HARTFORD, CT — In what was likely his last speech to the General Assembly, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy offered a mix of humor and humility.
Not known for his sense of humor, Malloy — who earned the nickname “porcupine” early in his gubernatorial tenure — opened by telling lawmakers to sit down because he planned to “spend the next several hours airing the grievances I’ve had with you that I’ve not been able to get in over the last eight years …
And Malloy is apparently aware that at least one poll says he’s the most unpopular governor in the nation.
“Let me say this,” Malloy deadpanned, “I’ve had strong working relationships and friendships with a number of people in this hall and on both sides of the aisle. For those of you who don’t fall into that category, I look forward to coming to your districts and campaigning for you.”
A legislative staffer suggested Malloy might have been more popular if he had been as funny and relatable throughout his two terms as he was early Thursday morning following the end of the 2018 Legislative Session.
Malloy, who has been trying for eight years to eliminate Connecticut’s minimum bottle pricing laws on alcoholic beverages, joked that he plans to spend the next few days going over the bipartisan budget.
“I have to be honest with you, I didn’t get a lot of pre-notice of what’s in the budget so I’ll spend the next few days reviewing it to see what’s in there, and the like, but I am trusting that somewhere in that document the minimum bottle bill is in there, right?” Malloy said.
The House chamber erupted in cheers and Rep. Joe Gresko, D-Stratford, stood to applaud.
“It’s interesting, the one guy to stand up on that is the guy who passed a stone yesterday,” Malloy said referring to the kidney stone Gresko passed Tuesday while he was at the state Capitol.
The crowd erupted in laughter.
On a more serious note, Malloy encouraged those who would be running for re-election to continue the fiscal discipline.
“You can build on the progress we’ve made these past eight years,” Malloy said. “The lowest average growth rate in the General Fund in many decades.”
He went on to tout the reductions he made in the executive branch and the contribution to the Rainy Day Fund, which was depleted eight years ago when he took office.
“And beyond the state budget, I am optimistic that the General Assembly will continue to make Connecticut a fairer, healthier, more just place to work and live,” Malloy said.
He touched on the pay equity legislation, the ban on bump stocks, tracking of rape kits, greater dignity to incarcerated women, and pay increases for homecare and group-home workers, as significant victories this legislative session.
“We have accomplished a great deal together in these past eight years,” Malloy said. “I’m proud to have fought these battles alongside all of you. And I’m proud to have served as your 88th Governor.”