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    Local Columns
    Tuesday, August 09, 2022

    Lamont’s cakewalk re-election saunters through New London

    Governor Ned Lamont shakes hands with kids from the Drop In Learning Center following a news conference in New London Monday, August 1, 2022. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

    If he can keep the lid on corruption scandals screwed down tight, Gov. Ned Lamont should have an easy path to a win in November.

    I feel liberated this campaign season, when it comes to Connecticut’s gubernatorial campaign.

    I have to vote for the Democrat, Ned Lamont, even though I don’t especially like him.

    Republicans and their hyper conservative Supreme Court have pushed previously settled issues, like access to abortion, gay marriage, mixed racial marriage, even contraceptives, into now unsettled legal territory, possibly to be decided by state governments.

    I don’t trust Connecticut Republicans on those issues. The GOP gubernatorial candidate, Bob Stefanowski, hasn’t said much of anything to reassure me.

    So when I see Lamont on the campaign trail, as I did this week, after happening upon an organized local Democrats’ love fest with the governor on the steps of New London City Hall, I have to remember to look away from all the hypocrisy and cynical politicking.

    After all, I’m voting for him anyway, even though the campaign event I stumbled upon, marking a months-old state grant to the city, was annoying, raw politics masquerading as governing.

    The appearance of a gaggle of young school children, who popped up out of nowhere and gathered noisily around the governor for photographs, reminded me of how my late mother used to complain about the 1960s-era talk show host Art Linkletter exploiting children with his segment, “Kids say the Darndest Things.”

    Sorry to date myself there. But I know my mother would be equally appalled at Gov. Lamont using children he’s never met before for a press photo for a campaign event on a topic they have nothing to do with.

    Indeed, most of the other people gathered Monday for the governor’s announcement of a months-old grant seemed to me to be largely New London city department heads and their employees.

    A half hour applauding the governor on the steps of City Hall probably beats working anyway.

    And then, because I have to vote for these people, I had to ignore the incredible hypocrisy on display, with the governor congratulating himself for the way his creation of a quarter-of-a-billion-dollars wind turbine pier In New London will benefit the city.

    After all, this is the governor who left the city to negotiate its own host deal with the wind operators. His economic development chief said in a private email, made public through an FOI request, that the city should stop asking for more money and take the paltry amount they were offered.

    The governor didn’t finally convince his pals at the rich utilities to pay the city more money until Mayor Michael Passero threatened to derail the project with a legal intervention.

    But it’s campaign season, and Mayor Passero was on hand Monday, along with the schoolchildren, to gaze adoringly at the governor for press photos.

    I also had to stifle a bit of a gag _ because, remember I have to vote for this guy _ when the governor started in on his own Big Lie, that the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to subsidize the rich utilities’ wind port will put New London at the center of the emerging industry.

    It’s preposterous to suggest the New London wind port would even be missed if it disappeared tomorrow, there are so many other places up and down the East Coast to do the same work.

    Still, I’m not going to worry too much about the hypocrisy and exploiting of children since I don’t have much choice but to vote for him. The alternative, the Democracy-denying Republicans, a party still dominated by a narcissistic insurrectionist, is not acceptable.

    So I guess I should also feel good that Gov. Lamont seems to be cruising comfortably to reelection.

    His attack ads, in which he delegates the nasty business of knocking around his opponent to his lieutenant governor, are very effective.

    Lamont, meanwhile, cruises the state, announcing grants largely made possible by the money spigot opened by Washington Democrats and laughing merrily with happy young schoolchildren who appear to love him.

    If he can keep, for a few more months, the screws tight on the pot of substantial scandals still boiling in his administration, he will easily finish this cakewalk to reelection.

    This is the opinion of David Collins

    d.collins@theday.com

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