FOCUS Government Affairs @ UKS
Nothing in government happens by accident. To deal with government successfully, creative and effective representation is needed. We are an aggressive lobbying group that anticipates problems and develops strategies to achieve our clients' objectives. Whether our representation is to pass legislation or stop legislation, prevent a crisis or respond to a crisis, we have the ability and experience to achieve our clients’ goals and objectives. Our success is in our proven track record. We are a strong bipartisan team that is one of Connecticut's most highly respected government relations practice groups and are recognized for effective and articulate promotion of the interests of our clients.
Unlike most Connecticut lobbying firms, we unite the legal, lobbying and public affairs disciplines through unique experience and intimate familiarity with the legislative and lawmaking process of the State of Connecticut. It is an asset that separates the Firm from its competitors. Few, if any, public affairs corporations offer our capability and professionalism.
We also provide legislative monitoring and personal tracking of legislative issues and proposals, and employ specially-trained staff for the purposes of following pending bills, legislative hearings, committee meetings, amendments and other items of interest.
FOCUS Government Affairs @ UKS is a full service government relations firm that draws upon the knowledge and experience of attorneys, former executive branch officials, and specialists whose collective expertise is made available to all our governmental affairs clients. This team-based approach ensures that the proper resources are determined and committed, so that our government affairs clients receive the most efficient, cost-effective professional services possible.
We provide a broad spectrum of legislative, regulatory, administrative and executive lobbying and consulting services to a wide range of clients. Because we have over 60 years of experience working with and within government, we are experts on the legislative process and can skillfully negotiate with staff and elected officials. In addition, our strong relationships with federal, state and local elected officials allow us to effectively assist our clients in their dealings with all levels of government.
FOCUS Government Affairs has strategic relationship with Connecticut-based law firm Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, PC that allow us to provide an additional level of service including legal advice, counsel, and legal assistance to corporate, institutional, municipal, and individual clients.
JAMES S. PAOLINO, ESQ. began his career working in municipal government before working for several years at the state level with both the Executive Branch and the Connecticut General Assembly. Attorney Paolino has worked as the Director of State Lobbying for the Connecticut Hospital Association, one of Connecticut’s largest healthcare provider associations. As Director of State Lobbying, Attorney Paolino gained extensive experience in handling complex issues including Medicaid reimbursement, workforce and employment legislation, tax issues, patient safety programs, as well as a wide variety of other issues related to healthcare, technology, the environment, and business.
Attorney Paolino brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to the FOCUS Government Affairs team. Having worked at the municipal and state levels as well as the private sector, Attorney Paolino adds a deep level of understanding of government and the legislative process as well as commitment to achieving positive results for his clients. This background gives Attorney Paolino a wide range of personal contacts and relationships in both government and the private sector, which are then utilized to provide positive results for clients. Attorney Paolino combines his background and personal contacts with his legal skills to provide a comprehensive bipartisan approach to challenging issues for his clients.
Attorney Paolino is very active in his community where he currently serves as Chairman of his town’s Sewer and Water Commission. He also serves as the Chief Financial Officer and on the Board of Directors of his local branch of the Lion’s Club International. Attorney Paolino is also an adjunct professor, teaching Western Civilization, World Civilizations and U.S. History.
WILLIAM J. MALITSKY began his government affairs career by working directly for two Democratic Speakers of the House of Representatives, learning the intricacies of the legislative process from inside this key leadership office. Following service on behalf of the Speaker, Mr. Malitsky entered the private sector and served as the Director of Government Relations for the Connecticut State Dental Society, one of Connecticut’s largest health related associations, and thereafter became associated with a large Hartford lobbying group. During his extensive career as a lobbyist Mr. Malitsky established a strong reputation for being able to accomplish the legislative and administrative goals of his clients. Mr. Malitsky believes in a bipartisan, leave no stone unturned approach to advocacy in Hartford.
Mr. Malitsky has a wealth of experience within state government and brings these talents to the team at FOCUS Government Affairs. During his five years on the staff of the Speaker, Mr. Malitsky developed strong ties to both parties and learned how to navigate the legislative process in order to achieve the goals of adopting legislation. Mr. Malitsky served on the staff of Speaker Richard. J Balducci during the fiscal crisis of the early 90’s providing him with a keen understanding of how government can best operate in challenging times.
