Kevin Reynolds, Election Law Guru, Becomes City Lobbyist

Kevin Reynolds
Kevin Reynolds

You want to know about Connecticut election law? You call Kevin Reynolds. The guy knows his stuff. He also has great contacts having served as legal counsel for three Democratic state chairs including the current Chair Nancy DiNardo and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen when he served. As the state legislative session begins in Hartford today (Wednesday) the city has brought on Reynold’s firm, Reynolds Strategy Group, to serve as lobbyist for the city at $55,000. The session ends in June.

Mayor Bill Finch has used several lobbyists throughout the years for a variety of state and federal matters. Reynolds’ firm will replace Gaffney, Bennett and Associates, a seasoned lobbying firm. Reynolds’ website Yo Kevin, why isn’t OIB listed under your website media list? Former State Senator Ernie Newton could certainly use someone like Reynolds right about now. Reynolds’ bio:

Kevin N. Reynolds is a principal of RSG. Prior to that, Mr. Reynolds was a principal and member of the Board of Directors at the law firm of Updike Kelly & Spellacy, PC, serving as Chair of the firm’s Government Relations & Public Affairs practice group for eight years. Mr. Reynolds has most recently represented clients such as Amazon, CVS/Caremark, Diageo, the Direct Marketing Association, Goodwin College, Northeast Utilities, Quest Diagnostic Clinical Laboratories, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Live Nation, Genesis Healthcare and the American Legion. Mr. Reynolds also has great experience representing numerous insurance organizations over the years including, but not limited to, AHIP, Mutual of Omaha, Unum and AFLAC.

As a lawyer, Mr. Reynolds also routinely handles matters in the areas of administrative, elections and municipal law. He was integrally involved in representing Essent Healthcare in its acquisition of Sharon Hospital. A process that lasted over two years, it is the state’s first and only non-profit to for-profit hospital conversion. Hartford Magazine named Mr. Reynolds among its Top Lawyers in 2006.

Since 2000, Mr. Reynolds has served as the Legal Counsel for the Connecticut Democratic Party. As Legal Counsel, Mr. Reynolds has served under three Chairs of the Democratic State Central Committee, including Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, AFL-CIO President John Olsen and current Chair Nancy DiNardo.

Prior to attending law school, Mr. Reynolds served for several years on the legislative staff of U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd. While working in Senator Dodd’s office, his responsibilities included drafting legislation on domestic issues, preparing legislative statements and handling federal casework.

Mr. Reynolds also serves in a leadership capacity in a number of other professional, political and community organizations. Mr. Reynolds is also a Corporator of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. In the past, Mr. Reynolds has served as Chairman of the International Council of Shopping Centers, Connecticut State Government Relations Committee. He is a member of the West Hartford Democratic Town Committee and is an alumnus of Leadership Greater Hartford, Class of 1999.

Mr. Reynolds received his J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia and his A.B. at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.



  1. Kudos to Mayor Finch. This will be money well spent for sure. The largest city in the state of Connecticut needs all the help it can get bringing money back to the city and helping our elected officials unify for common goals. If this is Bridgeport’s time, let’s go with heavy hitters and pay the price. We do not always put individuals in office who can bring the bucks back to Bridgeport. Maybe now we can. I am hopeful. I believe this was a brilliant move on the part of the Finch administration.

  2. The amount of funds we spend in the City of Bridgeport and the value of the services or goods in exchange we receive is a most suitable subject. But who is looking at it regularly?

    Steve, I am not trying to skewer you for your enthusiastic send-up of the “brilliant move of the Finch administration” but I will raise the issue nevertheless. Do you know we pay State and Federal lobbying expenses with the taxpayer dollar? Do you know what we get for this representation, on average, year in and year out? If the answer is NO, then how is this “brilliant?” Does the Budget & Administration Committee comment on this? Does the lobbyist corral the State delegation and develop a consensus of priority City needs and a plan to work those needs in Committee and at hearings in Hartford during the session? Does any of that, especially the priorities, become local news?

    Does any of this seem reasonable to taxpayers who observe the political process, governance, and the money that supports the structure? (By the way, when Hartford representatives, or any other legislative group in DC or State capitols choose to fund something from a deficit budget, you can call it bacon locally perhaps, but if the whole structure continues to be compromised, then a ‘baconless’ diet will become standard at some point. Why spend $55,000 unless you keep score and not keep it secret? Time will tell.

    1. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a brilliant move. If I were Mayor, I would also utilize the talent of the individual in question. I have to believe bringing money back to Bridgeport is going to cost us. Time will tell as you say. I believe now is the time to invest everything we can to stimulate this city. Some retailers make the mistake of firing salespeople during a bad economy. I would say sometimes it is a huge mistake. More salesmen may generate more sales. In this case I still say kudos to Finch. I would do the same thing. We need as many eloquent talented lobbyists as we can afford. Now is the time! I would love to see results and have a scorecard.

  3. Steve,
    Thank you for your added comments. You know how much I want to see real numbers, strong efforts and positive results in the City. If those things do not happen, my efforts to bring things to light for the taxpaying public will be largely wasted.

    While I have no evidence LOBBYING funds spent by the City for representation bring about worthwhile results I can be convinced of their efficacy if that type of scorecard were routinely kept for the funds the City does not qualify for as a matter of right, many of which are because so many low-income or otherwise needy people reside in the City.

    Let me share a positive impression on an area where the City spends consulting money. For years funds have been paid to the National Development Council, a non-profit consultancy offering technical expertise and training on the subject of Community Development (and in this regard with specific reference to economic development). One of the directors of that firm has lived in Bridgeport until recently and has assisted in working on more than one project to review and advise the City and developers (including banks and financial institutions) how one or more tax and credit strategies, formal government programs, or other acceptable techniques (like local property tax abatement or Enterprise Zones) may be combined to make a project viable and ready to go. I found the use of non-disclosure agreements most interesting in providing integrity to a development process that could otherwise shut down way too soon from basic distrust, hard negotiating or other factors including timing delays that hinder the very necessary economic development in the City of Bridgeport.

    So this is a use of taxpayer dollars for experience and professional ability from a neutral party to increase Grand List values. This scorecard can be measured by a chart of new projects embarked on each year in the face of depressions, recessions, environmental issues and bank lending practices. It is not brain surgery, so a brain surgeon would not help here. It isn’t rocket science either. But it is an area that requires special expertise and the City (or a taxpayer) can monitor on a scorecard. Time will tell.

  4. $55,000 a year is relatively cheap for a lobbyist. The city’s legislative delegation is notorious for not working together to bring home the bacon, as Lennie put it. Maybe this guy can do more. The people of the city of Bridgeport deserve more, much more than we’ve been getting. Bill Finch is all about what HE wants to do–the continuing effort to take control of the BOE, for example. That’s a power grab if there ever was one. He doesn’t give a shit about things like due process, voters’ rights, or anything we have been guaranteed by the United States Constitution.


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