By Karen Guzman
Two Yale School of Management alumni have launched bids for governor in states with hotly contested races this year. Ned Lamont ’80 has entered the Democratic primary race in Connecticut, while Jonathan Heavey ’11 is seeking the Democratic nomination in Ohio. Both say their Yale SOM education encouraged them to think broadly about how to have an impact on their communities.
A cable television entrepreneur, Lamont is making his third run for statewide office. He rose to national prominence when he defeated then-Senator Joseph Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic senatorial primary (Lieberman won the general election as an independent). In 2010, Lamont sought the Democratic nomination for governor, losing to then-Stamford Mayor Dannel P. Malloy, who was elected governor and reelected in 2014 but is not seeking a third term.
A self-described “progressive Democrat,” Lamont is the founder and chairman of Lamont Digital Systems. He has been an active member of the Yale SOM alumni community, serving on the school’s Board of Advisors and co-teaching a course.
As governor, Lamont said, he would work to improve relations between the state legislature and the business community, and to create a more vibrant business environment. He said that his Yale SOM education prepared him to move between the private and public sectors and to understand the value of their partnership.
“There’s more than one bottom line,” Lamont said. “You can do a lot more if you’re in the arena and not on the sidelines. I want to bring a little entrepreneurial spirit to the state of Connecticut.”
Heavey, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic, has joined a crowded field of Ohio Democrats hoping to fill the governor’s seat being vacated by Republican John Kasich. Heavey, an alumnus of Yale SOM’s MBA for Executives program, has served in the U.S. Army and worked as a venture capitalist.
Heavey said that, as governor, he would embrace the ideals that the United States was founded upon, sending “a clear message to Washington that we will fight to protect them.” He has identified economic development and the opioid crisis as two of his priorities.
Heavey credits Yale SOM with allowing him to bring business savvy to the healthcare and public sectors. “SOM enabled me to work ‘beyond the bedside’ for Cleveland Clinic’s corporate venture and global development arms,” he said. “I got to see firsthand how public-private partnerships can be crafted, along with the multiple benefits they can create for a community.”
Among those benefits are job growth and its associated perks in terms of the taxpayer capital base, educational revenue, and growth in affiliated industries, Heavey explained.
“Private-public collaboration can transform a region,” he said. “But it requires sustained commitment from leadership to take the long view on creating value. SOM taught me to look critically at what that commitment means on multiple levels.”