Last night, June 30, 2009. the Waterford Democratic Town Committee was treated to a visit from “Exploring” Democratic candidate for Governor Susan Bysiewicz. After a short meet and greet while members of the committee arrived, Ms. Bysiewicz delivered her stump speech.
She started by explaining why she was exploring a possible candidacy for governor. First – Young people are leaving the state and fifty percent of those who attend college out of state, never return to Connecticut to live; Second – Last year, the state lost 40 thousand jobs. Unemployment is around 8% statewide but it is greater than 10% in Windham County. Third – A record number of businesses have failed in the past year. From 1950 to 1990, Connecticut lead the nation in job creation. Since 1991 the state has sunk to nearly last in the nation for job creation. There hasn’t been a democratic governor since 1991.
According to Bysiewicz, Connecticut needs a leader in green technology and renewable energy; a leader in Health and life sciences. Connecticut needs a comprehensive transportation plan that will improve rail transportation and make CT ports deep water ports for receipt of foreign shipments. She would focus on small business because 90% of the jobs are created by small business. Connecticut’s small businesses need affordable health care and affordable utility costs.
Last year, as Secretary of the State (SOTS), Ms. Bysiewicz delivered a health care bill that would permit small business, municipalities, and non profits to join the state worker’s health plan. Governor Rell vetoed such a plan. IT is coming back for signature this year (along with a second health care bill. Small business will suffer in CT if it is not signed this year.
Utility deregulation passed in the ninties has not worked and CT pays some of the highest utility rates in the Nation. Ms. Bysiewicz urges that utility pools be established that permit smalll business to obtain less expensive electricity by negotiating a rate with the supplier is a group. The high cost of utilities must be reduced.
When looking for a governor, we should consider the following- 1)Does the candidate have a plan for the future; 2) Does the candidate plan to meet personally with her cabinet officials to set goals and to insure that the targeted goals are being met. The Office of the Secretary of the State has a business plan and works to follow the plan. 3) We should want a hands on governor who sweats the details. This will avoid such debacles such as the New Haven train station and the route 84 cost overruns as well as other state wide oversights. Bysewicz would be a governor in the pattern of Ella Grasso. Bysiewicz states she will be a govenor with a work ethic, not one that only puts in 31 hours per week like the current incumbent. 4) There should be ethics and transparancy in government. As governor, Bysiewicz will ask the legislature to pass limits for size and compleixty of gifts to state employees.
In conclusion, Bysiewicz touted that she was the only CEO in the race. As SOTS, she is in charge of the equivilant of a $250 million company. She knows how to be fiscally responsible and will lead the state to do more with less. Finally, the Democrats need to win and she is the only candidate who has won a state wide primary and got 19 thousand more votes than Governor Rell in the 2006 election.
The following is a summary of the Q&A session:
Q-How do you feel about the an employee incentive program?
A- Supported such a program while in the State Legislature. We need to get state employees to work as efficiently as possible. Governor Rell opposed performance based budgeting. Tax loopholes for business should be closed just like they are in New York and Massachusetts.
Q- What would you do to resolve the current budget standoff?
A- She would follow the lead of Governors Ella Grasso and Lowell Weiker who brought leaders in from both sides of the aisle and basically said no one was leaving the room until the impass was resolved. The legislature should have focused on the budget first. The governor should have been meeting with the principle leaders prior to February Both side of the legislature and State Commissioners should all be a part of the solution. The Governor should be engaged.
Q – How resolve the small business health care issue?
A- There are two bills on the Governor’s desk, all she has to do is sign them.
Q- How keep college graduates from moving away?
A- Problem is lack of jobs and poor quality of life for young persons. Connecticut cities need to be vibriant Need to attract new businesses to CT. Young people will stay. The state should adobt “Smart Growth” principles.
Q – How solve the I95 problems?
A- Transportation should be shifted to trains. Shore Line East should stretch from the Border with Westerly all the way to New Haven. We should be able to get from Westerly to New York by train along the shore.
Interestingly enough, some members of the Waterford DTC heard from two exploring candidates last night. The Democratic Party’s other intrepid explorer, Mayor Dan Malloy, was also in Waterford attending a fundraiser at a private home. The fundraiser was scheduled just before the Town Committee Meeting so it was possible to attend both events. Malloy delivered his stump speach that was reviewed on this site when he visited the WDTC in late April.
One of the unanswered questions last night was “When will the explorers complete their exploration?” Neither explorer would be specific but indications are that the “exploring” will end after the November 2009 Municiple elections. Time will tell if that is the case.