Mr. Malitsky brings his drive for success and commitment to excellence to the forefront of any challenge. He has a great deal of experience and expertise in crisis management for the clients he represents. Mr. Malitsky has worked on a variety of complex issues such as: insurance, health care, environmental and tax issues, as well as, energy, pharmaceutical, business, education and construction and development issues. Knowledge of the people involved in decision making is a vital role in any lobbying activity. Mr. Malitsky is uniquely able to combine his knowledge of the people involved in State Government with his understanding of the legislative process and provide his clients with a seamless approach to achieving results. Mr. Malitsky is a frequent speaker before client groups, providing them insight into the lawmaking process and best preparing them to advocate for their positions.
MIKE MARTONE has spent the majority of his career working in the Government sector, first as an aide to a United States Congressman and then as the legislative liaison at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. Before joining Focus Government Affairs, he spent 21 years as a senior lobbyist at Murtha Cullina, LLP, a major Hartford and Boston based law firm. During his tenure at Murtha, he handled countless complex issues for energy, technology and business and industry clients.
Mike is a well-respected Hartford lobbyist who is well known for his thoughtful, thorough and strategic approach to legislative advocacy. He has earned the respect of large multinational corporations and smaller local entities who have entrusted him to lobby on their major issues. Mike also brings an extensive working knowledge of state government agencies and municipal governments to the FOCUS Government Affairs team and currently works with several clients seeking to do business in the public sector.
Mr. Martone embraces every opportunity to understand a client’s goal, develop a strategy and achieve results. Coupling this, with his reputation as a well prepared and honest advocacy for his clients, Mike has earned the respect of legislators and administration officials alike.
ROSS GIONFRIDDO began his political career in 2010 working on political campaigns. Since then, he has worked in various levels of government at the state and federal levels, including as a Judiciary Committee attorney for U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. In this role, he helped craft legislation to strengthen civil liberties, including proposals to provide more scrutiny over the FISA Court and more oversight over the civil asset forfeiture process. Prior to law school, Ross clerked for Connecticut House Democratic Leadership.
Mr. Gionfriddo continues to stay active in political campaigns and has served as a consultant and election law attorney for several state and municipal races. His other government experience includes legal work for the Connecticut Judiciary Committee and the Connecticut Secretary of State’s office. Ross’s previous campaign, government, and lobbying experience provide him with a unique understanding of the legislative process that allows him to effectively advocate for clients.
In his spare time, Ross is an active member of the South Windsor Democratic Town Committee, serving as vice chair. He also coaches football in the fall months at his alma mater, Hall High School.
MICHAEL BZDYRA has extensive experience in state government and provides government relations services for a variety of clients. Mike works closely with organizations in the financial industry, business clients, and educational organizations, on a wide variety of issues related to their businesses and government affairs goals. He possesses excellent relationships with the administration, executive branch agencies, the legislature, as well as with local municipal officials across the state.
Mike has more than 30 years of professional experience in Connecticut state government. Most recently from 2016 to 2019, Mike served as Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). He was responsible for the overall operations of the DMV that served millions of customers annually and led the department of 800 employees and managed a $66 million budget. He previously served as the DMV Deputy Commissioner.
Prior to joining the DMV, Mike served as the Government Relations Liaison to the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority (CRRA). In this role, he was responsible for directing, planning, and implementing CRRA's legislative, governmental, and regulatory activities. He also regularly collaborated with the Connecticut State Legislature, the Governor's office, and executive branch agencies.
In addition, Mike has served as the Senior Policy/Communications Specialist at the Senate Democrat’s office and as a legislative aide and clerk for the General Assembly’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.
ALEXIS BOURASSA joined FOCUS Government Affairs after graduating from UConn. During her time, Alexis has since been implementing, maintaining, and managing internal and external communication efforts at the firm as well as establishing and maintaining a social media presence.
Alexis graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019 where she achieved dual bachelor’s degrees in Communications and English, with a concentration in Public Relations. During her time at UConn, Alexis worked for the University of Connecticut Office of Athletic Communications where she worked closely with the press and media. Through her education and time at UConn, Alexis has extensive experience creating and delivering press releases, creating media relations content, corporate newsletters, social media content and creation, and speaking proposals which she has been able to leverage into the political environment. Her experience has assisted FOCUS Government Affairs by growing client relations as well as maintaining and establishing relationships with legislators. Working hand and hand with our clients, Alexis pinpoints and tracks bills of importance. Throughout bill tracking, Alexis also works with the clients to meet their legislative and lobbying needs such as helping clients participate in public hearings and assisting with the scheduling of meetings with legislators.