UPDATED: New Canaan resident Mike Handler running for governor

[Updated 12:20 p.m. July 18] New Canaan resident Michael E. Handler is a Republican candidate for governor of the state of Connecticut. 

Handler, currently the director of administration for the City of Stamford and volunteer director of the Office of Emergency Management for the Town of New Canaan, announced on July 18 that his filing of a candidate committee has been accepted by the state.

"On Friday afternoon I filed paperwork with the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission forming the candidate committee — Mike Handler for Governor 2018,” Handler said in a statement to the Advertiser. “I am both humbled by and appreciative of the support of my loving family and friends as we enter this new phase together. I am excited to listen to the concerns of our neighbors and to share my experience and solutions to the many significant challenges we face as a state. I invite you all to join me at www.handler2018.com."

According to a profile released by Handler:

He has been New Canaan’s director of the Office of Emergency Management, coordinating the Town’s public safety response and training, since April 2011, and he has been a member of New Canaan EMS / Volunteer Ambulance Corps. since 2000, including service as chief of the department.

As City of Stamford director of administration his responsibilities include those of a chief operating officer, chief administrative officer and a chief financial officer.

“Under Michael’s leadership, the City regained its AAA/AAA ratings; quadrupled its cash reserves; fully funded the annual required contributions for both pensions and OPEB; negotiated the first labor contracts that obtained substantive concessions from unions; successfully divested the Smith House-ensuring its ongoing success in providing a caring home to its residents and gainful employment for its 170 employees; preserved our City’s rich history by restoring the Hoyt Barnum House; funded and commenced construction of a new police headquarters and the City’s 21st school,” according to the release.

He has been “tireless in his fight against quality of life complaints, often leading the efforts through the court system on behalf of residents who are exhausted from years of inaction and frustration,” the statement says.

Handler was appointed by Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia, a Republican, in 2012 and continues to serve under Mayor David Martin, a Democrat.

The statement continues:

As chairman of the Stamford board of the Water Pollution Control Authority, he led the board through a financial and operational turnaround where today the Authority is the highest rated municipal waste water treatment plant in the state with a stable budget and significant reserves. The plant now has the highest nitrogen removal levels state-wide.

Handler also serves as:

  • Chairman of the Tax Abatement Committee

    • Significant work with Charter Oak and Inspirica to support the construction of new affordable and deeply-affordable housing

  • Vice-chairman of the OPEB Board of Trustees

  • Incident commander through significant town-wide emergencies, including Irene, Nemo and Sandy

  • Member of Connecticut-West Incident Management Team.  

Handler retired from a 15-year career in finance and investment management in 2007 in order to pursue his passion in public service.

He graduated from Emory University with a BA in political science and from Columbia University with a MBA.

He lives in New Canaan with his wife Sarah and four daughters.