There are few things Connecticut citizens dislike more than our governor, Dannel Malloy. His current approval rating is 29 percent—third worst in the nation—and he holds the record for lowest approval rating of a sitting Connecticut governor in history at 24 percent. Most of this dissatisfaction has stemmed from the economy. Large companies like General Electric have left the state, and growth has been sluggish since the end of the Great Recession. While Malloy’s handling of the economy and other issues hasn’t been ideal, many problems are the result of the hand he’s been dealt. Additionally, he hasn’t got nearly enough recognition for the positive contributions he’s made to the state, which have constantly been overshadowed by the economy.
Many of Malloy’s social policy initiatives have helped improve life for those in Connecticut. While other states have been rolling back voting rights for their citizens, Malloy signed legislation that allows for same-day voter registration and also oversaw the establishment of an online voter registration system. Actions like these make it easier and more convenient to vote, which is generally considered a positive thing.
After the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook, Malloy signed some of the toughest gun control measures in the nation. The bipartisan law that was enacted required universal background checks, created the first registry for dangerous-weapon offenders in the country and banned magazines with capacities over 10 rounds. These measures are not oppressive; background checks and a registry for armed criminals are simply common sense, and limiting magazine size does not prevent someone from adequately defending themselves (while it might limit the victims of a mass shooting). Malloy took aggressive steps to decrease the possibility of further tragedies occurring and made the state in general a safer place.
If you’re not yet convinced by my prudent arguments that Malloy hasn’t been all that bad, he also signed a bill to repeal a statewide ban on the sale of alcohol on Sundays. While he has been opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana, he did decriminalize marijuana possession and legalize medical marijuana. You’re welcome.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Malloy’s resume has been his commitment to the environment. He has taken an active role in preserving coastal forest areas, and established the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in order to focus on cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy. Earlier this week he came to UConn to tout the university’s new energy-saving LED lighting system. These efforts, and Malloy’s belief that climate change is a problem in the first place, have allowed Connecticut to be one of the leading states in terms of environmental policy.
What almost no one mentions is that Governor Malloy’s ascension to office was (in and of itself) a remarkable achievement. Governor Malloy has dyslexia and, as a result, he seldom writes or types. Because of his impediment, he often has to memorize his speeches and he almost never uses notes. The very fact that he fought to work around his dyslexia and succeeded in becoming governor of a state is impressive. His story serves as an inspiration to those who feel they cannot succeed because of disabilities they have.
Governor Malloy has been by no means a perfect governor. The economy hasn’t been great through much of his tenure, and as the chief executive of the state he bears a large deal of responsibility. However, people should realize that sometimes there is no easy fix to a problem. People complain about raising taxes and then turn around and complain about state layoffs when the former is really the only way to avoid the latter. Additionally, budget problems are the result of actions by both the governor and the state legislature. Of course, the governor is a much easier target to blame.
While most of us will say goodbye to Governor Malloy and be thankful he’s gone, it is important to look a little deeper and give him due recognition for the progress he made. His job hasn’t been easy, and Malloy has had to make tough decisions. However, many of his initiatives have and will continue to make Connecticut a better place.
Jacob Kowalski is a weekly columnist to The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.