In your life, you likely will never meet someone as dedicated to public service as Con Hogan. Cornelius "Con" Hogan, of Plainfield, died at his home on Sunday. He was 77. Hogan is known as a veteran policy maker for Vermont. He worked in advocacy roles in areas such as child support collections, parentage establishment, child protection, teen pregnancy and early childhood health and nutrition programs. But he was also instrumental in meaningful statewide discussions of education, corrections, health care and protecting the state's cultural assets. His amazing career has touched many lives. To many, Con Hogan was a friend. To all he encountered — advocate or adversary — he was, at a minimum, an acquaintance. And even to those who were on the other side of a debate, he was a man to be respected and heard; and he did the same in kind. Chances are excellent that if you worked with Hogan, you picked up on his energy and passion for results. He measured progress in outcomes, and he was dogged in his pursuits. And there were many. Hogan held a master’s degree in government administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University. And he was awarded an honorary doctor of law degree from the University of Vermont, where he presented the commencement address for the graduating UVM Class of 2000. He also was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters from Green Mountain College in May 2012. Hogan had a 15-year career in Corrections, including serving as the state department's commissioner. He was secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Human Services from 1991 through 1999. For the period in between, he was CEO of a mid-sized corporation. Hogan served as a senior fellow with the Center for the Study of Social Policy; a senior consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation; a faculty member of the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practice; a director of Fletcher Allen Health Care; chair of the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson initiative for Strengthening Families; a member of the advisory committee for the National Center for Children in Poverty; and as a consultant to the Children’s Defense Fund, fashioning a program to cover all children for health insurance. Most recently, Hogan was a member of the board of trustees of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a director of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children. He sat on the boards of various associations, most of them aimed at efforts to improve circumstances of families and communities across Vermont. Among his passionate causes: closing Vermont’s only children’s reform school; closing Vermont’s only training school for persons designated as developmentally disabled; reducing the census at the Vermont State Hospital; implementing a statewide welfare reform program in 1994; and establishing outcomes across Vermont that have proved to be measurable and significant. In 2002, he ran for governor as an independent but lost that race to Republican Jim Douglas, the popular incumbent. Hogan worked under governors Richard Snelling and Howard Dean, and was one of the recipients of the 2012 New England Higher Education Excellence Award. In 2015, he learned he needed a kidney transplant. But even when his health suffered, he kept on fighting for the health of others. Literally. Hogan's most recent state assignment was as a member of the five-person Green Mountain Care Board, charged with helping Vermont move toward a universal, unified health care system, in which all Vermonters can access affordable and appropriate health care. At the time of his appointment, Hogan said one of his primary goals was to change the system to reduce the costs of chasing money for doctors. Limiting the amount of time doctors spend on insurance claims, for example, would reduce costs for the health care system overall and give doctors more time with their patients, he argued. It was that kind of thinking that others came to appreciate. Hogan was not afraid to look at the whole board, not just the next move — or even the next four or five moves. He could see within the complexity of an issue and parse out the priorities and determine what needed to happen next. His progressive ideas allowed him to build consensus on most issues he tackled. And while he understood ideological debates, he could pull from all sides in order to come up with well-vetted recommendations — and potential outcomes. We should all strive to do a fraction of what Con Hogan did for Vermont. For someone who never actually held elected office, he moved the needle more than some of those folks who have done it for years. That's effectiveness that will be measured for generations to come. Con Hogan made the difference.

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