JSC: Biographies of Commission Members

Biographies of Commission Members


CHAIRPERSON


VACANCY


FRANK ALVARADO


Frank Alvarado is the Senior Area Manager/Veterans Affairs Officer for the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Bridgeport, CT office.  He is a graduate of Albertus Magnus College and earned an MBA from the University of New Haven.  Prior to working for the SBA, Mr. Alvarado was employed by the Spanish American Merchants Association as the Director of the New Haven and Willimantic offices.  In his current and past capacity, he assisted small business owners and future entrepreneurs with all issues related to being a small business owner in Connecticut.  He also has spent many years working in municipal government and social services agencies specializing in economic development and finance.  An active member of the community, Mr. Alvarado has served on the Board of Directors of several non-profit agencies in the New Haven area.  Mr. Alvarado is currently a member of the Town of East Haven Economic Development Commission.


Mr. Alvarado is a retired Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, having served in the United States Army for three years, and is retired from the Connecticut Air National Guard after serving for 20 years.  He is also a veteran of the Viet Nam War.    In his capacity as the Veterans Affairs Officer, he works with the veterans organizations in the state to help veterans establish new businesses.  Mr. Alvarado is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Guard Association of Connecticut and is a member of the Hispanic American Veterans of Connecticut.


Mr. Alvarado has been involved in New Haven and state politics for many years and currently is the Treasurer for the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus.  He has also served as Campaign Manager and Treasurer to many successful candidates for local and state offices.  He is an avid supporter of issues which have had an impact on veterans, children and seniors.


Mr. Alvarado has been honored by several organizations for his work in the community, and in 2013, he was chosen to serve as a Grand Marshall for the Connecticut State Veterans Parade in Hartford.


ROBERT S. BELLO, ESQ.


Robert S. Bello has been a principal in the Stamford law firm of Bello, Lapine & Cassone, LLP, since 1972.  The firm is a general practice with an emphasis on civil and criminal litigation, including personal injury, medical and legal malpractice, commercial and construction disputes as well as family law.  It also handles business and real estate transactions.  Attorney Bello concentrates in criminal litigation where he has garnered extensive trial experience, including numerous jury trials of serious felonies, winning acquittal in many.  He has also briefed and argued several criminal appeals before the Appellate and Supreme Courts.  Mr. Bello is a graduate of Fairfield College Preparatory School, Fairfield University and St. John's Law School, where he graduated in 1961.  He has been admitted to practice in Connecticut State and Federal Courts for 50 years and is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, the Fairfield County Bar Association, the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, the American Association for Justice, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.  He is a past recipient of numerous pro bono awards and citations, including a 1999 C.B.A. Pro Bono Award.  He has been a panel member and contributor to several CLE seminars on criminal law.


Mr. Bello was appointed by former Chief Justice Sullivan to the Client Security Fund Committee, where he continues to serve, having been reappointed by Chief Justice Rogers.  Previously, he served as Chairman of the Committee on Training and Employment which was the original designated community action agency in Stamford.


Attorney Bello has been married for 50 years to his wife Frances, with whom he has a son Christopher, who is a Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary with General Re Life Corporation in Stamford.  Attorney Bello enjoys spending his free time with his five grandchildren.


AUDREY BLONDIN, ESQ.


Audrey B. Blondin was born and raised in the New Haven area, and has practiced law in Torrington since 1980.  She has been a resident of Litchfield since 1986, and is a graduate of Laurelton Hall, Southern Connecticut State University magna cum laude and Temple University School of Law.  She also holds a Certificate in Public Health from the University of Connecticut. 


Attorney Blondinís areas of practice include real estate, loan workouts, short sales and foreclosures, probate matters, wills and estate planning. Attorney Blondin has served as counsel for many banks and mortgage companies, providing representation on residential real estate closings, including FHA, CHFA and VA loan programs.  Attorney Blondin is admitted to the Connecticut Bar, U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, the U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.  Attorney Blondin is a member of Connecticut Bar Association and the Litchfield County Bar Association, as well as a James W. Cooper Fellow Lifetime Member and a Justice of the Peace.


Attorney Blondin has served as the Democratic State Central Committeewoman from the 30th Senatorial District from 2002 to present.  She also served as a Selectman for the Town of Litchfield, Connecticut from 1993 to 2003 and was a candidate for Secretary of the State 2006.  She also served as a member of the Connecticut delegation to the 2000, 2004 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions.

