Just about everyone at the state Capitol in Hartford and almost all editorial boards and blogs agree: There is no good excuse for Gov. Rell missing the National Governors Association meetings held last weekend, wrapping up Monday.

The NGA itself billed the meetings as a chance to “address critical issues, including health care reform and the economy. Governors will also meet with President Obama, members of the administration, business executives and other experts for discussions on a host of issues and challenges facing states.” The NGS highlights private “governors-only” sessions, “including a meeting with President Obama at the White House, provid[ing] governors a venue for sharing their thoughts and views on common challenges.” But not Governor Rell. Governors from Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the contiguous states all recognized the value of the meetings and attended. Is anyone surprised Connecticut gets left behind when it comes to getting stimulus money or other federal aid? For what it’s worth, Connecticut paid the dues for the NGA. Pathetic.

The Hanging Shad pointed out Rell’s absence from the NGA meetings Tues. morning( ). The Hartford Courant followed with a more in-depth article Wednesday. The Rell administration gave some lame excuses that ranged from “she had to be here for the budget negotiations” to “we are well represented in Washington.” Really? It took until September to get the current budget passed. And there is no substitute for face time with President Obama and administration big shots. Is this what we can expect until the fall when we elect her successor.
In a somewhat related story, longtime business and economic development leader Nelson “Oz” Griebel appears on Channel 3’s Face the State hosted by Dennis House Sunday. Griebel is a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor. The show was taped Thursday evening so host House has leaked some of the content of the show including Griebel breaking with Gov. Rell and stealthy criticizing her about missing the NGA meetings. Said Griebel, “I really believe it is vitally important the governor be the face of the state, that the governor be the chief business development officer of the state. Not only do other governors go to these events but many major businesses do as well and I think it is important that the governor communicate to businesses that Connecticut is open for business and we are eager to retain jobs we have and gain new ones.”

And that’s not all. According to House on his blog, Griebel said, “In this kind of global economy you have to understand that every state and many countries are going after these jobs. If Connecticut doesn’t have a hungry governor, there are 49 others out there eager to eat our lunch.”
“It is vitally important that a governor stay involved in this. This is a 6 or 7 day a week job.”
Face the State airs on Channel 3 Sunday at 11 am.