Governor Lamont Appoints Ginne-Rae Clay as Interim Executive Director of the Social Equity Council
The council was created this summer by the enactment of a new state law legalizing and safely regulating the adult-use of cannabis in Connecticut. Under that law, the governor is required to appoint an interim executive director who will operationalize and support the council until its members appoint someone to permanently fill the position.
Clay is an accomplished senior executive with more than 35 years of expertise in government, organizational management, education, community action, and community engagement. Most recently, she served with the City of Bridgeport as the deputy director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development and director of the Office of Housing and Community Development in a position that required her to oversee the management and coordination of multiple city departments, administer the city’s Housing and Urban Development grant programs, and create and negotiate its contracts, among other housing and community development programs.
In 2011 and 2012 she served as an adjunct professor at Central Connecticut State University’s School of Business, from 2007 to 2012 as state director for the Connecticut Small Business Development Center, and from 1987 to 2007 she held several senior level positions at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.
Clay is also actively involved with several boards and community organizations. She is currently the president of the Greater Waterbury NAACP, and is a member of the ACLU of Connecticut’s board of directors, the Waterbury Diversity Council, the Waterbury Development Corporation, and Waterbury Voices. She has earned a master’s degree from the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business and Public Administration, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut.
“The Social Equity Council has the important responsibility of overseeing the implementation of this new law, transferring the cannabis market from one that for decades has been dangerous and unregulated to one that will support a new equitable sector of our economy,” Governor Lamont said. “Ginne-Rae’s experience working in business development and helping promote quality, affordable housing, in addition to her passionate service as a leader in several community organizations, will benefit the Social Equity Council tremendously. I appreciate her willingness to step into this important role and help this new council complete the important mission it was tasked to complete.”
“I am humbled that Governor Lamont has selected and charged me with helping to create this historic and extremely important economic empowerment driver,” Clay said. “I congratulate those selected to serve on the Social Equity Council and look forward to our success. I have spent most of my professional career working with small businesses and helping them see and meet their potential. My work in the areas of community and housing development are a direct result of my passion for Connecticut communities, especially communities of color. I am thrilled to be working with the Department of Economic and Community Development again and look forward to helping reshape the lives of Black and Brown residents.”
The Social Equity Council consists of 15 members appointed by bipartisan legislative leaders, the chairperson of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, and the governor. Membership on the council are unpaid, volunteer positions. The council is responsible for:
- Developing programs to support the participation of individuals from communities disproportionately harmed by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition in the cannabis market;
- Qualifying social equity applicants, as defined under the law, for cannabis business licenses during the application process; and
- Proposing a budget for cannabis-related revenues to support all types of business startups and job creation, economic development, and reinvestment in neighborhoods identified by the law the Social Equity Council.