Bob Stefanowski speaks to reporters on June 28, 2022.
Bob Stefanowski speaks to reporters on June 28, 2022. Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Labor Day is always the official start to campaign season. Candidates believe voters don’t start really paying attention until after they hang up their bathing suits and start sipping those pumpkin spice lattes. 

The 2022 campaign for governor will be a rematch between Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and Madison Republican Bob Stefanowski. Neither had a primary so the past few months have been spent brushing up on their messaging for voters headed to the polls in November. 

Stefanowski, for the most part, has made his campaign about affordability and used every opportunity to point out why Connecticut is not affordable, from the income tax to sales taxes and inflation.

He held a press conference earlier this week at the state Capitol calling for the end of 200 fees that amount to about $50 million in revenue. 

“Why are we enforcing 200 taxes that deliver less than one quarter of 1% of the revenue of the state of Connecticut, many of which cost more to collect than the revenue they bring in?” Stefanowski said.

On Friday, Stefanowski said affordability is about more than just taxes, it’s about utility bills and insurance premiums. He said it’s also about public safety and getting the government out of the way between kids and parents. 

Lamont has touted his $600 million in tax cuts this year, most of which expire after the election. 

But why does Lamont want another four years in office? 

“I want to build on what we’re doing,” Lamont said Friday outside the training facility for UA Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 777.  “We’ve had the biggest investment in the workforce ever. Every single company that’s thinking about expanding in Connecticut, coming to Connecticut are asking about workforce, workforce, workforce.” 

If workforce is number one, number two is infrastructure, Lamont said. 

Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz joins the building trades Credit: Christine Stuart photo

“We’ve got the resources to rebuild our state. We took our eye off the ball for the last generation or two. You see a lot of 100 year bridges and roads.” 

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said they also want to fight climate change and will do that as they build wind power in the state and they have the technology to keep investing in green energy. 

“We’re about fighting climate change and we’re about making sure we continue to invest in people because that is our biggest challenge: connecting people to careers,” Bysiewicz said. 

Connecticut’s unemployment rate is around 3.7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

But the former cable executive who is a millionaire from Greenwich said it’s about connecting people with good paying jobs. 

“I think this is an extraordinary opportunity to lift everybody up and that’s where the trades are so important,” Lamont told members of the building trades Friday. 

Michael Rosario, business manager for the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 777, said in 2018 Stefanowski said if he was governor he was going to take the unions out by their knees. 

“I’d like to know why? What did we ever do to you? You know nothing about me,” Rosario said. “Is it because we offer free health care? Is it because we offer pension plans?”

Stefanowski said he made the comment late at night and regrets it. 

“I wish I hadn’t made it,” Stefanowski said Friday. He said if they paid into a plan then they deserve the benefits and everybody should have affordable health care. 

He said Lamont is making a mistake by running against Stefanowski’s 2018 campaign.

Stefanowski said Lamont is trying to divide the state and he would govern for everybody. 

“I’m not going to select winners and losers. I want to make Connecticut more affordable for everybody,” Stefanowski said. 

He said he’s going to make the state more affordable and safer and that’s why he’s going to win because voters are not happy with the status quo.