New Canaan Republican Michael Handler Announces Candidacy for Governor

Touting his work in getting Stamford on stronger financial footing, New Canaan Republican Michael Handler announced Monday that he’s making a bid for Connecticut’s highest elected office.

Michael Handler of New Canaan, a Republican, is putting in a bid for Connecticut governor. Contributed

Employed as director of administration for Stamford and serving as director of Emergency Management in New Canaan, Handler is known to thousands of local households as the recorded voice that advises residents about rescue efforts, shelter options, safety precautions and road closures during and after major storms.

Handler, 47, filed for a candidate committee for the office of governor July 14 and the state on Tuesday approved his filing, he said.

Describing himself as “hands on” and with background in investments and finance in the private sector who also has “a very strong background in public safety” and the public sector, “having dedicated myself to public office in Stamford for the last five years,” Handler said he’s already achieved success in areas that now are of pressing concern for the state, such as negotiating multiple contracts with unions.

“I have, more than anybody else out there, the experience of understanding what the prior administrations have done to Stamford financially and how to clean it up,” Handler told NewCanaanite.com.

“The most critical issues facing Connecticut are primarily fiscal, and there is no question that governors for many years have failed to address the State’s structural costs and instead opted to kick the can down the road,” Handler said. “I’ve cleaned up these very issues in Stamford and I’m ready to do the same for our state.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy has said he’s not running for re-election. His term expires next year.

Republicans who already have declared their candidacy include Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, attorney Peter Lumaj, state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan (R-31st), Joe Visconti, David Walker and Micah Welintukonis. Democrats who have declared their candidacy include Dan Drew, mayor of Middletown, and Jacey Wyatt of Branford, a former model.

A father of four girls who is married to his wife Sarah, Handler earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory University and a MBA from Columbia University. In 2007, he retired from a 15-year career on Wall Street to enter public service.

He had been appointed to his current role in Stamford by former Mayor Michael Pavia, a Republican, and was retained by current Mayor David Martin, a Democrat.

As administrator, Handler said in a background summary sheet supplied to the New Canaanite, Stamford regained its AAA credit ratings, quadrupled cash reserves, negotiated the first labor contracts that included substantive concessions from unions, fully funded annual required contributions for both pensions and OPEB and divested Smith House nursing and rehab center.

Handler also has served as chairman of the city’s Water Pollution Control Authority and Tax Abatement Committee, and as vice chairman of the OPEB Board of Trustees, the summary said. He has been a member of New Canaan’s emergency medical services organization since 2000, it said.

Handler said that Connecticut voters are ready to “recognize that they need someone who can successfully address the State’s fiscal crisis, for the first time in decades.”

“If anything, I have proven that I can generate bipartisan support in solving serious problems,” he said. “While I have not run for public office in the past, I have experience in creating an agenda, targeting change, building consensus, getting through legislative bodies and successfully achieving outcomes and then building on that success to take to other challenges.”

He added: “I have the experience and skills to address major issues in this state. I’m not one to complain—my nature is to solve problems.”

6 thoughts on “New Canaan Republican Michael Handler Announces Candidacy for Governor

  1. This is really welcome news. Like many my only knowledge of Michael was through his emergency phone calls and a few actual verbal interactions when the power was down. I’ve never come across a public official like Mr Handler with an ability to convey reassuring calm combined with a confident “I’ll get it done” attitude. Now learning more of his background it sure seems like he has the right experience to be an outstanding Governor. Where do I sign up for the
    Elect Michael Handler Governor campaign.

    • @RickC a lot of people are supporting Mike Handler’s campaign online. Here’s his site: http://www.handler2018.com/

      And he’s on Twitter at @Handler2018

      Mike is running as part of the Citizens Election Program – a clean campaign program aimed to keep special interest money and influence out of politics. I believe they can only accept $100 (per individual 18+), but need lots of folks to donate to meet the $250,000 goal. If everyone spreads the word Connecticut may still have a chance.

  2. Reading about Mike Handler’s record and recent announcement that he is willing to run for governor has given me new hope. This state, ever since the institution of the state income tax, has been on a slow descent into financial and social insolvency. The more of other peoples’money the professional politicians have at their disposal, the worse it gets and the more corrupt they become. It is refreshing to see someone of his caliber join the race for governor. As a new retiree, and like thousands of others, my wife and I are anguishing over a possible relocation to a more family friendly and tax payer friendly state. Perhaps we will not move now. Go Mike and beat them all!

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