On Sept. 26, the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts hosted Connecticut’s fourth gubernatorial debate of the six scheduled before Nov. 6 midterm elections. The University of Connecticut and WFSB sponsored an informative hour-long discourse among Ned Lamont (D), Bob Stefanowski (R), and Oz Griebel (I), moderated by Daily Campus editor-in-chief Chris Hanna. The event shed light upon each candidate’s resolutions for pivotal statewide issues, which should motivate UConn students and Connecticut residents to cast their vote on Nov. 6.
Griebel spoke first. To overturn Connecticut’s $4.6 billion budget deficit, the Independent candidate proposed minimal cuts, maintaining the state income tax, and uniting Democratic and Republican ideologies. He also emphasized improved infrastructure, hoping to increase electronic tolls for commercial vehicles, reestablish the Connecticut Transportation Strategy Board, and collaborate with members of the private sector to prioritize expenses. Griebel claimed that Connecticut residents and employers suffer from a crisis of confidence; he suggested partnerships with educators and vocational schools and communication with state employers, which would theoretically instill a more job-friendly environment, spread awareness of Connecticut residents’ talents and lead to an increase of 200,000 state employees. In response to calls for UConn to depart the American Athletic Conference (AAC), Griebel stressed education as a priority over taxpayer subsidization of UConn’s athletic programs.
Stefanowski spoke next. To stimulate Connecticut’s economy, the Republican candidate advocated for calling a state of emergency and lowering taxes and government spending. According to Stefanowski, such actions would create upticks in citywide vibrance, road and bridge quality, and optimism towards a sustainable future in Connecticut (illustrated through increases in mortgage investments and in-state employment). Furthermore, he pushed for affordable education through the support of engineering/computer graphics programs and trade schools, disciplined spending at the college level and diminished tuition costs. Stefanowski declared that he possessed the proper leadership, temperament and tenacity to be Connecticut’s next governor, and that he would deviate from incumbent Dannel Malloy’s policies.
Lamont spoke last. The Democratic candidate vowed to devise his state budget, which would fund healthcare, structural reform and shared services for towns and municipalities, within four months of his term’s inception. To reduce statewide congestion, he suggested upgrading roads and bridges, increasing railways’ prevalence and imposing electronic tolls on commercial vehicles. Lamont also expressed a desire to collaborate with small and large businesses, matching university graduates with suitable career opportunities based upon their acquired skills. Regarding UConn’s funding, he not only heightened the importance of UConn sports and characterized the AAC as a worthwhile athletic conference, but also placed an onus upon himself to increase university affordability and account for training expenses. Lamont pledged a fair, tough, and honest approach towards improving Connecticut, even if it meant challenging his own party’s policies.
Ultimately, Sept. 26 gubernatorial debate allowed Connecticut residents to delve deeper into their candidates’ varied standpoints on critical statewide issues. UConn students and Connecticut citizens of any political affiliation (including those unrepresented in the debate) should head to the polls and make their voices heard on Nov. 6, for any one of these candidates is bound to effect substantial change locally if elected.
Michael Katz is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org.