In 2001, Attorney Blondin, along with her husband, Dr. Matthew Blondin, founded VOSH-Connecticut, the Connecticut Chapter of VOSH-International (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity), and is currently serving as Secretary/Treasurer of VOSH-Connecticut.  Attorney Blondin, along with her husband, Dr. Matthew Blondin, has served as Mission Director for VOSH-Connecticut since 2001, organizing and conducting annual missions to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, providing eye examinations and eye glasses to over 3,000 area residents per year, who otherwise would have no access to eye care.  Since 2001, over 35,000 residents have received eye care services and eye glasses through the volunteer services of VOSH-Connecticut.

 

REV. LINDSAY E. CURTIS

A Chicago, Illinois native and who comes from a long lineage of Ministerial and Pastoral service. Licensed to preach in 1973 by the Union Baptist Church of Springfield, Ill. and ordained in 1979 by a council of the Woodriver District Association, an affiliate of the Illinois Baptist General State Convention. He has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois. Pastor Curtis matriculated at the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Moody Bible College, and the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA; he received a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Eastern Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, VA. In his 40-year ministerial career he has received numerous educational certificates and certifications.

In 1990 he was called to the St. Paul Baptist Church in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he served as Pastor until 1994. He is currently serving as Senior Pastor of the 121 year old Grace Baptist Church in Norwalk, CT.  Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Pastor Curtisí leadership, the Grace Baptist Church is experiencing significant spiritual and numerical growth. Major church renovations are being made which will allow both current and future members and their families to continue a high-level ministry in reaching families and community.

He has held various corporate positions; his last position was Vice President, Human Resources (HR) at Universal/NBC, Music Division, East Coast Region based in New York City, with offices in Atlanta, GA and South Beach, Miami, FL.  He has also held various senior HR positions in the global accounting and consulting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers, the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation and the Illinois Department of Revenue.

His religious and community affiliations are extensive as he currently serves in the following capacities: Vice-President At Large for the Connecticut State Missionary Baptist Convention (CSMBC), Treasurer, Judah Baptist District Association, (CSMBC), Board member Urban League of Southern Connecticut, Chaplin-Norwalk Fire Department, Chairman of Board of Directors Norwalk Childrenís Foundation which is a multi-million foundation which assist and serves children and families in the Norwalk, Ct area. In addition to the service of the Lord his passion is the founding and establishment of the South Norwalk Collegiate Academy, a K-8 charter school of which he serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is a Past-President of the Norwalk Branch of the NAACP and has served on the State of Connecticutís Legislative Achievement Gap Commission/Task Force. He is a member and a past President of the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship (Norwalk), member of Norwalk Clergy Association. He is the husband of Janis (Richardson) Curtis, the father of three daughters, two sons and eight grandchildren.

SARAH FRYXELL, ESQ.

Sarah Fryxell currently serves as Chief Legal Counsel for the House Republican Office in the Connecticut General Assembly. In her role, she provides legislators with guidance on legal, legislative and policy issues. Her duties include conducting legal research, drafting bills and amendments, negotiating legislative priorities on behalf of House Republican members, and serving as the caucus liaison to the Office of State Ethics, the State Elections Enforcement Commission, and the Freedom of Information Commission.

Prior to becoming Chief Legal Counsel, Ms. Fryxell served as Legal Counsel for the House Republicans for eight years focusing primarily on issues before the Judiciary, Commerce, Insurance, and Public Health Committees.

Ms. Fryxell is a Commissioner on the Connecticut State Marshal Commission and was elected to serve as a Trustee on the Library Board of Directors in Westbrook, Connecticut from 2009-2015. Ms. Fryxell is a 2001 graduate of Villanova University and a 2005 graduate of Villanova University School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in Connecticut and New York.

CLIFFORD G. LEACH, ESQ.


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CARA PASSARO


Cara Passaro is a policy analyst for the Connecticut House Democrats Caucus. In that role, she works with legislators to develop policy related to health, human services, insurance, and judiciary. Cara has worked on legislation to establish Connecticutís Health Insurance Exchange, implement the stateís human services budget, and improve access to mental health services. She has also staffed the Speakerís Task Force on Domestic Violence and Speakerís Working Group on Small Business Health Care.  Cara has also provided strategic support to candidates for state office. Before joining the staff of the House Democrats Caucus, Cara worked as a freelance writer, a circulation auditor and a legal assistant. In 2014, she received the CT Womenís Education and Legal Fund/Day Pitney 40 Women for the Next 40 Years Award. Cara is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, and is pursuing a Master of Public Health and a Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut. She is a member of Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs, Hartfordís West End Civic Association and recently completed the Hyannis Half Marathon.


CO-VICE CHAIRPERSON
JOEL RUDIKOFF, ESQ.

