Ned Lamont: Connecticut Deserves a Governor Who Shows Up

Ned Lamont, Democratic nominee for governor, published a post on Medium on Thursday about Wednesday night’s Republican gubernatorial debate on Connecticut’s economy, which GOP opponent Bob Stefanowski did not attend. This post follows:

It was four years ago. As the state faced major fiscal challenges, soaring pension liabilities and massive challenges, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley did something dramatic at the final debate.

He didn’t show up. At all. He outright declined to attend.

Today, Connecticut voters should be feeling a little déjà vu.

Last night, Bob Stefanowski skipped the first gubernatorial debate hosted by the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, leaving voters without answers to questions about how he would balance the state’s budget, invest in our children’s education, spur economic development and repair our transportation infrastructure.

Mr. Stefanowski announced his campaign for governor almost a year ago, and today, we’re 61 days out from Election Day. If he’s not prepared to answer questions today, how is he going to be prepared come Nov. 6?

I believe that Mr. Stefanowski doesn’t want to answer questions. His only campaign pledge is to eliminate the income tax – or put a more than 60 percent hole in the state budget in a time of crisis – in a Kansas-style experiment.

And he doesn’t want voters to know what that means for property tax rates, education funding or core services.

While I believe in cutting the property tax, my opponent doesn’t want Connecticut residents to know that his scheme would slash town aid, causing local tax rates to skyrocket in every one of our 169 municipalities.

While I believe in investing in education, my opponent doesn’t want you to know his proposal would eliminate thousands of teaching positions, decimate education funding and exacerbate the achievement gap.

While I believe in building a modern transportation system with high speed rail, quality roads and modernized bridges so we can create jobs and attract businesses, my opponent will deliver cuts to our infrastructure. His tax scheme would cause our transportation system to crumble even further.

While I believe in a predictable business climate for Connecticut’s great companies, Mr. Stefanowski doesn’t want you to know how he would throw our state into total chaos, undermining the predictability that our businesses – big and small – seek so desperately.

And while I believe in job training, workforce development and giving residents the skill sets needed to meet the needs of our business community, Mr. Stefanowski wants to hide the fact that his tax experiment would leave nothing left over to train Connecticut residents for Connecticut jobs.

Those are the questions he doesn’t want to answer, and that’s why I believe he didn’t show up.

That’s yet another difference between us. Since launching my bid for governor in January, I’ve visited and met with voters across the state.

From my conversations with voters, it’s clear residents are losing confidence in Connecticut’s ability to get back on track. They want a leader who can bring fundamental change, who can envision and implement a long-term plan that will boost the economy, create good-paying jobs and address our fiscal challenges.

I will be that leader.

I will make Connecticut a state where businesses want to grow and thrive, and where residents want to live, work and raise a family.

I’ll work to build a strong economy and a fair economy. A state where we deliver a living wage. A place that gives people second chances. A Connecticut that invests in sustainable, vocational and apprenticeship programs between businesses and our high schools, as well as our technical colleges and universities.

I am running for governor because I will work every day to create equal opportunities for all Connecticut residents.

At this moment, we’re facing what may seem like insurmountable challenges: a stagnant economy, budget deficits and a ceiling on opportunity.

But I believe to address the state’s challenges, Connecticut needs a leader who believes in our state and it’s future, dire as our fiscal situation may be.

Or, at the very minimum, you have to at least be willing to look voters in the eye and answer basic questions.

Mr. Stefanowski refused to do that last night.