Ned Lamont, the Greenwich businessman who won a Democratic primary against Senator Joseph Lieberman in 2006 but lost the general election, announced his run for governor Tuesday. WNPR’S Jeff Cohen reports.
Lamont and his supporters gathered at the Old State House in downtown Hartford, and spoke of a state in dire need of someone focused on attracting businesses and creating jobs.
“Connecticut needs a governor, somebody who’s started up a business, and created more than a few jobs, here in the state that’s dead last in the country in starting up businesses and creating jobs.”
The decisions of Senator Christopher Dodd and Governor Jodi Rell not to run have meant wide-open races for both of their seats. Lamont is considered the early front-runner in the race for governor. The leading Republican candidate is Tom Foley, a former ambassador from Greenwich, who says he'll forgo public financing. Lamont says he'll do the same in order to stay competitive.
“I honor the spirit of clean elections. But as long the Republicans have opted out of public financing, I’m going to opt out as well.”
Lamont and his supporters told stories about Ned the father, the teacher, the cable television entrepreneur, the political establishment basher, and the grass roots politician. When it came to talking about the state’s fiscal crisis, Lamont said the state can’t cut its way out of a budget deficit. But he said it can’t tax its way out, either. It needs more taxpayers.
“Well, it’s a lovely thought.”
That’s state Representative Denise Merrill, a Democrat running for secretary of state. She says fixing the state’s budget can’t be done by growing jobs alone. She also says that Lamont will have to surround himself with good people to be successful.
“Is the governor a manager or an idea person? I think he’s an idea person. I guess it remains to be seen if he could get enough people around him who would be good managers, because you do need both.”
But the overriding theme of Lamont’s announcement was job creation. It’s a message that Hartford Republican leader Mike McGarry says he’s heard before.
“That’s the speech that Foley gave. That’s he speech that Boughton gave. That’s the speech that Griebel gave. It’s probably the speech that Malloy’s going to give. That’s their shtick this year. Grow business. That’s everybody’s shtick.”
Lamont says what sets him apart is that he knows what it means to create jobs.
For WNPR, I’m Jeff Cohen.