Joel Rudikoff is an attorney and is the Director of Policy and Budget for the Senate Democratic Caucus of the Connecticut General Assembly. From January 1997 through December 2014, Mr. Rudikoff was Deputy Chief Legal Counsel for the caucus. In 2014, Mr. Rudikoff was honored by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence with inclusion in the organizationís  ďFirst 100 Plus Class of 2014Ē, an award given to 100 men in Connecticut making a positive impact on the lives of victims of domestic violence. In 2013, Mr. Rudikoff was lead counsel for the Gun Violence Prevention Working Group of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Childrenís Safety, and participated in all negotiations that year surrounding Connecticutís groundbreaking gun safety, school security and mental health services legislation. In 2015, Mr. Rudikoff was appointed to serve on the Legislative Task Force to Study a Statewide Response to Children Exposed to Family Violence. In 2014, he was appointed to serve on the Legislative Task Force to Study the Service of Restraining Orders.


In addition to his tenure on the Judicial Selection Commission, Mr. Rudikoff has served on several other statewide boards and commissions. He has been Chair of the Advisory Board to the Office of the Connecticut Child Advocate since 2012, where he has directed two successful national searches to fill the position of Child Advocate. From 2011-2014, he served as a Commissioner on the Connecticut State Marshal Commission, where he regularly conducted administrative disciplinary hearings. From 2013-2015, Mr. Rudikoff was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Connecticut Tobacco and Health Trust Fund.


Mr. Rudikoff also is active in local community and political organizations. At the synagogue Congregation Mishkan Israel in Hamden, he is a member of the Board of Trustees, a member of the Executive Board, co-Chair of the Nursery School Committee, and a member of the Core Committee on Refugee Resettlement. He also serves as Vice Chair of the Democratic Town Committee for the Town of North Haven, where he resides with his family. From 2013-2015, when he chose not to run for reelection, he was an elected member of the North Haven Zoning Board of Appeals.


Mr. Rudikoff is a 1986 graduate of Rutgers University, and a 1989 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School. He is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York.


PHILLIP W. RYAN


Philip William Ryan is President and CEO of National Lumber Inc. in North Haven, a contractor lumberyard servicing new construction through much of the state.  Mr. Ryan is also a licensed Real Estate Broker, operating several construction and development companies, and managing multifamily owned properties throughout the Greater New Haven area.  Together, these companies' activities cover the spectrum from land acquisition, zoning, development, construction and sales. 
  
Mr. Ryan is a Life Member of the Board of Directors of the Greater New Haven Homebuilders' Association, and was a member of the State Board of Directors, as well as the National Association of Homebuilders, and Northeast Retail Lumbermens' Association.


Mr. Ryan is a 1963 graduate of Yale University.  He is a United States Air Force veteran who spent his first eleven years as a pilot, initially flying combat in Vietnam and Thailand.  He was among the aircrews who flew into Hanoi in February, 1972, for the initial POW release of captured military pilots.  Later, he served at the Pentagon, and completed his service as chief of Transport Pilot Assignments, at the USAF Personnel Center in San Antonio.
  
Mr. Ryan resides in Branford with his wife Jill (Diamond) Ryan.  They have two sons and three grandchildren.


VACANCY


PAMELA Z. SAWYER


Pamela Z. Sawyer served eleven terms as State Representative for the 55th District that includes the towns of Andover, Bolton, Hebron, and Marlborough, stepping down in January 2015.She was appointed Deputy Leader at Large for the House Republicans in 2009, after three terms as Minority Whip. She also served as Assistant Minority Leader in 1997, 1999 and again in 2001. Her committee assignments included Veterans' Affairs, Education, Higher Education, Employment Advancement Transportation, Environment, Human Services and Legislative Management over the course of her 22-year legislative career.  Former Representative Sawyer served as Ranking Member on the Select Committee on Children and on Human Services.
 
Representative Sawyerís local experience includes twelve years on the Bolton Board of Education, serving from 1981 through 1993. She is also a Justice of the Peace, and is on the Board of Directors for both Hartfordís Junior Achievement and the Bolton Land Trust, a member of the Bolton Womenís Club and the national State Agricultural and Rural Leaders Council, as well as a founding member and first President of the UCONN Parents Association.


Having taught middle school science, she has long been an advocate for quality education as well as fighting for state dollars for open space and farmland preservation. Her recent efforts to create a working group to promote the CT Safe Havenís Law continues, working to share the aspects of the law, in an effort to reduce the numbers of abandoned newborns, offering distressed mothers the option to leave the baby at an emergency room.


Pamela Sawyer was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and attended the Providence public school system. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Science Education from the University of Rhode Island and attended graduate school at the same University. She also attended the University of North Carolina School of Business leadership program.  Representative Sawyer resides with her family in Bolton.


CO-VICE CHAIRPERSON

WILLIAM J. WATSON III, ESQ.

 

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Content Last Modified on 2/29/2016 5:11:04 PM







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