Malloy raises issues of gun legislation, minimum wage on campaign swing

Governor Dannel Malloy, right, laughs along with Pastor Cynthia Gee West as they sit together during the Bridgeport NAACP Reorganization Membership Event in Bridgeport Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.
Governor Dannel Malloy, right, laughs along with Pastor Cynthia Gee West as they sit together during the Bridgeport NAACP Reorganization Membership Event in Bridgeport Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.

Bridgeport — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy roused the audience to a standing ovation despite arriving late to the NAACP Meet the Candidates luncheon at the Holiday Inn Saturday.

With the election days away, Malloy made a marathon campaign run starting at 9 a.m. with canvassing in Stamford and ending after a 6 p.m. Democratic Town Committee dinner in Wethersfield, with stops in the New Haven area in addition to Bridgeport in the interim.

Opponent Republican Tom Foley had inspired only polite attention and a few muted claps during his own presentation at the NAACP luncheon, where he and Malloy were each asked the same four questions pertaining to issues including education, unemployment rates and racial profiling by police officers.

In contrast to Foley’s lukewarm reception, Malloy drew applause at the luncheon with his mentions of gun legislation and the minimum wage increase passed under his administration.

Malloy’s reference to passing stricter gun laws after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting hit a sharp chord with Elda Gloria Brown, adviser to the NAACP youth council chapter in Bridgeport.

“If a baby can get a gun in his hand, that’s not fair to his mother,” she said in the hallway after Malloy left the function, saying that too many young people have died as a result of gun violence.

Jeremy Jamison, 17, president of the youth council, said he thought Foley would face a hurdle in gaining the vote of the luncheon attendees.

“I feel as if there are some things that the people of this community are really trying to understand from Foley’s perspective,” he said.

Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut chapter of the NAACP, did not come out in support of either Malloy or Foley, he said in an interview after the candidates had left the hotel. He mentioned that campaign promises don’t always get fulfilled and said that ultimately, the only solution to issues such as inner city violence is job creation.

“The blue collar job pretty much has been wiped out,” he said, adding that he did not believe college was a viable path for everyone.

Malloy later underscored common ground with voters during a Get Out the Vote rally at the East Farm Village subsidized housing complex for residents ages 55 and older, located in East Haven.

Joining him in the community room of the housing complex were U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., and state Rep. James Albis, D-East Haven. Together, the quartet focused their efforts on encouraging residents to vote Democratic.

Malloy again pointed to past accomplishments to rouse the room, mentioning the minimum wage hike to $10.10 an hour, a budget increase of $6.5 million this year for a rebate program for senior renters, and the establishment of a Department of Aging under his administration.

He characterized Foley as a candidate too wealthy to connect with low-income and middle-class voters.

“This guy Foley doesn’t have a clue, doesn’t know what it’s like to live in this building,” Malloy said.

He and DeLauro wove references to their parents and their own age into their speeches. DeLauro praised the 60 or so complex residents in the room as the “greatest generation,” telling them, “We stand on your shoulders.”

“All you want today is respect, and dignity, and economic independence,” she said to the crowd.

Malloy commented as residents queued up for coffee and sweets, before he and campaign staff headed to Middletown for another rally, that the complex “votes unbelievably well.”

Malloy is campaigning again in Bridgeport today, where President Barack Obama is scheduled to join him.

t.townsend@theday.com

Twitter: @ConnecticuTess

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2014 Election Guide: Governor

Left photo: Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, center, his wife, Leslie Fahrenkopf, and daughter Grace greet diners at the Athenian Diner III in Milford as the Foley family hits the campaign trail early Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Right photo: Governor Dannel Malloy, right, laughs along with Pastor Cynthia Gee West as they sit together during the Bridgeport NAACP Reorganization Membership Event in Bridgeport Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.
Left photo: Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, center, his wife, Leslie Fahrenkopf, and daughter Grace greet diners at the Athenian Diner III in Milford as the Foley family hits the campaign trail early Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Right photo: Governor Dannel Malloy, right, laughs along with Pastor Cynthia Gee West as they sit together during the Bridgeport NAACP Reorganization Membership Event in Bridgeport Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014.
Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks Saturday at the Bridgeport NAACP Reorganization Membership Event in Bridgeport as the candidates' campaigns in the state crossed paths.
Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks Saturday at the Bridgeport NAACP Reorganization Membership Event in Bridgeport as the candidates' campaigns in the state crossed paths.

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