January 8, 2019

Tweed airport head Larson leaving for Lamont administration

Photo | Tim Larson via Twitter
Photo | Tim Larson via Twitter
Tim Larson

Gov.-elect Ned Lamont has tapped the longtime executive director of Tweed New Haven Regional Airport to lead the state's Office of Higher Education.

Tim Larson, who is also a Democratic state senator from East Hartford and was previously mayor of that town, will resign both positions in lieu of his new role, officials said. The office administers state financial-aid programs, oversees the licensing and accreditation of independent colleges and universities and regulates trade schools.

"Tim is a natural relationship-builder and someone who can connect the dots between our state's independent colleges and universities and post-secondary career schools and the business community in which we want graduates to find gainful employment," Lamont said in a statement Monday evening.

He said Larson will be tasked with helping to create a pipeline between the institutions and industries looking for qualified, local job applicants.

"In addition, I have asked him to broaden the industries with which these institutions typically partner, as we seek to enhance our state's economic growth and development and keep our graduates right here in Connecticut," Lamont said.

Executive director of Tweed for the last 10 years, Larson has pushed to lengthen the airport's main runway to attract more commercial jets, a move he and others say is vital to the region's economic growth but is bitterly opposed by the surrounding neighborhood.

Legislation proposed last year would have overturned a 5,600-foot restriction on runway length, which was part of a 2009 agreement to end a years-long dispute between the city of New Haven and town of East Haven. But the General Assembly failed to consider the bill before the end of the last legislative session.

Tweed Airport Authority Chairman John Picard told CT News Junkie that Larson promised "some flexibility" in his resignation date.

"Tim was very good at his job," Picard said. "He is not going to be easy to replace."

In a statement, Larson said he was looking forward to his new role.

"This is an exciting opportunity which allows me to leverage my experience and relationships as an elected official and my current role as executive director of Tweed New Haven Airport Authority to help further develop job paths and opportunities for students enrolled in our independent colleges and universities and post-secondary schools," he said.

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