Evonne M. Klein spent six years as the first selectman of Darien, one of the richest communities in the United States.
While there, she worked on efforts toward creating affordable housing in the hopes of helping young graduates to return to their hometown and attract town employees who take massively long commutes to get to work.
On Thursday, Klein was nominated by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as the commissioner of the state’s Department of Housing, an agency that has had many gyrations through the years of being folded into and out of an alphabet soup of agencies.
“Affordable housing is integral to driving economic development and growing jobs in our state,” Malloy told reporters outside his second-floor Capitol office.
As mayor of Stamford for 14 years, Malloy watched Klein in action as the chief elected official in Darien, the city’s next-door neighbor.
Klein will be paid $120,000 per year and says she will look to promote affordable housing “from Norwalk to Norwich.”
State Rep. William Tong, who is seeking to become Stamford’s next mayor, applauded Klein as he stood near the podium at the announcement.
“She’s a great choice,” said David Fink, policy director for the Hartford-based Partnership for Strong Communities. “In six years as first selectman, she probably advanced affordable housing more in Darien than it had advanced in the previous century. She knows how to work with Democrats and Republicans, and she understands that, in the end, housing gets created after local residents are given a chance to offer their ideas and shape the product. And that’s where all the affordable housing we need will be created – in town halls all over the state.”