecticut where she serves as Head Moderator for primary and general elections in the city.

Aranthan (AJ) Jones II

Chief Policy and Communications Officer, Kellogg Foundation


Assistant: Shanelle English, shanelle.english@wkkf.org

Jones comes to the Kellogg Foundation having recently served as the first head of worldwide government affairs for Gilead Sciences a leading biotech company.  In this capacity, he led a global team to develop, advance, and engage public policies and regulations to expand access and pharmaceutical innovation.  Additionally, he led domestic/international cross-functional teams to align strategic communications and public policy engagements for governmental and nongovernmental audiences.Jones leads the execution of policy, communications, and advocacy strategies worldwide.  He manages the foundation’s worldwide communications, policy, and advocacy staff.  Additionally, he has established regional communication and policy network hubs to further advance the foundation’s and its grantees’ strategic priorities.

Prior to joining Gilead, Jones was health practice chairman and principal at the Podesta Group. He served as lead strategist and public policy consultant for Fortune 500 companies, national non-profit organizations, and global foundations at the firm.  He was the company’s first African American health practice chairman and the only African American health chairman of a top-ranked lobbying firm.  Additionally, he served on the firm’s management committee and was co-chairman of its investment committee.

Before joining the Podesta Group, Jones was the policy director for the U.S. House of Representatives (USHR) Majority Whip office, headed by Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina. He was one of four policy directors within the leadership of the USHR, the first African American policy director in the leadership of the USHR and the highest-ranking African American healthcare advisor in the USHR.

Robert Krzys

Robert Krzys is an attorney in private practice in New Hartford. His practice focuses on labor law and collective bargaining negotiations representing unions, especially in the public sector. Active in his community, Attorney Krzys serves on the Regional 7 Board of Education and the Building Committee that oversaw the renovation and expansion of the middle and high schools. Krzys is a member of the New Hartford Water Pollution Control Authority and was recently certified as an English teacher through Connecticut’s Alternate Route to Certification Program. Prior to establishing his private practice, Krzys was staff counsel for the Connecticut State Employees Association from 1979 – 1984. In addition, he served as chairman of the New Hartford Town Committee.

Cindy Mann

With more than 30 years of experience in federal and state health policy, Cindy Mann works with clients to develop and implement strategies around federal and state health reform, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and delivery and payment system transformation. Her clients include states, providers, plans, consumer organizations and foundations.

Before joining Manatt, Cindy was with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. There, she served as deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services. Cindy led the administration of Medicaid, CHIP and the Basic Health Program for more than five years during the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. She set federal policy, supported state program operations, and coordinated policy and program operations with the Marketplace.

Cindy also developed and executed national policies and initiatives regarding long-term services and supports, as well as broader delivery system and payment system reform. Prior to her appointment at CMS, Cindy was a research professor at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. There, she was the founder and director of the Center for Children and Families, focusing on health coverage, financing and access issues affecting low-income populations.

Previously, Cindy was a senior advisor at the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. She also was director of the Family and Children’s Health Program group at the Health Care Financing Administration, now CMS.

Cindy joined the HCFA from the Center on Budget and Public Policy, where she directed the center’s federal and state health policy work. Previously, she worked on these issues in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York.

Bill McKendree

Founder of The Clarion Group


Bill’s accomplishments are best reflected in how he shows up. Bill brings practical, hands-on experience in large organizational settings with a talent for listening and hearing the real issues that are at play in an organization. He is highly valued for his insights into situations. He is sought out for his ability to frame solutions to complex problems, inspire and cause clients to address them, and advise and coach on implementation. People see Bill’s greatest accomplishment as being who he is, and frequently say that it is his courage, integrity, leadership, and respect that cause them to seek him out.Founder of The Clarion Group, Bill McKendree is an expert in the areas of organizational design, strategy development and implementation, management process development, and creation of executive alignment. During a career spanning over 30 years, he has had diverse experience as a line executive managing large complex businesses and working as a strategic internal consultant.

Yvette Meléndez

Ms. Meléndez is Interim President of the Hartford Foundation, and most recently served as Vice President of Government and Community Alliances for Hartford Hospital, the flagship tertiary care center of Hartford HealthCare, a regional, integrated health care network with more than 18,000 staff members. Ms. Meléndez provides strategic leadership in government affairs at the state and federal levels and oversees Hartford Hospital’s community benefit program and strategic community outreach. Hartford Hospital plays an important role in improving the health and well-being of Hartford and the communities where it operates several offices and health centers.

