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Connecticut Governor names openly gay man as Chief of Staff

Connecticut Governor names openly gay man as Chief of Staff

HARTFORD, Conn. — Mark Ojakian, the openly gay Deputy Budget Director for the state of Connecticut, has been named to the position of Chief of Staff for Governor Dannel P. Malloy.

Announcing the appointment at a press conference on Thursday, Malloy said that Ojakian “knows that I have a reputation for working people pretty hard. He’s been living it for a year now, and still, he took the job, which I think speaks volumes about his commitment to the people of Connecticut. I have no doubt that he is the right person for this job.”

Mark Ojakian

Known as “OJ” inside the state Capitol, Ojakian, 58, publicly thanked his husband, Jason Veretto of West Hartford, whom he introduced at the press conference.

Malloy credited Ojakian with negotiating a deal with the state employee unions that he said will save taxpayers $21.5 billion over the next 20 years.

“It has been an honor to have Mark in our administration over the past year in his current role, helping direct the charge on the restructuring and streamlining of state government in our efforts to find efficiencies while making government leaner, less expensive, and more effective,” Malloy said in a news release.

“He has a tremendous breadth of knowledge, experience, dedication and character, and an extraordinary capacity to produce results for the people of the state.”

The pick by Malloy was viewed as a solid move to choose a loyal, longtime, trusted state employee.

Ojakian and his husband have two children, Brandon and Kyle, and two grandchildren, Connor and Madison.

Same-sex marriage was legalized in Connecticut on Nov. 12, 2008.

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