Profiles of Public People: CT Attorney General George C. Jepsen

Attorney General George C. Jepsen took office on Jan. 5, 2011, becoming the 24th Attorney General in Connecticut since the office was established in 1897. The Attorney General is a constitutional officer, the state’s chief legal officer and serves as legal counsel to all state agencies. A former legislator, state Senate majority leader and Democratic state party chairman, Jepsen was a practicing lawyer for more than 26 years before becoming Attorney General. Jepsen is an advocate and recognized leader on issues affecting working men and women; consumer protection; civil rights; domestic violence; protecting a woman’s right to choose; living wills and end-of-life issues; gun safety, including Connecticut’s ban on assault weapons and protecting Connecticut’s natural and historic resources. Well-traveled, conversant in French, Spanish and Chinese, and standing at 6’3”, George is the epitome of the Gentle Giant.

I am a big history and biography buff. Right now I am reading Ron Chernow’s very detailed biography of George Washington (the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers I never get tired of) plus another book entitled Waterloo, which details that most epic of battles featuring Napoleon and Wellington. Most recently I finished Nathan Philbrick’s excellent account of Custer’s Last Stand (I have a – probably unhealthy – fascination with history’s over-reaching megalomaniacs like Napoleon and Custer). William Manchester, Barbara Tuchman, and Stephen Ambrose are among my favorite authors.
Books aside, I read the New York Times and the Hartford Courant daily and the Wall Street Journal whenever I can. My favorite columnists are Thomas Friedman, Fareed Zakaria, and David Brooks. At home we receive Time, Newsweek, and the Economist, which I generally end up reading at airports and in hotel rooms when I travel, typically a couple of times a month. As for web sites and blogs, I am addicted to CT Capitol Report, and enjoy Politico, Daily Beast, Real Clear Politics, and CNN.
Worthy of special mention is that my main hobby is cooking, and I just love reading recipes. I have about forty cookbooks featuring recipes from all over the world, and subscribe to Bon Appetite. Some times for fun I’ll plop myself on the couch with a stack of recipe books and dive in! Steve Raichlin on grilling, Mario Batali on Italian, and Mark Bittman on just about everything, are all excellent.

I am very, very unsophisticated when it comes to music, mostly trapped in the Rock ‘n Roll of my youth with occasional forays into modern popular artists. The Doors, Rolling Stones, Dire Straits, Led Zepplin, Beatles, Cars, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen among others are all great. From today’s crowd I enjoy Green Day, 3 doors down, and Katy Perry. Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” is a terrific song. I recently impressed some kids because I could recite lyrics of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”

As with my taste in music, my taste in movies and TV is closely allied with popular culture – nothing too deep or heavy. For movies I like action/adventure (the Jason Bourne series, Lord of the Rings, Raiders, etc.), some scary stuff (Silence of the Lambs, The Shining), and comedy (Men in Black, Hangover, Something About Mary). Ever since I saw Taxi Driver and Road Warrior I have thought it would be cool to have a Mohawk haircut, and last March I got my chance when I volunteered to have my head shaved for the St. Baldrick’s children cancer charity – I had the barber start with a Mohawk and got my picture taken before he finished the job.
I lost the war long ago at home for control of the TV remote, so I mostly watch whatever the kids have on. When free to choose, it is usually a movie or a UConn Husky basketball as background while I read the newspaper. I don’t watch many regular shows, but I love John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and greatly enjoy Big Bang Theory and 30 Rock. And I am always on the lookout for Band of Brothers reruns.

These days I do more editing than writing. Historically, though, I have always enjoyed precise written expression, whether it was an op-ed piece or a legal document. As AG I write lots of short, personal notes to staff members who perform well on the job or have a significant life event such as illness, a new baby, or a death in the family.

Finding the right gift is always a challenge, and I don’t always execute well. Diana and I have two boys, 15 and 18. I try to find things that are unusual or quirky (this Christmas it was 20 million year old fossil insects encased in amber), or something that is unique to them (for example, my older son likes hot sauce, so I bought him five different brands). Never easy.

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