March 15, 2011

The governor comes to town

I was surprised last night by two things: the fact that most of the big crowd who came to hear Gov. Dannel Malloy were from Bristol and that the governor generally received a polite listening. Considering how mad so many people are about proposed cuts and tax hikes, it was refreshing in a way to have the vast majority of those in attendance treat Malloy respectfully. There seemed to a feeling that whatever the flaws in his plan, he deserved some credit for at least confronting the fiscal realities, something that hasn't happened in years.
On the other hand, it doesn't mean the legislature will go along with him.
State Rep. Chris Wright, a Bristol Democrat, told me a story that pretty much illustrates the entire problem. He told me about a constituent who vehemently pleaded with him last fall to get in there and cut, cut, cut until state government reached a size we could live with. That same person contacted him recently to beg him not to allow the governor to slice away a program that mattered to him, Wright said. And that is the paradox of out times: Everyone wants to cut someone else's program. And nobody wants a tax hike.
Yet something  has to give, as Malloy made painfully clear.
Anyway, here is a link to the story I wrote about what Malloy had to say and here is another link to a story by reporter Jackie Majerus about why some of those in attendance showed up.
If I get a chance today, I'll go through my notes and post some of the other interesting moments from the town hall session. By the way, one other thing I thought was interesting: many Republicans came to hear Malloy. I noticed state Sen. Jason Welch, state Rep. Whit Betts, former Mayor William Stortz, city GOP leader TJ Barnes, city Councilor Ken Cockayne (who wheedled a photo of the governor with his son) and more. It was nice to see that a governor's town hall did not become a partisan event. I also liked that at least most of the questions were clearly not setups, which is something you have to give Malloy credit for. He's standing up and taking it.
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