03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Juan Figueroa Prepares to Toss His Hat

The big national news story on Wednesday was that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) would not seek reelection for his senate seat, a position he has held for nearly three decades. Waiting in the wings for that cue was Connecticut's well respected Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D). There was nary a beat skipped between the two announcements, begging the question... Was the baton exchange orchestrated?

With Blumenthal publicly declared, lots of back room machinations, no doubt took place yesterday from Springfield to Fairfield County. Now that it is public knowledge where the Attorney General will be paying considerable attention, the race for the Democratic nomination for governor of Connecticut is about to become a whole lot more interesting.

Thursday afternoon, as the dust begins to settle from the Dodd and Blumenthal front page news, Juan Figueroa, former Connecticut State Legislator, Assistant Attorney General and most recently the driving force behind the successful passage of Sustinet, the state's historic healthcare reform legislation, will toss his exploratory hat into the ring for the office of Governor of the Nutmeg State.

(See "Sleepy Little Connecticut the Tip of the Healthcare Reform Spear")

As the first president of the Universal Healthcare Foundation, Juan Figueroa was able to organize the efforts of many diverse organizations, build coalition between unlikely allies and artfully navigate the legislative water hazards ( including the override of a veto by an inexplicably popular Republican governor ) to bring real healthcare reform to Connecticut. This was no small feat.

This special skill set, in my opinion, places Mr. Figueroa, "Hartford's Healthcare Hero," in position to open up a brand new demographic, in a classic insurgent campaign.
The front runners, (Reference Quinnipiac Poll) one, an old school career politician with unbridled ambition, the other a deep pocketed dilettante, in my opinion, would do well not to underestimate this fresh new candidate.