She has over 30 years of experience developing public policy in education, human services, and public health. Prior to her current position, Ms. Meléndez served in the roles of Chief of Staff and Chief Administrative Officer for the Connecticut State University System. Her experience also includes roles at the State Department of Education, where she was the architect of Connecticut’s entry into the charter school movement; as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Health; and as Chief of Staff for the Department of Social Services.
Ms. Meléndez has served on the boards of directors of various local, national and international organizations. She recently was Board Chair of The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (over $900M in net assets); Vice-Chair of the State Board of Regents for Higher Education (appointed by Governor); she has held governance appointments for the World YWCA (Geneva), the YWCA of the USA, the Hartford Seminary, Metro Hartford Alliance, Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, and was appointed by the Governor of Connecticut to participate on several task forces and commissions, including the Commission on Educational Achievement.

Ms. Meléndez holds a master’s degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She completed studies at Cornell University in industrial and labor relations, as well as the University of Hartford in public administration.

Keith M. Phaneuf

Budget Reporter, CT Mirror


Keith won first prize in investigative reporting from the Education Writers Association in 2012 for a series of stories on the Board of Regents for Higher Education. The former State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, Keith has spent most of 24 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. A former contributing writer to The New York Times and to American Prospect magazine, Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

Donna Cohen Ross

Principal, Health Management Associates      


Donna Cohen Ross is a mission-driven policy expert, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of low-income families and individuals. With a focus on reducing poverty, she works with clients on projects that make the critical link between health and school readiness, food security, income security and other pressing concerns for low-income families and communities.  Her clients include national nonprofit organizations with state and local networks, private foundations, government agencies, health care providers, community-based groups and others.

Donna knows how to shape policy and put it into action. Her expertise spans a variety of wide variety of programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Earned Income Tax Credit, food assistance programs and other public benefits. She produces creative, high-impact outreach campaigns that achieve immediate and sustainable results, and skillfully engages diverse stakeholders to build meaningful partnerships. Her tactical guides and consumer-oriented tools are used by states, health care providers, community organizations, school districts and others nationwide. A dynamic communicator, Donna delivers training programs for diverse audiences and is a featured speaker at state and national conferences.

As a senior policy advisor and the director of enrollment initiatives at the CMS Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS), Donna advanced new Medicaid and CHIP enrollment policies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the CHIP Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA). A tireless advocate for simplifying access for eligible individuals, Donna designed and helped implement guidance for states on strategies to jump-start Medicaid enrollment using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) data.  As a result, hundreds of thousands of adults and children in six states gained health coverage in the first year of implementation, and additional states have since begun employing these effective enrollment methods. Donna also developed and led the national Connecting Kids to Coverage Campaign, which has played an important role in boosting Medicaid and CHIP participation rates and reducing the percentage of uninsured children and teens nationwide.

Bonnie B. Roswig

Attending public school in New Haven in the 1970’s, a time of racial, political and social upheaval, was central to Bonnie B. Roswig’s path of focusing on social justice and the eradication of disparities in public schools. After earning her bachelor’s degree at Bennington College in Vermont, Roswig enrolled in the Antioch School of Law in Washington,DC, which was funded in part by the Legal Services Corporation. “The goal of the law school was to train a generation of attorneys who were committed to addressing legal and social disparities,” says Roswig.
Roswig worked for legal services in Georgia and, although the political and cultural issues were miles away from New Haven, the issues of poverty and the desperate need for legal assistance remained the same. Roswig returned to Connecticut, working for a number of years for legal services programs before joining the Center for Children’s Advocacy.

“Given the time pressures of my profession, my other focus has been my family. My four children, now on the verge of adulthood, have been my pleasure and my passion.”

She currently is Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Children’s Advocacy, Inc. Hartford, CT.

Mark Schaefer

Mark Schaefer, PhD is a clinical psychologist and the Director of Healthcare Innovation for the State of Connecticut.
Dr. Schaefer previously served as the state’s Medicaid Director at the Department of Social Services, where he led the design and implementation of the Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership, a joint initiative with the Departments of Children and Families and Mental Health and Addiction Services to develop an integrated behavioral health service system.

He led the nation’s first expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and the development of an array of health service delivery and purchasing reforms to improve care experience and quality, while reducing costs, including the HUSKY medical ASO initiative and the person centered medical home glide path program. In his current role, Dr. Schaefer is leading the state’s multi-payer State Innovation Model (SIM) Initiative under the direction of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman.

Giovanna Shay

As GHLA’s Litigation and Advocacy Director, Giovanna Shay supports GHLA’s attorneys in all practice areas. Giovanna served as a staff attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and as a Robert M. Cover Fellow at the Yale Legal Services Organization, where she helped to supervise students in the Complex Federal Litigation Clinic and in the inaugural year of Yale’s Supreme Court Clinic.
Earlier in her career, she was a Soros Justice Fellow at the ACLU National Prison Project and law clerk to then-Senior Justice Ellen Ash Peters at the Connecticut Supreme Court. Immediately before joining GHLA, Giovanna was a tenured Professor of Law at Western New England University School of Law, where she taught courses including Professional Responsibility and Domestic Violence, and her research focused on over-incarceration. She is a graduate of Pomona College and Yale Law School.

