Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont says his private sector experience can help him make Connecticut successful.
Lamont is running against Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim in the Aug. 14 primary for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
Lamont supports a $15 minimum wage, paid family and medical leave and a second chance for criminals who are looking to change their lives.
“I would be the first governor in generations who has come from the business world,” he said. He said he he knows how to talk to business people, and create jobs.
“I’m going to talk to the business community every day,” he said.
He hears how technology businesses are having trouble finding talent. He wants to invest in vocational tech schools to help keep Connecticut jobs, and fill them with people from Connecticut.
“I’m the type of person who is not afraid to stand up and do the right thing,” he said. “I’m best able to work with labor and business. I can work on both sides of the aisle.”
Not first primary
This isn’t the first time Lamont has run for office. In 2006, he defeated U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman in a primary to run on the Democratic ticket for a U.S. Senate seat. However, he was later defeated in the general election by Lieberman, who ran as an Independent. In 2010, he ran for governor against Gov. Dannel Malloy, losing the Democratic support in that primary. However, this year he received his party’s endorsement to run for governor. His opponent, Ganim, had to get petition signatures to be included in the primary election, and surpassed the required amount.
“Everywhere I go in the state of Connecticut … it’s the high cost of living here that is the reason why people want to leave,” said Lamont.
“I’m going to do everything I can to hold the line on taxes,” he said. “I’m going to have to come up with a fair minded way to balance the budget.”
Lamont says he is not entirely against having tolls set up in the state, primarily to help improve the way Connecticut residents travel.
“We are desperately in need of upgrading our transportation system,” he said, citing the mixmaster in Waterbury and the rail system. “These are the types of things we need to invest in to make Connecticut [viable].”
He doesn’t necessarily want the tolls to charge everyone on the roads. He said he would focus on charging tractor trailers — citing Rhode Island, which recently imposed charges on them.
“They are the ones who cause the most damage,” he said.
Lamont estimates such a charge could bring in $150 million a year. “That would allow us to at least stabilize our transportation budget. I can’t think of any other way to pay for it.”
According to Lamont’s office, more people in Connecticut die from drug overdoses than in car accidents, homicides and suicides combined. Last year, the state saw 1,038 drug overdose deaths, and drug overdose deaths have increased over the last five years. In 2012, Connecticut ranked 50th in the nation for opioid deaths, but by 2015 ranked 12th.
“Looking around the state, and hearing stories, you see how instantly addictive opioids are,” said Lamont. However, he is encouraged by some of the success stories he has been able to hear.
He wants to take some of the criminality out of having drugs, and encourage medical treatment and close monitoring.
“As a state, we’ve walked away from that a little bit,” he said. To not help with support, it’s “inhuman. It’s too important not to do.”
He wants to increase access to and distribution of Naloxone, expand patient access to and insurance coverage for facilities that provide evidence-based addiction treatment, providing more funding for treatment and recovery facilities and more.
Lamont wants Connecticut to continue to promote gun safety as a state, specifically “bringing laws into the 21st Century.”
He wants to require background checks for all firearm sales, expand the existing ban on assault weapons, mandate registration of all existing assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, prohibiting the sale of higher-capacity magazines and stop the purchase or possession of firearms for convicted abusers and those with restraining or protective orders.
“You don’t necessarily have to change [the laws], just make sure it works,” said Lamont.
More information can be found at nedlamont.com.