Log In


Reset Password
  • MENU
    Local News
    Thursday, June 20, 2024

    Lamont tells chamber audience state’s ‘doing pretty well’

    Gov. Ned Lamont speaks during the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut business luncheon at Port ’N Starboard at Ocean Beach Park in New London on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
    Buy Photo Reprints
    New London Mayor Michael Passero greets Gov. Ned Lamont during the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut business luncheon at Port ’N Starboard at Ocean Beach Park in New London on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
    Buy Photo Reprints
    Attendees listen to Gov. Ned Lamont, who spoke during the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut business luncheon at Port ’N Starboard at Ocean Beach Park in New London on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
    Buy Photo Reprints
    Tony Sheridan, president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut greets Gov. Ned Lamont during the chamber business luncheon at Port ’N Starboard at Ocean Beach Park in New London on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
    Buy Photo Reprints
    Gov. Ned Lamont speaks during the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut business luncheon at Port ’N Starboard at Ocean Beach Park in New London on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
    Buy Photo Reprints

    New London ― In a setting well removed from controversy over the trees cut down behind his Greenwich home, Gov. Ned Lamont rubbed elbows with the business community here Tuesday, delivering what amounted to a state of the state address at a Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut luncheon.

    Connecticut’s “doing pretty well,” Lamont said, addressing more than 200 people at the Port ’N Starboard at Ocean Beach Park.

    “We’re above water, with the fastest-growing economy in the Northeast,” he said.

    Now in the second year of his second four-year term, Lamont said the state has made progress in repairing its longstanding reputation for being inhospitable to business and is attracting many families to the state, a lot of them from New York and Massachusetts.

    Advanced manufacturing jobs generated by Electric Boat in Groton and in the wind power industry centered in New London are drawing people who want to live in New London, Norwich and Groton, Lamont said, “a big change from years ago.”

    Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, the state’s tourism attractions had more visitors than ever before.

    “We’ve got to keep the momentum going,” he said.

    Elsewhere in Connecticut, Sikorsky Aircraft, a Stratford-based defense contractor that builds helicopters, recently announced it will have to lay off up to 400 employees because the U.S. Army canceled a new helicopter program.

    Mayor Michael Passero introduced Lamont, saying the governor’s appearance reminded him of Lamont’s 2019 visit to New London during his first week in office. Passero credited the governor with supporting the revival of cities like New London, which he said is enjoying “an economic resurgence.”

    Passero cited the state’s investment in both public and private projects in New London such as the regional innovation center on Eugene O’Neill Drive, the new home of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut; housing developments throughout the city, including on Bayonet Street; and a $40 million recreation center, a project the state kick-started with a $1 million grant to remediate the development site.

    “Everything is dependent on good working relationships with the state,” Passero, said, adding, “For a small city, we punch well above our weight.”

    During his keynote address Tuesday, Lamont said state tourism officials already are planning events around the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which will occur in 2026.

    “That’s going to be a big deal in Connecticut,” he said. “We’re going to be putting resources into that.”

    He said he expects the General Assembly to approve the state’s sixth balanced budget in a row by the time it adjourns next week.

    He acknowledged the property tax burden on residents continues to be a heavy load and said the issues that concern him most have to do with the cost of electricity and other energy sources, including wind power.

    Responding to questions posed by audience members, he said nonprofits in the state are underfunded.

    In a lighter moment, he said he had a good time attending University of Connecticut basketball games during the recently concluded season in which the men’s team won a second consecutive national championship and the women’s team advanced to the semifinals of the national tournament.

    “Everybody around the country was talking about Connecticut,” he said. “It’s good to have winners down the street.”

    b.hallenbeck@theday.com

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.