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Gov. Dan Malloy and Republican challenger former ambassador Tom Foley face off in the first debate of the campaign Wednesday. The Shad—and I’m sure many voters—are hoping to find out where Foley stands on crucial issues facing the state.
Foley seems to be fence sitting and it probably hurts. He can start by explaining if he will try to reopen the contracts with state employee unions. He told a gathering of AFL-CIO delegates back in June that he had no plans to try to reopen contracts, take away collective bargaining rights or layoff state workers.
Union officials are rightly skeptical. In the 2010 campaign, Foley claimed to be able to erase a $3 billion deficit left by the Rell administration without raising taxes. Logically, how would he do that? And let’s be clear. The no-layoff deal negotiated by Malloy and labor has its limits. The next governor can, if he chooses, layoff any state worker hired on or after July 1, 2011. That fact has to be tempting for Foley who also has called for a “Wisconsin moment” in Connecticut.
Also, Foley stand on the landmark gun control laws passed in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre is a mystery. All he will say is that the law would be very different if he was elected in 2010 but won’t say if he would have vetoed the laws. That seems to be an attempt to pacify the powerful gun rights groups (one of which appears ready to endorse him) and gun control advocates at the same time. It’s time for Foley to state plainly his stand on gun control.
Besides those issues, how about:
• What exactly is Foley’s connection to the super pac Voters for Good Government. It’s illegal for him to be coordinating with the pac.
• How about the minimum wage increase? Would he have vetoed it?
• What about the paid sick leave bill (now law)? Would he vetoed that?
• Would he reduce transportation funding which would mean a fare increase for Metro-North? He won’t say.
• What state regulations that he considers hostile to business would he seek to do away with?
• Can he explain his comments when he tried to capitalize on the closing of a factory in Sprague?
The fact is Foley—as The Shad has written before—is running a nonspecific, semi-stealth campaign. The voters deserve specifics. Will they get some Wednesday? The debate is being held at Norwich Free Academy and sponsored by the Norwich Bulletin. The estimable Ray Hackett moderates.