He locked up John Rowland on campaign finance charges, prosecuted others for public corruption and went after Wall Street profiteers as a federal prosecutor, now Chris Mattei, a Bridgeport attorney who lives in Hartford, is exploring a Democratic run for governor in what is shaping up as a crowded field on both sides of the aisle. Mattei is also the lawyer who persuaded a state judge to place State Senator Ed Gomes on the primary ballot last year following a paperwork snafu that Mattei argued was the work of underhanded Democratic party pols.
Mattei, 38, released a video about his plans:
As a former teacher, union organizer for low-wage health care workers, and the Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of fighting public corruption and financial fraud in Connecticut–where I led the team that prosecuted John Rowland–I’ve spent my public life trying to be a voice for people who have too often gone unheard and unseen.
And for far too long the voices of ordinary citizens have been muted by a political system awash in money, besieged by corporate power, and seemingly immune to the basic concerns of average citizens.
The result is an economy that isn’t working for average people. Household costs are on the rise while people are working longer hours for lower wages. Our state budget is in distress and our education system isn’t serving every child.
But I believe if we are willing to come together and work for it, we can build a government and an economy that put average working families at the center of every decision we make.
So today I want to ask you to be a part of something special. Something important. This could be the kind of once-in-a-generation campaign that scores a blow for the working families of Connecticut who have had enough of the backroom deals and influence peddling in our state. But it will only happen if we’re in it together.
Mattei brings to the table as a former teacher and union organizer some strong progressive credentials, but he’s not wired into the Democratic Party establishment that will have a whole lot of choices to make depending on the work-in-progress field following Governor Dan Malloy’s decision not to seek reelection. That could be an advantage given a growing appetite for insurgent candidates.
As a prosecutor he went after both Republicans and Democrats in high profile public corruption cases.
Campaigns are all about dear old MOM–money, organization and message. Aggressive in a courtroom, a crafter of strong arguments, Mattei now must leverage his power of persuasion to reach audiences much larger than judge and jury: political players and statewide voters.
After he left the U.S. Attorney’s Office he joined the Bridgeport-based law firm Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder.
More about Mattei here.