Av Harris joined the Concord Coalition as Communications Director in November 2021 after serving more than 13 years in state and municipal government in Connecticut and more than a decade as an award winning journalist for several National Public Radio member stations, Reuters, and other media outlets.
Av’s primary responsibilities for the Concord Coalition include producing, editing and mixing our weekly podcast and radio show Facing the Future, and occasionally serving as guest host. This includes booking guests for the program and joining the policy team to decide on content for the episodes. He also oversees all website and social media content, press releases, statements, media interviews, and opinion pieces. Av also works in concert with national field director Phil Smith to organize forums on fiscal and economic issues throughout the country. Av will routinely record those events and produce the content into episodes of Facing the Future, and he has also been known to lead the occasional ‘Principles and Priorities’ budget exercise at a few college campuses.
Prior to joining the Concord Coalition, Av served as Director of Communications and Government Relations for the Connecticut Department of Public Health from 2019-2021, overseeing two staff teams heading up legislative and policy matters as well as communications during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Av was also appointed during this time by Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont to oversee all state government public communications related to the pandemic through the Joint Information Center, coordinating with all state agencies, major municipalities and health care providers, and organizing daily media briefings from the state Emergency Operations Center. He was part of the decision making team on critical issues during the pandemic such as: restrictions on indoor gathering sizes, travel based quarantines, high school sports recommendations, school and business closures and re-opening guidelines, community based testing and vaccination sites, nursing home visitation and oversight, provision of personal protective equipment, and many other life and death matters.
Av previously served as legislative and public policy director for the City of Bridgeport, where he spearheaded a legislative effort to reform expensive municipal pension systems by allowing cities across Connecticut to use the lower interest rate municipal bond market to securitize unfunded pension liability and reduce debt service payments for taxpayers by hundreds of millions of dollars. In this role Av also served as the Public Information Officer for Bridgeport Police, Fire, and all emergency services. Prior to this role Av served as Communications Director for the city of approximately 147,000 people on Long Island Sound.
Av also served nearly a decade prior to this in Connecticut state government as a communications officer for the Office of the Connecticut State Treasurer, responsible for among other things acting as the sole fiduciary for the state’s $30 billion pension fund. He also served as Communications Director for the Connecticut Secretary of the State, responsible for overseeing all elections in the state and the commercial registry database.
Prior to his government service, Av Harris spent a decade as an award winning broadcast journalist whose reports were frequently aired across the country on National Public Radio. He worked as a reporter, news anchor and producer first on New Hampshire Public Radio where he covered the 2000 presidential primary and the impeachment of the State Supreme Court Chief Justice, then WBUR 90.9 FM in Boston and Providence, RI where he covered the federal corruption trial of infamous Providence Mayor Vincent A “Buddy” Cianci as well as the tragic fire at the Station Nightclub that killed 100 people, and then to Connecticut Public Broadcasting where he covered all state legislative, political and public policy matters. He also traveled to Jerusalem and the West Bank to produce a nationally aired radio documentary on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict in 2001, and was a regular correspondent on top American news stories in Hebrew for Israeli national radio in Jerusalem.
Av Harris grew up in New Hampshire and received his BA in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy degree at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy. He lives in Manchester, NH with his partner and their young daughter. Av’s two other daughters are both college students.