Sitting at opposite ends of the table, sandwiched by three Republicans and one Independent, the two Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate seemed to pick up right where they left off in March after their first televised debate.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said as Connecticut’s Senator he would fight for the insurance industry he repeatedly sued as attorney general.
“I would be a strong advocate for all businesses…including the insurance industry,” Blumenthal said Thursday at a forum sponsored by the business community in Hartford.
Admitting he has not always seen eye-to-eye with the insurance industry, at the end of the day, “they’re responsible and reasonable employers,” he said. “I would fight for them.”
The underdog in the race for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat, Merrick Alpert said the last time he publicly debated Blumenthal it was stated that “lawsuits create jobs.”
“Lawsuits don’t create jobs, entrepreneurs create jobs,” Alpert said.
Alpert referred to the lawsuit Blumenthal filed against Computers Plus Center Inc., a small business the state sued because it allegedly failed to fulfill its contract with the state.
“Let’s not sit here and engage in happy talk,” Alpert said. It’s clear Connecticut has a reputation for suing businesses like Computers Plus Center Inc.
“That is a small business that was destroyed consciously, deliberately and intentionally,” Alpert said.
Gina Malapanis, the owner of Computers Plus Center, counter-sued the state claiming her business was destroyed by false accusations and was awarded $18 million by a jury in January.
“The taxpayers have not paid a dime in the case of Malapanis,” Blumenthal said. He said the case is under reconsideration because essential evidence presented by the state “was excluded from the proceeding.”
“Very serious errors were made in that trial,” Blumenthal said.
“My jobs been to enforce the law. What I’m hearing from this table is a philosophy of law enforcement that Bernie Madoff would love,” Blumenthal said. “We’ve just come through a period when lack of enforcement by the federal government enabled and encouraged one of the greatest economic tragedies in our nation’s history.”
“To blame law enforcement for unemployment is beyond wrong. It’s silly,“ Blumenthal said. “It’s a disservice to public service itself.”
The four other candidates that participated in Thursday’s forum hosted by the MetroHartford Alliance, included Republicans Rob Simmons, Linda McMahon, and Vinney Forras, and Connecticut for Lieberman Party candidate, John Mertens.