Vicki Veltri

Victoria Veltri, JD, LLM, is the state’s Healthcare Advocate in the Office of the Healthcare Advocate. Since becoming Acting Healthcare Advocate in January 2011 and then sworn in as the Healthcare Advocate in April 2011, Ms. Veltri has overseen OHA in its mission to: assist health insurance consumers with managed care plan selection; educate consumers about their health care rights; directly assist health insurance consumers with filings of complaints and appeals, and; pursue other health care activities.

Ms. Veltri has extensive legal experience in health care advocacy and in legislative policy. Upon joining the Office of the Healthcare Advocate in April 2006, Ms. Veltri began her work as legal advisor to the staff, legal advocate for consumers and legislative liaison. Prior to joining the OHA, Ms. Veltri was a staff attorney at Greater Hartford Legal Aid, Inc. (GHLA), where she directed GHLA’s systemic health-related advocacy, and helped to lead statewide collaborative efforts to preserve and improve Medicaid, State-Administered General Assistance and other benefit programs.

A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Ms. Veltri also holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Western New England College School of Law and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) from New York University School of Law.

State Representative Toni E. Walker (D-93rd District, New Haven)

Chair, House Appropriations Committee (Invited)

Toni Edmonds Walker is a seasoned social activist and advocate for youth, education, and human rights. Having resided in New Haven for most of her child and adult life, Toni has deep roots at Dixwell Congregation where her father, the late Rev. Dr. Edwin R. Edmonds, was the pastor and her mother, the late Maye Bailey Edmonds, was head of the Women’s Group.

There, Toni worked as both a fundraiser and the Director of the Dixwell Children’s Creative Arts Center – a children’s inner city program for arts and music. While managing The Arts Center and raising a daughter alone, she continued her baccalaureate education at Southern Connecticut State University and received a Master’s Degree in Social Work at Fordham University. As a state representative, Toni serves as House Chair of the Appropriations Committee and is also a member of the Judiciary Committee. She is a former House chair of the Human Services Committee as well.

Rep. Walker also created and chaired both the Juvenile Jurisdiction Planning and Implementation Committee and the Juvenile Jurisdiction Policy and Operations Coordinating Council. She is also an active member of the Financial Advisory Council, serving as Speaker Donovan’s appointee.

In addition, Rep. Walker has been appointed to serve on several policy committees by legislative forums; including the National Conference of State Legislatures as Vice-Chair of the Human Services Committee, and the Council of State Governments as Vice Chair of the ERC Criminal Justice Advisory Board and Chair of the ERC Budget & Tax Committee. The Council of State Governments also once recognized Rep. Walker as a Tolls Fellow.

Furthermore, Rep. Walker is dedicated to the CT Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and is a member of the Adolescent Parenting Council, Local Interagency Service Team, Domestic Violence Legislative Task Force, Commission on Children, Medicaid Care Management Oversight Council, Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council, TANF Council, Children in the Recession Legislative Task Force, and Task Force on Community-Based Human Services.

For several years, Rep. Walker has committed herself to juvenile reform in Connecticut beginning with raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction. During the 2006 and 2007 legislative sessions, Representative Walker introduced and championed legislation that would allow for 16 and 17 year-olds to be considered juveniles in the eyes of Connecticut courts. This is a monumental step in the direction of lowering recidivism rates and increasing opportunities for troubled youth to become active and upstanding citizens.

When she is not in Hartford, Toni is in district serving as Vice Principal and Coordinator of Special Services and Grants at New Haven Adult Education, where she plays an instrumental role in developing, designing, and implementing community-based programs. In her downtime, Toni likes to reconnect with her most important commitment: her family. She is a devoted wife to Donald Walker and loving mother and step-mother to Talia Aikens-Nunez and Tiffany Beech. Most importantly though, Toni is a proud grandmother to Isabella and baby Nyles!

Joy Johnson Wilson 

Ms. Wilson began her government relations career as a Research Associate in the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Washington Office in 1978 and ended her career at NCSL as a Senior Federal Affairs Counsel and the Health and Human Services Policy Director last year. As Senior Federal Affairs Counsel, she assisted with overall government relations and public affairs activities in the NCSL Washington Office and mentored junior staff.

