Bob Ross' 'threepeat' well deserved

The successful and apolitical work of Bob Ross has earned him reappointment as executive director of the Connecticut Office of Military Affairs under a third gubernatorial administration.

Ross, a former Salem first selectman who ran and governed as an independent, was first appointed in 2009 by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, then reappointed by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2011. Last week new Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, reappointed Ross. It was the right move.

Lamont’s confidence in the former Navy officer is well deserved. Ross experienced firsthand the threat the region and the state faced when, in 2005, it barely averted a Pentagon move to close the submarine base in Groton. He played an instrumental role in developing a state partnership to improve the military value of the base and strengthen its ties to the community, critical to insulating it from future closing threats.

His efforts extend to helping bolster defense industry work throughout the state, advocating for the needs of the Connecticut National Guard and assisting the state’s military families, all which made the reappointment an easy choice for our new governor.

In commenting on his continuing work as head of the Office of Military Affairs, it was interesting to note that Ross concludes that a bridge has been crossed and that the base is now safe from closure threat for the foreseeable future. He attributes this changed situation to the investment that has been made in the base infrastructure, including by the state, and the increased pace of submarine construction tied to emerging global threats.

New challenges have emerged, such as making sure submarine builder Electric Boat has room to expand and the skilled workforce available to meet its accelerated construction demands. On Monday, at a breakfast for state legislators, EB projected its workforce will grow by 900 new personnel in 2019, continuing a generational change with more than 50 percent of its workers now between the ages of 22 and 37.

What a difference from when Ross arrived in his position. At that time, the potential that another threat would emerge to close the Groton base was very real, threatening the special relationship with EB.

It has been a good run. Carry on, Mr. Ross.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Pat Richardson, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, retired Day editor Lisa McGinley, Managing Editor Tim Cotter and Staff Writer Julia Bergman. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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