Every time Gov. Dannel P. Malloy attends an event at the Society Room in Hartford he’s reminded of election night 2010.
It’s where he declared his victory in the race against Republican Tom Foley. The ballot counting would continue for a week more in one of the closest gubernatorial races in the state’s history, but Malloy told a room of nearly 140 Democrats Thursday morning that he knew by the time he arrived there on election night he had won by a margin of 2,000 to 11,000 votes.
Malloy reminisced about his victory Thursday morning at a $1,000 per plate breakfast fundraiser for the state Democratic Central Committee.
In a brief 10-minute speech, Malloy talked about the challenges he faced before taking office last November—the biggest of which was the $3.7 billion budget deficit.
When introducing Malloy, Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo talked about the difficult positions he had to take on the campaign trail. The hardest of which may have been refusing to say he wouldn’t raise taxes.
“Very early on I knew this was a situation we couldn’t tax our way out of, or spend our way out of,” Malloy told the sympathetic crowd. He went on to implement the largest tax increase in the state’s history.
But it was a festive occasion Thursday, so instead of dwelling on the hand he was dealt, Malloy touted the changes he’s been able to make even in a difficult budget cycle.
He mentioned the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families and the bipartisan jobs bill, which he thinks everyone has forgotten about since the October snow storm. And he talked about his relationship with municipal government and how he views them as the “senior partner” in their relationship with the state.
“I mention all of that because I want you to appreciate what you’ve done for the Democratic party here in the state of Connecticut,” Malloy said. “I take my role as a leader in that party very seriously.”
Since taking office Malloy’s administration has been heavily involved in the state’s Democratic Party operations, a job which had fallen to the state’s Congressional delegation for the past 20 years.
“Let there never be a 20 year period of time again where a Democrat doesn’t occupy the governor’s office,” Malloy declared.
There’s not a gubernatorial election until 2014, but Malloy said the 2012 election will be pivotal and he wants to make sure Democrats protect the legislative agenda and continue to maintain a majority in the General Assembly.
“The message is that when we come together and work together, when we coordinate and when we communion what our vision is of the state of Connecticut, even against the kind of Republican wind that came up in September 2010 and did not allow for a lot of Democratic governors to be elected, but because we worked so hard together in this state we did that,” Malloy said.
He said Democrats can “point to the difference a Democratic Party has made in the state of Connecticut to rebuild our economy, to strengthen our educational system, to strengthen our infrastructure, to get this state going again.“
“We are open for business. We are moving forward,” Malloy said “These are great days and they’re only going to get better.”
Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. was not impressed with the pricey fundraiser or the partisan rhetoric. The fundraiser came just one day after Labriola sent out a statement criticizing Malloy for being named Finance Chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
“Governor Malloy spends more time on blatantly political and partisan fundraising than any governor in history,“ Labriola said Thursday. “Whether in-state or on his frequent out-of-state travels, Malloy has displayed a huge appetite for reaching deep into the pockets of big donors, including executives of Connecticut companies that have benefited from state grants that were personally proposed and approved by the Governor.”
Labriola’s statement goes onto talk about how the governor held municipalities harmless in his budget proposal by funding municipal aid. A measure Malloy took in order to ensure municipalities didn’t have to pass along their budget cuts in property tax increases.
“I have no doubt that many big city mayors will want to repay the Governor’s largesse by forking over $1,000 to help fund a future Malloy campaign for whatever office he intends to run for next,” Labriola added.
“This is one of the more bizarre statements I’ve seen in a long time. Jerry takes his talking points from John Rowland…who basically hung a ‘for sale’ sign outside the Governor’s office when he occupied it,” Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy’s senior communications advisor, said. “Though he technically didn’t go to jail for it, that’s only because he pled out to something less than what many people know he actually did.”
Occhiogrosso said Malloy’s actions as head of the Democratic Party or as governor “continue to be above and beyond reproach.”
“As for the time he spends working on behalf of Connecticut taxpayers, anyone who follows his daily activities knows that he works tirelessly on behalf of his constituents. He has to work tirelessly, given the mess he inherited,“ Occhiogrosso said taking at dig at Republicans who held the governor‘s office for many years. “And some of the results of Gov. Malloy’s hard work are already evident: an honestly balanced budget, a surplus, financial stability the state hasn’t seen in years, and the lowest unemployment rate in more than two years.”