A debate was held in Stamford featuring all 5 major party candidates for Governor? Yes indeedy there are are five.
For the Republicans we have:
Tom Foley – the Republican convention nominee
For the Democrats we have:
Dan Malloy – The Democratic convention nominee
There’s an idependent caniddate floating in the wilderness too (er, petitioning) , but he wasn’t invited to the debate. He’s Chester First Selectman Tom Marsh.
From the Advocate reports it seems the debate centered on two topics, transportation and jobs. Funny how they are linked together like a hard tango. Let’s pick up the Advocate reporting:
In the heart of the state’s traffic-congestion belt, candidates for governor on Tuesday said the state has neglected its transportation infrastructure and should study how to improve it.
But one candidate, Republican Oz Griebel, of Simsbury, said that there’s already a thorough report created by the state’s Transportation Strategy Board, which he led.
Republican and Democratic candidates alike criticized state lawmakers for not making the necessary decisions to promote better transit while raiding the revenue-generating sources that were to support transportation initiatives, particularly fuel taxes, for operating expenses.
Griebel, a former banker who leads the MetroHartford Alliance, said the Transportation Strategy Board created a highly respected report in 2003 that had suggestions that many lawmakers and politicians did not want to hear, including the need for tolls and higher gas taxes to pay for transit improvements.
“We were very clear that if Connecticut is serious about its transportation infrastructure in the future, we in Connecticut are going to have to bear more of the cost,” Griebel said. “With all due respect to the federal government, it has the same problem in 50 states that we have here.”
He said there are $107 million in the current budget for transportation programs, but the state is still way behind because $225 million were pulled out of the state transportation fund in 1998.
Now, it’s interesting that of all the candidates only one, Malloy actually did something about transportation in the city he governed. He went and got federal dollars to solve what the State couldn’t, chiefly the exit ramp off I-95 south, and a whole passel of work around the train station. The rest of them, merely pointed to the obvious, the legislature raided transportation funds like the gas tax, and so no money was there. But here’s the real problem, that little spending problem isn’t going to go away. The hartford legislature is comprised of legislators, like Wilton/Norwalk’s Peggy Reeves, who don’t believe that spending in Hartford is the problem. From the Advocate:
“It would be in our best interest not to have cut the kinds of spending necessary to generate a transportation system that we’re all waiting for, particularly here in Fairfield County,” Malloy said. “We cut our gas tax at a time when we all knew that we needed to spend more money on transportation, certainly to take on transit and I-95 issues,” Malloy said, stressing that more than $3 billion in development in the city’s South End is the result of his work getting federal funding.
“You’ve got to go to Washington and bring those dollars back,” Malloy said. “I’m prepared to do that. There’s a reason why jobs don’t move beyond Norwalk anymore. It’s because they can’t get to other parts of the state in a timely fashion.”
Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, of Stamford. said that for years, the General Assembly has raided hundreds of millions of dollars for the general fund.
“The first thing we have to do is stop doing that,” Fedele said. “Secondly, we have to make sure the general operating fund is balanced. The third piece, as Dan said, is we have to make sure that the governor is going to Washington, and quite frankly ladies and gentlemen, we have to hold our congressional delegation for not bringing those dollars back to Connecticut.”
On the subject of jobs, or the economy or the sad fact that Connecticut is about as backward economically as a southern state, and I’m insulting southern states here, the candidates may speak volumes but all you really need to know about whether they could spin this state into an innovative economic gorwoth juggernaut is a surface look at their web sites. Really. This is 2010, the world economy hinges on the Internet. If you can’t get it right, tap into the communication medium lingua franca than you are hopelessly out of touch with the people who actually create jobs.
So here’s who is out of touch:
Mike Fedele: boring, light on content, would you buy a used car from this site?
Oz Griebel: what you would put up if you were running for city council
Tom Marsh: It’s 1998, all over again, retro Internet look, only missing the aol logo
Only Tom Foley, Ned lamont and Dan Malloy have figured out how to make a case for being governor via a website and all those other Internet goodies out there. You’ll have to read them to figure out whether you think they are the guy to get Connecticut rock and rolling again, but that’s for another post. Tom Foley, Dan Malloy, Ned Lamont are ready for prime time global communication.