As the Health and Human Services Policy Director, she designed and implemented the lobbying strategy for the conference on health and human services, food and nutrition and refugee issues as guided by state legislators from across the country. During her tenure at NCSL she visited the legislatures in 48 states and legislature in the U.S Virgin Islands

In 1989, Ms. Wilson took a leave of absence from NCSL to serve on the staff of the U.S. Bipartisan Commission on Comprehensive Health Care, better known as the “Pepper Commission.” On the Pepper Commission staff, she was the liaison to groups representing state and local elected officials, organized field hearings and worked on issues related to the impact of health care reform on small business.
In 2005-2006, Ms. Wilson was appointed as a non-voting member of Medicaid Commission established by then Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Mike O. Leavitt. She is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance.

Ms. Wilson received a Bachelor of Science from Keene State College in New Hampshire and a Master of Regional Planning degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

State Senator Gary Winfield (D-New Haven)

Deputy Majority Leader

Gary Winfield was first elected in 2014 to represent the 10th State Senate District (New Haven and West Haven). He was elected to a second term in 2016. Prior to his election to the Senate, Gary had served as a state representative for the 94th Assembly District of New Haven and Hamden since his election in 2008. In the House of Representatives he served as a Deputy Majority Leader and sat on the Appropriations, Education and Judiciary committees. Senator Winfield was the lead sponsor of legislation to abolish the death penalty. He led the fight to pass an abolition bill in 2009, resulting in the first passage of an abolition bill by both the House and Senate. In 2012 Winfield again led the push that resulted in abolition of the death penalty.

Believing that the issue of discrimination against transgendered people was of utmost importance to Connecticut, Winfield also led the fight to pass an anti-discrimination law in 2011 and took the lead in working to fix the state’s racial profiling law in 2012.
Gary is recognized as a leader on campaign finance reform/clean elections, having been a speaker on the issue at the 2010 and 2011 policy conferences for the Center for Working Families (NY) and the keynote speaker at the 2010-2013 Democracy Matters Annual national Student Summit.

Before taking public office, Gary was a leader on the issue of education reform. Since 2008 he has pushed Connecticut forward as a key legislator changing laws around drop outs, school governance councils and early reading success. His work has caught national attention resulting in his being invited to speak at various places around the country on education reform including The Excellence in Action National Summit on Education Reform in 2012 where he pushed back on the notion that unions are the problem.

In 2014, Gary continued to fight for constituent rights by leading the unanimous and bipartisan passage of Senate Bill 371, which prohibits employers from to retaliating against immigrant employees for exercising their rights under various state labor laws. That same year, Gary helped lead Senate passage of legislation to develop a curriculum that local school districts could elect to use to teach the history of the labor movement and enhanced privacy protections for employees.

Senator Winfield was formerly enlisted in the United States Naval nuclear power program where he developed the skills he would later use as a field advisor and manager of electrical construction for Alstom Power. His job with Alstom brought him to New Haven, where he became involved with community issues and continues to reside.

Gary graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. He currently works for the Connecticut State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors. Originally from Bronx, New York, Senator Winfield credits his experience of growing up in a tough environment, his father succumbing to drugs and watching his mother struggle as a single mother as the source of his passion for social justice.

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman


Senior Advisor: Martin Heft martin.heft@ct.gov

In 1994, she was the first woman ever elected State Comptroller. For 16 years, she advocated on behalf of taxpayers for fiscal responsibility and accountability. After serving for eight years on the Tolland BOE, Wyman was elected to four terms in the State House of Representatives where she was the chair of the Education Committee and held a leadership position on the Appropriations sub-committee on Elementary and Secondary education. Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, a former x-ray technician, was elected to serve her second term as Connecticut’s 108th Lieutenant Governor.  She began a career in public service more than 30 years ago when she successfully sought a seat on the Tolland Board of Education.

Beginning in 2010 and throughout their first term in office, Lieutenant Governor Wyman has been a true partner to Governor Dannel P. Malloy in the work to bolster statewide economic recovery and build a strong foundation for growth, long-term stability, and prosperity.

She chairs the board of the Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap and is the Chair of the Board of Access Health CT, Connecticut’s official health insurance marketplace. Created in 2011 to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act, Access Health CT is recognized nationally as one of the best health exchanges in the country, with other states implementing Connecticut’s technology.

One of her highest priorities is the welfare of Connecticut’s military and veterans.  In 2007, she spearheaded the effort to establish Connecticut’s Wall of Honor, a tribute at the State Capitol that honors the military men and women who lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. She chairs the Rocky Hill Veterans Home advisory group and works closely with the Connecticut National Guard to support service members and their families.

Lt. Governor Wyman is a longtime supporter of the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, and in 2013 was named to the school’s Board of Directors. She is prominent in efforts to raise funds for breast cancer research, has been closely involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Kidney Foundation and the American Heart Association.