New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy seemed to agree at the debate that each would support the winner of the Aug. 8 Democratic primary where one of them will win the chance to run against Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell in November. But that wasn’t the only thing they agreed on Thursday at the debate hosted by the Black Democratic caucus in Bloomfield.
They agreed that there needed to be legislation to have gun owners report their lost or stolen firearms. Malloy and DeStefano had the same reaction to the recent increase in violence in Hartford. “The definition of insanity is doing something, over, and over again and getting the same result,” DeStefano said referring to Rell’s response to offer six state troopers to assist in patrolling the Capitol city. He said when she offered similar help in New Haven, he asked what she was going to do to help the 30 people a week discharged from the prison system with no place to live and no jobs. “Everybody deserves a second chance,” he added. Malloy agreed he said what the state needs to do is start creating jobs and hold people accountable for buying guns.Where the two disagreed, which should come as no surprise is universal health care. Malloy, who announced his plan last week, said his plan is more like Massachusetts’ plan than DeStefano would like to admit. Malloy said his plan, which would piggyback on the state Medicaid system, “makes sense,” and would help individuals lower the cost of health insurance at least 30 to 40 percent. “Please go to my web site and read the plan. See how it literally applies to everyone in this room,” Malloy said. DeStefano said Malloy started out this campaign saying universal health care was “too hard to do” and “we can’t cover everyone.” “Mark my words there will be a third candidate to introduce a universal health care plan,” DeStefano said referring to Rell. DeStefano criticized Malloy’s plan because it would require a waiver from the federal government. Malloy countered that the Massachusetts plan requires a waiver from the federal government too. On the earned income tax credit question, Malloy said, “we need to rethink how we tax in this state.” DeStefano, on the other hand, said the state needs to adopt its own earned income tax credit program that piggybacks on the federal program. In his closing statements DeStefano mentioned that he was in favor of a “half-millionaires tax” and maintaining the estate tax, which Rell attempted to repeal. Malloy has waffled on the issue of the estate tax, which represents another policy difference between the two Democrats.In their closing statements DeStefano said “this election is about choices and your choice in the primary is someone who talks about doing it and someone who has done it.” DeStefano supporters say their candidate has a vision for the state. In Malloy’s closing statements he said, “I’m not just asking you to make an investment where there’s not promises.” He said his mother always told him, “Dannel, you have an obligation to leave this world a better place and I ask you to examine what’s in my heart, and in my soul.”