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    Saturday, April 01, 2023

    Lamont: Volunteer governor

    A spokesman for Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday that Lamont will again decline his state salary during his second term, as he did during his first four years in office. The governor would have earned $226,711 for the year.

    Given that Lamont is a rich man who does not need the state’s money, it is a welcomed gesture. It is likely the man who ran against Lamont, Republican Bob Stefanowski, would have done the same. Both are multi-millionaires.

    Lamont’s adjusted gross income was $54 million in 2021. Stefanowski, who Lamont also defeated in 2018, had an AGI of $13.21 million. Both men, in large part, self-funded their campaigns.

    While there is nothing inherently wrong with extremely wealthy people competing for the top job in the state, there is merit in a candidate for governor having to generate financial support to run for the office, rather than simply opening a checkbook when more commercials are needed. It would not be a good thing if our gubernatorial elections were restricted to the very wealthy.

    A non-millionaire — such as Connecticut’s last governor, Dannel P. Malloy, for example — must build the grassroots support needed to either finance a campaign or to qualify for Connecticut’s publicly financed campaign funding. Malloy took the latter route in both his successful bids for governor.

    We suspect few, if anyone, run for governor for the paycheck. If you want to pull down truly big state dollars, aspire to be a basketball or football coach at the state university. There are other jobs in which chief executives make much, much more money and face far less scrutiny and criticism than running a state.

    In varying degrees, ego, a desire for power and influence, and a genuine wish to make things better drive folks to run for this high office.

    While the paycheck is not the primary motivator, most governors have not been so rich as to say they didn’t need it. Lamont does not need it. He made the right decision in not taking it.

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