In a few short weeks we will be going to the polls and electing a governor, statewide constitutional officers and representatives to Congress.
As a Democrat, I tend to support fellow Democrats in their run for office. That said, there are fundamental reasons to vote for Gov. Dan Malloy and Congressman Jim Himes.
When Malloy took office he faced a $3.5 billion budget deficit. He inherited a state that had been losing jobs for years and while the Great Recession was officially over, Connecticut’s economy was very slow to recover.
Closing a budget gap as large as the state had at the time required him to make some very tough decisions, many not very popular. He had the strength to do what was necessary.
He could have covered the gap by simply raising taxes, never a popular choice. He could have cut the budget by the needed amount but that would have resulted in less money for cities and towns, thus raising local property taxes, and then the cost for closing the deficit would not have been shared fairly across the state.
His chose to do some of each. He did add some items to be included on the sales tax list and he did increase fees on a number of items.
But along with that he also cut the size of state government. He consolidated state departments; this resulted in fewer commissioners and upper management. He went to the state unions and got them to help. What has resulted is a “rainy day fund” that was empty now has over $500 million in it.
Budget surpluses for three years
He has reduced the state’s debt; we have had budget surpluses for three years. He has kept state budget increases to a little over 2%.
Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in five years, and more than 50,000 private sector jobs have been created.
Finally, when disasters hit the state he was there leading the response. Whether it was the blizzard or the hurricanes, he was there keeping the citizens informed and making sure the state did everything it could to mitigate the problems.
That is why I am supporting Malloy’s re-election, and why I think you should as well.
Himes understands the economy
I also want to say a few words about why U.S. Rep. Himes should be re-elected. When he was elected in 2008 he went to Congress as a freshman legislator and was selected to work on banking and finance reforms.
Why? Because he understood how this part of our economy worked and brought knowledge that most in Congress didn’t have. He helped write the legislation that hopefully will prevent a future meltdown.
He now also serves on the House Intelligence Committee. Again, the leadership has recognized his intellectual strength. Here he puts what is best for the country ahead of any partisan politics.
It is that similar commitment to his district in Connecticut that has been a benchmark for his time in Washington. He works for all the cities and towns in the Fourth Congressional District and it matters not what political party the city or town leader is from.
There for all of his constituents
I can think of no better example of that then what happened at this year’s Shelton Day. As Himes and I were getting ready to walk around the downtown area, he was approached by Mayor Mark Lauretti.
The mayor wanted to welcome the congressman to Shelton Day but he also expressed his thanks for the help that Himes’ office was providing in helping Shelton with a grant application.
This is testimony that Himes is there for all his constituents and works for all of us. It’s that kind of a person we want representing us in Congress and why he should be re-elected.
David Gioiello is chairman of the Shelton Democratic Town Committee and a two-time candidate for mayor.