Lamont in State of the State address: 'We will deliver on what we say'

Published on Wednesday, 9 January 2019 20:22
Written by Skyler Frazer

@SFrazerNBH

HARTFORD - Connecticut’s newly sworn-in Gov. Ned Lamont outlined his hopes and goals for the next four years Wednesday afternoon when he addressed the General Assembly on his first official day at the State Capitol.

“Let’s fix the damn budget once and for all - you with me?” the Democratic governor asked members of both parties who where in the audience.

Lamont gave his first State of the State address to lawmakers with the simple message that Connecticut’s fiscal situation must be dealt with head-on during the 2019 General Assembly session.

People on both sides of the chamber stood and applauded when the state’s 89th governor talked about his eagerness to balance the budget.

“In six weeks, I will present to you with a budget which is in balance not just for a year, but for the foreseeable future; so that mayors and selectmen, business and labor leaders, teachers and police officers know what to expect. And together we will deliver on what we say – a budget on time - honest and balanced,” Lamont said. “However, I want to be clear – no more funny math or budgetary gamesmanship. I come from the world of small business where the numbers have to add up at the end of the month or the lights go out.”

But, as he did in his inauguration speech earlier in the day, Lamont said his term as governor would not be defined by the state’s fiscal situation. He pointed to improving the state’s transportation system, updating Connecticut’s technological infrastructure and websites for the “first all-digital government” and for attracting talent as some of his other ideas to strengthen the economy. He emphasized building a workforce for the future and thanked the state’s teachers for educating Connecticut’s young people.

The chamber became visually divided when Lamont brought up two of his other agenda items as governor.

“That also means bringing not just the workforce into the 21st century, but bringing the workplace into the 21st century, and that starts with making paid family leave a reality for all of our families,” Lamont said. “A 21st century workplace also means moving to a $15 minimum wage, responsibly and over time, so that those same parents can afford to provide for their children without working three jobs.”

State Rep. Rick Lopes, D-New Britain, who is running in the special election race to replace outgoing state Sen. Terry Gerratana’s District 6 seat, said it was an “inspiring” speech. Gerratana will be joining the governor’s administration as an adviser.

“I think he hit upon all of the major issues the people of Connecticut are worrying about and it’s a good blueprint to move forward,” Lopes said after the speech.

Republican legislator, state Repw. William Petit Jr., said he “liked the tone” of the governors speech and said it displayed a positive outlook. Petit said he had concerns, however.

“A lot of the businesses I’ve spoken to feel that an increase to $15 an hour won’t be helpful,” Petit said. “It might cause them to cut hours or positions at small businesses especially.”

Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at sfrazer@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General News, on Wednesday, 9 January 2019 20:22. Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2019 20:25.