When I awoke on Tuesday morning and peeked out the window at the grey skies and persistent snow, I thought for sure that Ned Lamont’s campaign folks would have sent a message to all stating that “due to inclement weather” the formal announcement at Hartford’s Old State House had been postponed. That meant that I could snuggle deeper into my blankets with a cup of hot coffee/cocoa, watch the morning news and let the day — and the snow — slip away. Not so. I scrolled through my messages and found that the event was on schedule.
None of my meetings were rescheduled save one (sigh).
By 11:00 am, Hartford’s Old State House was filled to capacity with well over 300 eager folks. Lamont, energized and confident, delivered a speech that cut to the heart of what’s wrong in our state — and in our country — the economy, stating that:
“Politicians spend their lives trying to figure out how to divide up the economic pie into pieces, I’ve spent my life expanding the economic pie and for 20 years, the economic pie here in Connecticut has been shrinking,” Lamont said … “Sure we have a revenue problem. But it’s not going to be solved by simply raising more taxes. We need more taxpayers, more jobs, more start-ups, more opportunity… a bigger economic pie. Connecticut needs a leader who has started up a business and created jobs here in a state that has been dead last in the country in starting businesses and creating jobs.” [Darien-Times]
Being a successful business owner in the state gives Lamont an edge on Dannel Malloy. Lamont knows first-hand the impact of health insurance companies predatory practices on mid-size to small businesses. His own company saw a whopping increase of over 30 percent in health insurance cost when his staff was reduced by one person.
The energy in Connecticut has changed. People are not looking for the same old same old; they hunger for real change and not political deal-making. Moreover, the political party line in Connecticut has often been blurred. Connecticut has always and continues to be considered a “blue state,” i.e., a Democratic state for presidential races. Despite that fact, we were one of the few states that actually elected an Independent Governor (Lowell Weicker 1991-1995) and have not be able to elect a Democrat as governor since former Gov. William O’Neill.
Malloy’s focus is on painting himself as the underdog, the guy who came from humble beginnings, they guy who is streetwise and self-made. While such a strategy may win him a few browny points for creative advertising, what will it do to fix Connecticut’s economy, infrastructure, the great divide in the achievement gap in our public schools, and more?
At the end of the day, it is all about the economy. Connecticut voters need concrete ideas and strategies that have to do with real issues. We also need a shot in the arm about our future and Lamont delivered on that score in spades, stating:
“Yes, we have a fiscal crisis in this state, but more importantly, we have a crisis of confidence that requires we stand up again,” Lamont said. Stand up to the business as usual crowd. Stand up to the pessimists, who believe Connecticut’s best days are behind us. Stand up for a Connecticut that gets out of its defensive crouch, a Connecticut that gets back on offense, invests in our future, expands businesses, creates jobs and puts people back to work.”