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    Tuesday, December 06, 2022

    Scott Bates of Stonington considering run for governor

    Deputy Secretary of the State Scott Bates of Stonington. (Photo courtesy of Connecticut Secretary of the State)

    Democrat Scott Bates of Stonington, who currently chairs the Connecticut Port Authority and serves as the deputy secretary of the state, is considering seeking his party’s nomination to run for governor next year.

    Bates confirmed Thursday that he has been approached by a group of municipal leaders from southeastern Connecticut who asked him to run for governor. If elected, he would become the first southeastern Connecticut resident to serve as governor since Thomas M. Waller of New London from 1883 to 1885. It likely would give the region, which often feels ignored by state government, a much stronger voice in Hartford.

    “It’s a great honor to have people I respect and admire ask me to do this,” he said. “So I have to consider that.”

    Bates said his eventual decision whether to run will involve “a lot of thought and a little bit of prayer” as well as discussions with his wife, Lisa Tepper Bates, who heads the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, and their 10-year-old son, Jacob. The family lives in Stonington Borough.

    In discussing the decision before him on Tuesday, Bates sounded like a candidate.

    “We have to come together to fight for the middle class and for those struggling to make it,” he said. “We have to have a message of economic growth and job creation. We have to invest in high-tech manufacturing, job training and building our infrastructure. That’s the only way the state will attract job-creating industries and build our middle class.”

    A number of Democrats, including state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, also are considering a run for their party’s nomination. Bates said that since Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced two weeks ago he would not seek a third term, Democrats across the region have been urging Bates to run.

    One of those has been Groton City Mayor Marian Galbraith.

    “He’d bring a fresh perspective to Connecticut. We need that,” she said. “And he’s all about job creation. It’s an exciting prospect that he will run.”

    “We’ve all worked with him over the years. He’s impressive. He’s intelligent and he cares about people. That’s what’s most important to me,” she said.

    Another supporter is Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder, who sits on the Connecticut Port Authority with Bates.

    “It was evident right from the beginning that he’s natural leader,” she said Thursday.

    She said she sat with Bates at a recent Connecticut Conference of Municipalities meeting and found him to be a deep thinker who looks for solutions outside the box.

    “He thinks about solving problems, he doesn’t think party lines,” she said.

    Stonington Selectwoman Kate Rotella, the great-great-granddaughter of Waller, called Bates “a great leader” who knows how to work with people from both parties to better the community.

    “I’m excited. He’s got a world of experience. He’d make a great candidate so I hope he decides to run,” she said.

    Rotella said having someone from the region sitting in the governor’s office would be very welcome.

    “We in southeastern Connecticut need to have Hartford remember us down here,” she said.

    Bates, a native of Stonington, has worked on issues ranging from homeland security and terrorism on the federal level to chairing the town’s Board of Police Commissioners. There were days when he would be at the White House for meetings in the morning only to return to chair the police commission at night.

    Bates, who served as Virginia’s secretary of the commonwealth in 1993, chairs the Stonington Democratic Town Committee and also has served on the borough Board of Warden and Burgesses.

    Bates has helped build democratic institutions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and Haiti. After Sept. 11, 2001, he worked as the first senior policy adviser to the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee and was the principal author of “Winning the War on Terror,” which helped inform the 9/11 Commission as it developed its report. He also worked on national security issues as president of the Center for National Policy, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

    j.wojtas@theday.com

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