By Lindsay Carey
Gov. Dannel Malloy spoke about current issues in the state and addressed what his administration is doing to solve them at a recent Southington Chamber of Commerce Celebrity Breakfast at the Manor Inn Restaurant. The governor also took questions from business and community leaders.
State Rep. Dave Zoni gave the introduction for Gov. Malloy.
“The governor has led Connecticut with what I consider intestinal fortitude, courage, and compassion and a vision for Connecticut’s future and I’d like to say that vision includes Southington,” said Zoni.
Zoni credited Malloy with assisting with keeping Southington’s grant alive, supporting the construction projects at the middle schools and future construction projects like the cultural arts center, the YMCA and the senior center.
“He’s keeping the town of Southington whole,” said Zoni.
During his speech, Malloy discussed some of the progress that he has made while in office, such as improving small businesses, construction projects, and getting the state involved with the energy field.
“Prior to my coming in office, Connecticut had no tools to address the needs of small businesses,” said Malloy. “Between 2008 and 2012 the ability for small businesses to go to banks to get working capital was just about non existent.”
According to Malloy, his administration has made it possible for the small businesses to purchase equipment and modernize their facilities. He said that this has had an extreme impact on job growth, because successful small businesses are businesses that can afford to hire since they are growing.
“In July, Connecticut was ranked number two in cutting long term unemployment,” said Malloy.
The governor also discussed Connecticut’s success in establishing a new model of construction. He specifically discussed the bridges on I-84. A couple months ago, for the first time, the state built a replacement bridge alongside I-84 and then shut down the highway for one weekend to install it.
“We needed to find a better way to do it, because tying up traffic for years at a time can have a devastating impact on the community and on businesses who need to have traffic rerouted around them,” said Malloy.
In the past, Malloy said lanes of the highway would have been closed down and the bridge built one lane at a time.
“This project that was far less expensive and far less disruptive of all of your lives than it would have otherwise have been,” said Malloy. “And that’s the kind of construction method that we’re championing in the state of Connecticut.”
Malloy said that there is still a great deal of work to be done in Connecticut in widening I-84 and also replacing a lot of the old bridges in the state.
Malloy was also questioned about what he is doing to contribute to energy in Connecticut and he said that during his term there have been several developments.
“Connecticut was not playing the energy field for a long time,” said Malloy. “There was no department of energy before I became governor.”
Malloy said he is currently trying to pass a “groundbreaking” piece of energy legislation to drive the development of natural gas in the state of Connecticut.
“In part what we’ve done is created an additional market place and the significance of that is that there is a shortage of natural gas and until we get that addressed we are at the risk of these gigantic swings in price,” said Malloy.
He said one of his goals would be to get pipelines built to New England from Pennsylvania, where there is a supply of natural gas.
The event was sponsored by C & R Development Company, a construction and project management company.
Curtis D. Robinson, principal-in-charge of the company, said that as a Plantsville resident and a Connecticut business leader, he has his own concerns and questions for the governor, regarding unemployment.
“They never talk about people who don’t have the education and end up in institutions because they can’t find jobs or employment,” said Robinson. “Give me the same amount of money you’re giving them for unemployment and I could put all of these people to work.”
Gov. Malloy responded by saying that there is a program called Job Expansion Tax Credit (JET), which gives Connecticut business a $500 tax credit for hiring a long term unemployed individual.
However, according to Robinson, this program does not help people who don’t have skills or education. Robinson challenged Malloy to try to solve the problem of unemployment by creating jobs.
Malloy’s opponent Republican Tom Foley will be at the next Chamber Breakfast at the Manor Inn Restaurant on Oct 15 for an hour. The event will be sponsored by the Southington Town Republican Party and Southington Dental.
By Lindsay Carey