Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, today appointed Sharon Palmer to serve as Commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Labor. Ms. Palmer is currently the President of AFT Connecticut, an AFL-CIO union representing 28,000 teachers and other workers, including heath care professionals, state employees, higher education and school related personnel. Her official start date is October 5.
Ms. Palmer brings more than two decades of labor relations experience to her new position. She also has more than 20 years of classroom experience as a public school teacher, primarily in the Waterford Public School System. In addition to her extensive professional experience, Ms. Palmer has served on the Waterford Representative Town Meeting for the past 19 years. She also just recently stepped down from serving on the State Treasurers' Investment Advisory Board.
"During the education reform debate last session, one of the strongest advocates in the effort to fix what's broken in our public schools was Sharon Palmer," Governor Malloy said. "While we may not have agreed on every aspect of the proposal, we always agreed that change was not just inevitable but necessary. And the final product that I signed into law is a better bill because of Sharon's input."
Governor Malloy continued, "For more than two decades, Sharon has been a tireless advocate for working people from all walks of life in the state of Connecticut. She has shown an ability and a sensibility in working with management to affect meaningful change. And, as we all know, change is hard. But change is also necessary.
"Sharon has spent many, many years fighting for something I believe in deeply: the right to organize and collectively bargain for good wages and good benefits," concluded Governor Malloy. "I'm thrilled she's accepted this appointment, and look forward to serving the people of Connecticut with her on our team."
Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman remarked, "I have known and worked with Sharon for many years and am thrilled that she is joining our team. The people of Connecticut will soon learn that she fully shares our administration's commitment to growing our workforce, expanding training and employment opportunities and making sure our workers are treated fairly and have a safe working environment."
"I want to thank Governor Malloy for this opportunity," Ms. Palmer said. "I found the collaboration with him and his administration last year produced broad, positive consensus, and I'm looking forward to now being a member of the administration. Governor Malloy is a strong supporter of the rights of working people, and he understands that change is best achieved when labor and management work together. I think his administration has accomplished a lot of good in 20 months and I'm looking forward to helping to accomplish even more."
Ms. Palmer grew up in East Hampton. She earned her B.A. at St. Joseph's College in West Hartford and her M.A. at Eastern Connecticut State University. She currently lives in Quaker Hill with her husband George.