Meet Kevin Lembo
Across a lifetime in public service – as an AIDS activist, a health care advocate and now as Connecticut’s State Comptroller, Kevin Lembo has earned a reputation as someone who takes on the system to make it work for people.
Now in his second term as Comptroller, Kevin has led and continues to lead efforts to improve and expand public access to information about state revenue and spending, state payments, and payroll. He is the first openly gay statewide elected official in Connecticut.
Kevin took an unconventional path to public service. As a young adult, Kevin was driven to public health advocacy, working in communities of need on hospice home care and needle exchange projects when many people were dying in the early years of the AIDS pandemic.
In 2004, he was appointed as Connecticut’s first state Healthcare Advocate. He helped thousands of Connecticut residents navigate the complexities of the health care system, advocated for patients that were denied coverage, and returned millions of dollars to consumers.
As the state’s chief fiscal guardian, Kevin is driven by strong progressive principles and data-driven decisions that boost Connecticut’s working families, expand opportunity, and promote equality. He provides an independent voice in reporting on the state’s financial and economic outlook.
As Comptroller, Kevin voted against State Bond Commission decisions to borrow $22 million for Bridgewater Associates and another $35 million to AQR Capital because Connecticut should invest in job creation and schools, not borrowing to pay off the world’s wealthiest hedge funds.
Kevin has pushed for independent review of the state’s economic development spending and now consumers have access to information to track where economic assistance dollars are going and the return on investment.
Kevin also developed a plan to reform the state’s pension payment plan to make it flat and predictable over time. And the General Assembly passed, though with a 2020 effective date, legislation he proposed to require the state to build its budget reserve fund and avoid overspending in good economic times.
And he also has been a leading advocate to get consumers more information on prescription drug costs to stop price gouging.
Lembo has been recognized by Connecticut Citizen Action Group with The Nancy Benedict Social Justice Award for his substantial contribution to the advancement of social justice in Connecticut, including his work on health care, labor rights and civil rights — and by GLAD as a social justice advocate for LGBTQ individuals and families.
In building their own family, Kevin and his spouse, Charles Frey, were denied the ability to adopt two children after a New York judge deemed their family unsuitable due to their marital status and sexual orientation. They successfully appealed the matter all the way to the New York State Supreme Court. They later adopted a third child.
Kevin grew up in the manufacturing town of Paterson, New Jersey, where his parents owned a small machine shop. Family finances were often at the mercy of boom-and-bust cycles and when Kevin was a boy, his stepfather suffered an accident at the shop that forced him off the job and cost the family their only source of income and their health insurance. Kevin was the first in his family to attend college.
Kevin now lives in Guilford with Charles, and their son Jordan, who is a freshman at Southern Connecticut State University.