CCSU grad Avery Gaddis now Senate GOP’s director of urban affairs (Bristol Press)

January 9, 2015

Article as it appeared in the Bristol Press

HARTFORD — Avery Gaddis is looking for an audience where he can articulate the policies of the state Republican Party.

“I may face a Herculean task,” Gaddis, 40, said. Nevertheless, the Central Connecticut State University graduate has accepted the state Senate Republicans’ new position as its director of urban affairs.

Gaddis will be responsible for organizing outreach to cities and minority groups. He will help Senate Republican lawmakers by communicating needs of these groups while sharing Republican policies.

Senate Majority Leader Len Fasano of North Haven had to convince him he was the right person for the position.

“I had a good job as loan officer,” says Gaddis. “But, the senator can be persuasive. When I realized he wasn’t selling snake oil, I decided to give it a go.”

Sasano said “Avery will help open communications between cities and policymakers. Here in Connecticut, Republicans have struggled to penetrate cities with our message and our plans to bring new hope and opportunities. I, as a Republican leader, accept blame for these inadequacies. Now it’s time to correct the miscommunication.” GOP policymakers are convinced that the state’s strength is in its cities.

“Throwing money at urban issues is short sighted and ignores the potential that city residents can offer,” Fasano said. “We have to create new opportunities in urban areas. Avery can help us communicate with cities so we can refine our approach and advocate for effective urban policies.” Gaddis said he’s director as long as Fasano remains senate minority leader.

“I could, of course, be out of a job,” Gaddis said. “But, there’s no reward without risk. Still, this is a position that’s going to be sustained no matter who the leader is.” Gaddis, who is being paid $85,000, said the position is not about money.

“It’s about Democrats taking Blacks for granted,” he said. “No one talks about that or about Democratic programs that don’t work.” Gaddis has been active in Waterbury for many years, serving as the vice-president of the Waterbury branch of the NAACP and city clerk. He once served as a legislative aide with House Democrats under Speaker of the House Moira Lyons.
Gaddis said business school made him more conservative.

“Republicans have a compelling, forward-thinking vision and are taking thoughtful measures to see this vision become reality,” he says.

Gaddis, who lives in Waterbury with his wife, son and daughter, holds a MBA in finance from the University of New Haven and a bachelor’s degree in political science from CCSU.

“At Central, I was student government president and a big union guy,” Gaddis said. “Later, I became a small business owner started paying taxes. I began paying more attention to money going out. Democrats always seemed to be in my pockets. I don’t mind paying my fair share, but wondered if the money was helping the situation.”

Gaddis said retired CCSU President Richard Judd made a strong impression on him.

“To his credit, Dr. Judd always sought input from students,” Gaddis said. “Being a part of his discussions made me realize I wanted to have a seat at the table.” Judd recalls Gaddis as a student who had more concern for others than for himself.

“He had a spirit different from other students,” Judd said. “I think he’ll do quite well.”