CBIA BizCast: New DECD Chief Alexandra Daum


Alexandra Daum wants to use her business background in her new role as commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Daum was nominated by Gov. Ned Lamont to succeed David Lehman as the state’s economic development head when he began his second term as governor.

Before joining the Lamont administration as deputy commissioner and DECD’s chief investment officer in March 2020, Daum was the founder and principal of Field Properties, a New Haven real estate investor.

“I know what it feels like to be on the other side of the table,” she said.

“I know what it’s like to be a small business owner and the ups and downs and certainly have experienced those ups and downs myself.”

Daum said that experience allows her to understand the concerns and needs of businesses. 

A New Approach

She credited Lehman and Lamont for two key accomplishments in changing the approach of DECD in recent years, including overhauling state incentives and investing in community development.

Daum said the idea behind creating performance-based incentives was to stop giving taxpayer money upfront to businesses “without knowing what they were going to be able to do for the state.”

One of those programs to incentivize growth is JobsCT, which provides businesses with a payroll tax benefit after jobs are created.

“We didn’t want to see them get these incentives and then possibly not deliver on what the promises were.”

“We didn’t want to see them get these incentives and then possibly not deliver on what the promises were.”

DECD’s Alexandra Daum

As far as investing in community development, Daum pointed to programs to remediate brownfield sites to be redeveloped, and a communities challenge program to provide grants for transit–oriented developments in downtowns.

“People care about the communities in which they live and which they work,” she said.

“We want to make the case that this is a place you want to live in because it’s vibrant, walkable, or whatever it is that you’re looking for.”

Daum said these types of initiatives can attract people to Connecticut and solve the state’s workforce crisis. 

“Making sure that this is a place that they want to live and work physically is one of the things that we can do, and I definitely think of that as a mandate,” she said.


Daum highlighted CBIA a a partner as DECD designs programs to address the needs of businesses in the state.

Solving the labor shortage and making Connecticut a more affordable place to live and work are touchstones of CBIA’s 2023 Transform Connecticut policy solutions

One of those solutions is full restoration of the pass-through entity tax credit, which Lamont announced on Jan. 18 as his first legislative proposal for 2023.

“This is a great example of a place where CBIA really moved the needle because Chris [DiPentima] and your policy folks have been advocating for restoring the pass-through entity tax diligently, tirelessly over the past couple of years,” said Daum.

“This is a great example of a place where CBIA really moved the needle.”


“It’s a great example of the business community, just making sure that their voice is heard.

“This rose to the top of the pile is something that is really important to folks and especially to small business owners.”

Daum said the importance of small businesses to the success of Connecticut’s economy cannot be overstated.

“Small businesses are physically the backbone of our cities and our towns,” she said.

“If we’re not supporting small businesses, then our cities and towns are just going to kind of be empty shells.”

Setting Priorities

So what is Daum hoping to accomplish in her time as DECD commissioner?

She said her main priorities are strengthen our cities and drive the message that Connecticut is a good place to do business.

“Our cities really have the opportunity to take advantage of some of the trends we’ve seen over the last 10 years about people wanting to live in denser downtown environments with immediate access to retail and legal services and cultural institutions,” she said.

“We have so many innovative businesses, so many innovative industries, and we want to make sure that folks outside the state and frankly inside the state understand why those companies have chosen, why they’re choosing to stay, and all the great values that were provided to them.”

“Our cities really have the opportunity to take advantage of some of the trends we’ve seen over the last 10 years.”


As she begins her term, Daum wants business leaders to know that she works for them, and her door is open to hear what’s working, what the problems are, and ideas on how to fix them.

Daum said “CBIA is the answer” for business leaders to make sure their voices are heard.

“I think having folks combine their voices through a group like CBIA, where the message gets back to the state in a super organized, super thoughtful way, usually with suggested action items as well—I mean, that’s a great way for us to receive feedback,” Daum said.

“That’s a great way to get involved.”

The CBIA BizCast is made possible through the generous support of Google. Please rate, review, and subscribe to the BizCast wherever you get your podcasts—we appreciate your support! If you have a story to tell, contact Amanda Marlow.


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