Foley and Somers kick off their campaign in Trumbull

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley of Greenwich and Republican lieutenant governor candidate Heather Bond Somers of Groton talk with the press at their field office in Trumbull.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley of Greenwich and Republican lieutenant governor candidate Heather Bond Somers of Groton talk with the press at their field office in Trumbull. Johanna Somers/The Day

Trumbull — After learning Wednesday that they would be paired together on the general election ballot, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley of Greenwich and Republican lieutenant governor candidate Heather Bond Somers of Groton began their first day campaigning together Thursday.

At a press conference at their field office in Trumbull, Foley said he was pleased to have Somers on the ticket and said their message would remain the same in the general election as it was in the primary. They are both Hartford “outsiders,” have private sector experience and government experience, he said.

Foley, who ran in 2010 against Malloy and lost by about 6,000 votes, said the campaign in 2014 would be different because now Malloy would have to defend his record.

“We have a very different situation,” Foley said. “We have a governor that simply hasn’t performed, and people are unhappy, so the whole dynamic is different in this race.”

He said he was “very glad” to have Somers on the ticket this time around.

“She is from another part of the state, the Second Congressional District, the eastern shoreline and she served in local government so she could talk about issues that maybe weren’t part of the dialogue in 2010,” he said.

Somers has served as mayor of the Town of Groton, is in her fifth term as a Groton town councilor and co-founded a medical device manufacturing company. Foley has served as the U.S. ambassador to Ireland as well as for the head of private sector development for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

As head of private sector development, Foley worked to privatize state-run Iraqi companies. Foley has decades of business experience and started his own buyout company called NTC Group in 1985.

With the primary between Foley and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, out of the way, Foley took the time Thursday to address Malloy’s record. He said Malloy “has to go” because of his $1.5 billion tax increase, spending increases and anti-business policies that have all hurt Connecticut’s economy and job growth.

“We haven’t heard much from the governor about what he would do, but obviously, if he isn’t going to get control over spending, which he hasn’t talked about, he is going to have to increase taxes again because he squandered the tax increase that he put on Connecticut citizens in 2011,” Foley said.

State spending increased by 2.5 percent this year compared to last year.

Last year, the state moved nearly $3 billion worth of federal reimbursements for Medicaid off its budget books. Therefore, the $19 billion budget this year would be $22 billion if federal Medicaid reimbursements had not been moved off budget.

“So let’s have Gov. Malloy be specific about whose taxes he is going to raise to pay these bills and by how much,” Foley said.

Instead of “bribing businesses” to stay in Connecticut with programs such as First Five, which gives millions of dollars to corporations in exchange for job growth, the governor should reduce expensive mandates on companies in order to make the state more “business friendly,” he said.

Malloy’s spokesman Andrew Doba said Thursday that Malloy has eliminated nearly 1,000 pages of regulations in Connecticut.

Somers, meanwhile, said the state needs to invest in infrastructure if it hopes to make the state more business friendly.

“If we can’t get a sewer line and a water line to certain areas, we can’t open it up for economic development,” Somers said. “We have businesses that want to expand, but they don’t have access to the basic infrastructure.”

With 11½ weeks until the Nov. 4 general election, the two appeared to be on the same page when it came to using their “outsider” perspective to take down Malloy.

“Everyone that you talk to on this trail, they are all saying the same thing,” Somers said. “Dan Malloy must go. We need new people in here, outsiders that have new perspectives that can change Connecticut, and today is the day that we are going to start to save Connecticut.”


j.somers@theday.com
Twitter: @JohannaSomers1

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