Mayor Mark Lauretti said running two campaigns at once doesn’t leave much time to worry about other candidates’ negative opinions about him.
Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, who is also one of Lauretti’s opponents in the run for governor, recently criticized Lauretti for saying that businesses from all over the state relocating to Shelton makes him a good mayor.
“Mayor Lauretti has taken four or five shots at me since the beginning and I never responded. But recently he chose to use two-year-old data to stir up drama,” said Herbst in response to Lauretti mentioning the 400 or so Unilever employees that relocated from Trumbull to Shelton in 2014. “So if he’s going to use two-year-old data to show that he’s such a good mayor, I’ll caution about listening to someone who was a subject of a seven-year investigation, where two officials went to jail. Why wasn’t he minding the store when all this happened on his watch?
“This guy has real chutzpah taking shots at anyone else. When you’ve been in politics for a while, some of us have baggage. He has two sets of luggage.”
Lauretti responded to Herbst by saying that he has had his own share of issues during his four terms as First Selectman.
“He thinks that he can attack every and anybody whenever he wants, he’s got a track record that’s not so flattering,” said Lauretti. “Everybody can complain and everyone can say they’re going to do it better, but there are a few people that have consistently done it better than other people, and that’s the category that I’m in and they’re not.”
Unilever recently vacated its 100,000-square foot-building in Trumbull, relocating an undisclosed amount of employees to its existing offices at 3 Corporate Drive in Shelton.
Lauretti said Unilever’s most recent move is a small part of an ongoing trend.
“Bic was in Milford for 52 years and now they moved to Shelton, Hubbell Corporation was in Orange for over 100 years on the Merritt Parkway and they moved to Shelton, Pitney Bowes and Perkin Elmer, the list goes on and on,” said Lauretti. “The whole essence of this is that while Shelton continues to grow, it’s coming from within Connecticut’s borders and that bodes well for us.”
The Shelton mayor said that the trend of businesses moving to and staying in the city has a lot to do with the predictability that he’s helped to establish and maintain. He added that he looks to recreate this model at the state level should he be elected governor. He explained that the process of doing so consists of many different actions and can get complicated.
“It’s a lot harder when dealing with politics, but no one else has been able to do it at the local level, I’m the one with a track record of being able to do it consistently,” said Lauretti. “It’s like solving the state’s problems, it involves a variety of actions. It gets to be very complex. What do I do here locally? That’s all a part of being predictable. We all have histories, we all have track records and suddenly you’re going to start doing something different?”
Lauretti said he doesn’t see another candidate running for governor qualified to run the state.
“All of these candidates talk about the theme that they want to create, but they’ve never done it before. We’ve got people that want to run for this office that have never run anything in their life. All of the sudden they want to run the state,” said Lauretti. “Everybody can complain and everyone can say they’re going to do it better, but there are a few people that have consistently done it better than other people, and that’s the category that I’m in and they’re not.”
Herbst also claimed that families move to Trumbull because Lauretti has never “prioritized education,” but the Shelton mayor firmly disagreed.
“If you look at the results that these two communities get over the course of 30 or 40 years you’ll see a lot of consistency between them. Kids that have graduated from these school systems have matriculated to institutions of higher learning and do pretty well for themselves,” said Lauretti. “ When you’re desperate you say things like that. It’s nonsense. When you don’t have anything meaningful to say you start to make things up. People don’t buy that.”
Spreading the ‘Shelton model’ statewide
Not long after the announcement that Lauretti’s campaign had raised nearly $145,000 in first three months of fund-raising for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, he said his efforts to spread the “Shelton success story” statewide have continued, most recently making an appearance in Wallingford.
Lauretti’s most recent total raised for his campaign put him $105,000 short of earning the $250,000 required to receive the $1.4 million in public financing. $225,000 of the quarter-million dollar goal must be raised from in-state donors.
Despite rumors that the remaining $100,000 is the most difficult to collect, Lauretti said he feels confident that he will reach the $250,000 goal.
“I think people are looking for a different approach to the state government here in Connecticut and once they learn about the Shelton model, if they haven’t already, it resonates with them,” said Lauretti. “I think I’m going to be just fine.”