Readers of The Day – Day weigh in on the gubernatorial race

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The race for governor is tight among some readers of The Day.

Between current Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and Republican nominee Bob Stefanowski, who lost to Lamont in the last gubernatorial race in 2018, Day reader preferences are mostly split between the Greenwich businessman and current governor and businessman of Madison.

We asked readers: Who do you prefer in the race for governor, Lamont or Stefanowski and why? Which of the two candidates will know how to better manage the economy and why? And is Lamont’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic an important campaign issue for you, why or why not?

Stefanowski has remained in the public eye since his loss to Lamont, and Lamont’s administration has been praised by Democrats and Republicans alike for its handling of the pandemic. Campaign season is already here, nine months from Election Day, and Stefanowski’s team regularly send out statements attacking Lamont.

Reader of the day Michael Parahus said they favor Stefanowski because “Connecticut has been controlled by Democrats for far too many years and in general their taxation has made Connecticut one of the least affordable states to live”.

Parahus is not alone. Stefanowski’s supporters think he will cut taxes. Lamont promised during his tenure and last campaign not to introduce new taxes and recently presented a tax cut proposal. The center of Stefanowski’s previous gubernatorial campaign called for the abolition of state income tax, a hotly criticized plan that he withdrew from this election.

Some respondents, including Courtney Palumbo, said they felt Lamont’s repeated extension of emergency powers was an example of government overreach.

Laura Lefko said she was “concerned about rising crime, taxes and shrinking business, to name but a few issues”.

“My first thought is that the Democrats who have run this state for years got us to where we are today, so why not try something new?” said Lefko. “Seriously, Bob Stefanowski has a solid business background at the highest level with a high success rate… He has nothing to gain financially by being governor.”

Noreen Kokoruda said Stefanowski “will know how to work with the legislature to end their extreme actions.”

“On the second day after Lamont first announced he was running in 2018, he met with the unions and said, ‘I’m supporting you,’ and he limited himself and economic growth that day- there,” Kokoruda said. “Bob will work with the union but he will never allow them the control that Lamont allowed.”

Still, at least half of respondents said they favored Lamont.

“While I have my doubts about Lamont with the recent revelations about school building and State Pier, Mr. Stefanowski is another wealthy businessman who has no idea how to run an accountable government before the people,” Bill Sheehan said. “His comment on auditing all state agencies in his introductory announcement is indicative of his lack of knowledge of government and its responsibilities.”

The State Contracting Standards Board recently completed an investigation of the Connecticut Port Authority and criticized past practices. In addition, federal authorities are requesting documents associated with projects overseen by Konstantinos “Kosta” Diamantis, former head of the state Office of Grants and School Construction Review. Diamantis has been involved in numerous municipal school construction projects, including New London High Schools and Colleges, with costs totaling over $150 million.

Lynn Young, reader of Day, said she was supportive of Lamont: “However, he’s starting to show signs of complacency towards the cities and just might change my mind if this doesn’t stop.” She did not name a candidate when asked who would be best on the economy.

“I’m not sure either can overcome the incompetence of the legislature, but whoever is willing to attack public unions, cut the budget or at least stop growing it will do better job,” Young said.

Anne Nelson said Lamont had done a “great job” and helped “stabilize” the state during the pandemic. “Bob is a loan shark, I don’t trust him and he’s a Republican. I have a hard time voting for any of them because they betrayed their country and the American people,” he said. she stated.

Dean Morse has the same animosity towards the GOP. “I would never vote for a GOP member, ever. The GOP represents everything I’m against,” he said. “I have little faith in the intentions of anyone seeking public office, because all we see are selfish individuals and those trying to run an administration in secret. I am a Democrat but I see corruption everywhere in politics.

William Kenny said he “has yet to see any evidence” that Stefanowski has “even a rudimentary understanding of state government”. He said Lamont would manage the state’s economy better because Democrats control the legislature, so ideas have a better chance of becoming law.

One respondent, Bryant Evans, said he didn’t support either candidate because “they’re both twisted.”

“They will do what is best for themselves or for their friends,” he added.

Pandemic on the ballot

Republicans and Stefanowski supporters have been more lukewarm in their assessment of Lamont’s handling of the pandemic. Almost all respondents from all political persuasions agreed that this was a campaign issue.

“Public health and safety are of course important. He made a few missteps. Missteps often reveal a lack of planning. As a Republican, I supported mask mandates and definitely supported vaccinations,” Parahus said. “There is a fine line between public health and safety and freedom of choice. Too often in the United States, the freedom of choice argument trumps public safety, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing.

Respondent Robert Streb said the pandemic was not a campaign issue for him and that Lamont’s handling of it was “way over the top”.

Lefko said she disagreed with the governor’s handling of the pandemic. “Lamont did the same thing Cuomo did, sending the sick back to nursing homes, but somehow he avoided accountability,” she said. “The mask warrant and its overly long emergency powers is another issue for me.”

“Allowing local schools to decide whether to stay open or closed was the right thing to do,” Kokoruda said of Lamont, but “His lack of knowing how to get masks, tests, gowns was terrible at first. This showed the weakness of its hand-picked staff.

Lamont praised his commissioners and cabinet, crediting them with the state’s ability to get personal protective equipment and testing ahead of other states.

“Lamont has done an outstanding job in handling the pandemic,” Sheehan said. “He seems to be sensing the unrest among the ‘natives’ and is deferring decisions to local officials and health districts based on the status of COVID cases and hospitalizations in the area. What is needed in New Haven may not be needed in New London.

Morse said Lamont had done “a top notch job trying to educate people about COVID.”

“He had the best interest of the people and their safety,” Morse continued. “It’s a shame that we have so many blatantly ignorant parents defying masks and fighting to keep their children mask-free in an environment where they can become infected and become fatally ill.”

Kenny also took issue with the conservative backlash toward masking and vaccination, and said handling the pandemic was high on his list of concerns. “The whole ‘gratuitously stupid’ stance of much of the GOP is off-putting, to put it mildly,” he said.

Nelson said Lamont’s response to the pandemic “shows what he’s made of” and that the governor “has done a really good job for Connecticut.”

Evans posited that Lamont “just let all the towns do what they want so he doesn’t look like the bad guy”.

Before the election, we will want to exchange emails and phone calls, and maybe even meet with a group of sponsors in person to discuss your views on the gubernatorial candidates. We hope to have substantive — and civil — conversations on specific issues, including the economy, the coronavirus pandemic, and issues that directly affect our region. Participants will be required to speak publicly and have their names used in reporting. We hope to attract residents registered as Democrats and Republicans, as well as those who identify as independents or members of a third party.

Please fill out the form below to start the conversation or email editor Sten Spinella at [email protected]

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