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    Friday, August 19, 2022

    Making the case for Gov. Dan Malloy

    What do we actually need to know from Republican Bob Stefanowski and Democrat Ned Lamont, with some independent Oz Griebel thrown in for good measure?

    Finger pointing and simple, pat answers to supremely complicated questions are unacceptable in the race to win the 2018 elective booby prize called governor of Connecticut.

    We need someone who’ll negotiate with the public employee unions in attempt to ratchet down the state’s pension liability.

    Someone to shrink the state workforce.

    Someone who’ll come in and create a public policy landscape in which more jobs can sprout.

    We need more-affordable housing, particularly in those over-priced, predominantly white suburbs that latch onto their nearby cities, like barnacles, for everything from medical care to nightlife, but force their own workforces into hour-long commutes.

    We need a governor who will foster partnerships with the state’s flagship corporations.

    Someone who’ll address the transportation crisis.

    We need a governor who will protect minority rights, and enforce the state’s landmark gun-safety laws.

    Someone who’ll fight climate change at a time when Washington is doubling down on hydrocarbons, and overturning decades of environmental protections.

    Yeah, too bad Gov. Dan Malloy is getting run out of office on a rail, because, of course, he’s done all this already.

    I can understand the 25-percent approval rating. Malloy has never been a warm person like his predecessor, Jodi Rell.

    Malloy’s frenetic. He’s a workaholic and know-it-all. Coming from a 14-year stint as mayor of Stamford, he never really worked with the General Assembly. Malloy claimed his beachhead on the second floor of the Capitol’s west wing, surrounded himself with Malloyalists and went about his priorities.

    Over the next eight years, he twice convinced public-employee unions to make concessions on wages and benefits, so over the next few years, an estimated 16,000 new workers will have 401(k)-like retirement plans. The state workforce shrunk by 12,000 jobs.

    The 9.3-percent unemployment rate of December, 2010 fell to 4.4 percent by June 2018. Through a variety of new business-friendly programs cooperatively created with the General Assembly — Hey, Malloy worked with the legislature? — more than 2,100 companies won state assistance, creating 119,000 jobs.

    While the recently kicked-off-the-Dow Industrials’ General Electric, petulantly decamped to Boston, Malloy’s administration hooked United Technologies, Cigna, ESPN, Sikorsky and Electric Boat into long-term commitments.

    The sleek, gorgeously lighted Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, at the busy crossroads of Interstate 91 and 95, came in $200 million under budget and has eased the generations of nightmare traffic backups in New Haven.

    Malloy and lawmakers created the Connecticut Port Authority and the Connecticut Airport Authority. Bradley International Airport came back to earning its middle name, with out-of-the-country flights and five straight years of passenger growth.

    The New Haven to Springfield rail line recently opened.

    While the nation’s petulant, under-informed president withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, Malloy promised Connecticut would continue to address the issue of climate change. Investments in renewable energy sources have resulted in 30,000 new jobs statewide. Malloy’s administration has presided over the acquisition of 5,000 acres of state-owned open space and helped save about 10,000 more acres across 130 of the 169 towns and cities.

    Malloy signed laws repealing the death penalty, and decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Connecticut led the nation in the reduction of violent crime from 2012 to 2016, while the number of repeat criminals fell. Four prisons were closed, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

    Most memorably, it was Malloy, on that horrible Friday afternoon in 2012, amid the Newtown school carnage, who told the frantic families gathered in the Sandy Hook firehouse that 26 of their loved ones were dead.

    From there, Malloy became a national leader on gun safety and persuaded the General Assembly to quickly approve a ban on all military-style rifles and large-capacity ammunition magazines that made him a target for the NRA and other industry-oriented groups. And $53 million has been invested in school-security systems statewide.

    Malloy put $1.42 billion in creating, preserving or rehabilitating 23,350 units of housing, about 20,000 of which are classified as affordable.

    Connecticut was among the most-successful states in the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, which cut the state’s uninsured population by half, to 3.8 percent. Expanded Medicaid coverage for adults resulted in an additional 200,000 covered.

    Malloy’s controversial welcoming of international refugees to Connecticut resulted in the JFK Profile in Courage Award.

    He regularly flies the rainbow LGBTQ flag in front of the residence. Malloy supported the right of people to serve in the Connecticut National Guard, no matter what their sexual orientation, or gender identity.

    So, what does your candidate for governor promise?

    Ken Dixon is a political editor and columnist. Hearst Connecticut Media provided permission for the use of this commentary.

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