Roy Occhiogrosso helped launch Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s first campaign for governor in 2006 and was Malloy’s chief strategist in 2010, all from his platform at Global Strategy Group.
Now Occhiogrosso is returning to the public affairs firm next week as one of two managing directors in the Hartford office, after two years in Malloy’s administration.
Don’t look for Occhiogrosso, 47, to disappear from the political scene. Beyond direct politics, he worked on policy issues such as same-sex marriage and equity for nonprofit social services providers in his stint at the firm from 2003 to 2010, when he left after Malloy’s election.
“Politics is in my blood,” said Occhiogrosso, who was a Democratic strategist and operative at the state Capitol before 2003.
Occhiogrosso for the last two years has been the governor’s top political adviser and chief of communications — with the generic title of senior adviser and a salary of $160,000.
He announced in December he was stepping down, saying he had originally planned to stay with the administration for just one year and that it was “time to do something else.” Occhiogrosso told Jenny Wilson of the Courant’s staff that he considered a few options, including opening his own firm, before signing on with GSG.
“I worked there for seven years, it’s like a family to me,” he said. “This made a lot of sense for a lot of reasons,” he said.
As a single father of two young boys, anywhere besides Connecticut was off the table for Occhiogrosso, a Berlin resident.
Asked if he’s planning to return to Malloy’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign, Occhiogrosso told Wilson nothing had been discussed yet. “I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “I assume that when the time is open we’ll have a conversation, but the governor’s got a lot on his plate right now, dealing with the aftermath of Newtown and trying to put together a budget.”
It’s a fair bet that Malloy will seek re-election, and that Occhiogrosso will head up media and general strategy from his post at Global Strategy Group, with the firm’s support system in place as in 2006 and 2010. For now, he’ll be doing more corporate and nonprofit work than politics.
Occhiogrosso opened the Hartford office of the New York-based firm with Duby McDowell, who now operates Duby McDowell Communications. He later became a partner, but when he rejoins on Jan. 14, he won’t be an equity owner.
He will join Tanya Meck, who has been with the firm for more than two years and previously was with Northeast Utilities, as a fellow managing director.