The Democrats who would be governor had their turn on live TV in a debate Friday night on NBC Connecticut (Channel 30). The six candidates focused mostly on the budget deficit and how to fix it. Unlike the Republicans seeking the office, the Democrats were more than open to new sources of revenue.

The beginning of the debate was a bit odd as the lectern set up for frontrunner Ned Lamont was empty. Moderator Gerry Brooks explained Lamont was stuck in traffic. When Lamont did arrive, he commented that he hoped transportation would be discussed because he “was loaded for bear on that one.” Lamont may have thought showing up late and making a joke out of it was cute. To The Shad, it was nothing short of insulting.

Most of the candidates, to varying degrees, sucked up to public employee unions and unions in general while expressing a need to take on the expected $3.5 billion deficit in the coming years—seemingly contradicting undertakings.

Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman stood out not only as the sole woman on the stage but also by reiterating a signature issue for her—smart growth and regionalization. She also said that as governor, she would maximize federal funds, saying the current administration has left millions on the table.

Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi voiced strong support for tolls as a way to raise revenue (the legislature’s transportation committee referred the tolls issue for further study earlier this year.

Sounding confident and well versed on the issues, former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy nonetheless left this viewer with a sense of “we’ve heard this all before.” That’s probably because we have. Malloy won the party’s endorsement in 2006 only to lose the primary to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.
The clock is ticking on President Obama’s health care reform bill. The $100 million for Dempsey Hospital that Sen. Dodd engineered is still in the Health Care Reform bill—as of now—while others have fallen.