WASHINGTON, D.C.— Statement by AFT President Randi Weingarten on Gov. Dannel Malloy's appointment of AFT Connecticut President Sharon M. Palmer as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor:
"Sharon Palmer is a passionate champion for all working people. While we are sad to have her leave our AFT family, we know that she will accomplish great things for the people of Connecticut as their new labor commissioner. We commend Gov. Malloy for recognizing her leadership and making this appointment.
"Sharon has fought for Connecticut's children and families every day of her career—first, as a classroom teacher, and most recently, as president of AFT Connecticut, an AFT vice president and a Connecticut AFL-CIO vice president.
"She played a key role in shaping Connecticut's groundbreaking education reform legislation, working with the governor and Legislature to help craft a law that will improve schools, benefit all children and respect the voices of frontline educators. She successfully pushed for a change in state law that gave family medical leave benefits to paraprofessionals. And she successfully fought for a change in the law that expanded access to affordable healthcare by allowing municipalities, small businesses and nonprofits to participate in the state employee health plan. Because of her leadership, the Licensed Practical Nurse adult education program was restored in state vocational-technical schools. Sharon's intelligence, passion, experience and ability to find effective solutions to difficult challenges will serve all working people in Connecticut."