GLASTONBURY, CT — A recent poll found Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont has a healthy 22 percent lead over his Republican opponent when it comes to women voters.
Some of that can be attributed to Republican President Donald Trump, who has— for better or worse — made support of Republican candidates very difficult for women.
Seventy percent of women polled said it’s important that the gubernatorial candidate they vote for share their opinion on Trump and 68 percent disapprove of the job he’s doing.
On Wednesday Lamont was on the campaign trail at a woman-owned technology business highlighting his support for proposals that empower women and will help grow the economy.
“When more women have access to work, economies grow,” Lamont said. “If quality childcare is affordable, families thrive.”
Lamont and his running mate Susan Bysiewicz said they support paid family and medical leave, an increase in the minimum wage, and they want to challenge the state’s largest employers to take the Paradigm for Parity Pledge to achieve full gender parity by 2030.
United Technologies, Synchrony Financial, and Frontier are just some of the companies who have already agreed to the voluntary pledge.
Bysiewicz said they’re leading in the polls because families in Connecticut understand they have a “very positive economic agenda.”
The Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday also found that voters who believe the economy is the biggest issue support Lamont, while voters who believe taxes is the biggest issue support Stefanowski.
“I understand firsthand how we’ve got to continue to modernize the workplace, and the workforce and we need everybody to contribute,” Lamont said.
He said that means paid family and medical leave and daycare.
“We’re going to make sure we have a workplace that accommodates the 21st century,” Lamont said.
He said mothers should be able to continue to work and know that their kids have a safe place to go.
Bysiewicz said these policies are also a matter of economic competitiveness.
Connecticut is now surrounded by states that offer some form of paid family and medical leave.
“To be competitive with those states and to attract and retain good people in our state, I think that’s important that’s something we adopt,” Bysiewicz said.
Republican lawmakers have been slow to embrace the idea.
The General Assembly has failed to pass paid family and medical leave for the past four years.
The legislation Connecticut has been unable to pass would require all private sector employees to contribute 0.5 percent of their paycheck to a fund that they could then use if they needed to take leave. The leave could last up to 12 weeks and the pay would be capped at up to $1,000 per week.
“Clearly, women in Connecticut side with us because they know we’re supporting them,” Bysiewicz said. “We will move forward policies that will help women and families in our state and on the other side the silence in that area has been deafening.”
Bysiewicz said reproductive freedom is also very important because “you can’t support your family if you don’t control your body.”
Republican Bob Stefanowski has said he doesn’t believe abortion, which is codified in state law, would be overturned anytime soon. He said he supports parental notification for teenagers seeking an abortion, but hasn’t gone any further than that.
As for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Stefanowski declined to comment on his nomination during the last debate.
Bysiewicz said nothing is ever settled in state law. She said voters understand they would be the firewall against rolling back access to a legal abortion.
She said women voters are paying attention and will participate at higher rates because “they see the assault on them coming from Washington. They understand that who they choose for their leaders in the legislature and at the state level are really important to issues of healthcare and economic security.”
What can government do to help businesses like Tallan?
Michelle Petri-Hall, co-owner and CFO of Tallan, said they have offices in New York and Boston and they have much less trouble recruiting talent in those cities.
She said making Connecticut a little more attractive place to live and work would be helpful.
“People are a little bit nervous about coming to Connecticut,” she said.
They are competing for highly-skilled workers and recent college graduates who are looking for something a little more exciting than Connecticut, which has smaller urban centers with fewer amenities than New York or Boston.
The company offers responsive design, web solutions, cloud management, machine learning, artificial intelligence and custom application development. One of its competitors is Infosys, a company Lamont helped bring to Connecticut.
“Sorry about that,” Lamont said.