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Awaiting Foley's urban agenda

Published July 30. 2014 4:00AM

Republican Tom Foley recognizes that if he wants to win a potential rematch with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy he needs to run far stronger in Connecticut's cities. Gov. Malloy's overwhelming margins of victories in places like Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport made him the governor.

Had Mr. Foley done as well in cities as the last Republican to be governor, M. Jodi Rell, he would have won easily.

To this end, Mr. Foley has repeatedly promised to reveal an "urban agenda" in this campaign. If Mr. Foley can suggest different, substantive ideas for reviving Connecticut's cities he could well pry away the votes from moderate Democrats that he needs.

So far, however, Mr. Foley has not moved beyond the broad concept stage. Given that he has to win a primary election, Aug. 12, against state Sen. John McKinney before he can take on Gov. Malloy again, one might think he would have presented his plan by now.

Apparently, Mr. Foley has made the calculation that urban agendas work better in general elections than Republican primaries. Instead of giving out the plan, Mr. Foley explains he is visiting cities to gather information and work on it.

He did discuss those broad concepts in a recent meeting with The Day editorial board.

Mr. Foley said he would seek to create economic development zones in cities, with the development there under greater state control. The intent, he said, is to save potential developers from any local corruption or favoritism.

To improve education, he would more aggressively pursue school choice within urban centers, with the money following the child to the school of choice.

And he would be more aggressive in combating city crime, though he did not spell out how.

Connecticut could benefit from a gubernatorial debate over how to improve our state's urban centers. Whoever ends up running for governor should prepare for that discussion.

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