Herbst: All Democrats to blame for state of state

First Selectman Tim Herbst
First Selectman Tim Herbst

First Selectman Tim Herbst continued his political assault on Gov. Dannel Malloy this week, despite the fact that Malloy has announced that he will not seek re-election. Herbst reacted to Malloy’s announcement by expanding his rhetoric to include all state Democrats.

"The end of the Malloy era is welcome news for those who believe in opportunity for our citizens, low taxes and fiscal responsibility," Herbst said. "But make no mistake, any Democrat who has held public office during Malloy's tenure or supported this governor's job-crushing agenda owns an equal share of the blame for our state's perpetual fiscal crisis and the ruinous policies that have so hurt struggling Connecticut families, retirees and businesses.”

Herbst has formed an exploratory committee to run for statewide office. Though he has not formally announced which office he intends to seek, he is widely thought to be planning to run for governor.

“Just being rid of Gov. Malloy will not be enough to save our state," Herbst said, "Connecticut must send a new generation of leadership, outsiders who haven't been a part of the problem, to Hartford if we are going to get different results from Hartford."

Malloy announced last week that he will not seek a third term. The current term runs for another 20 months, ending in January 2019. Malloy made the announcement with his wife, Cathy, and his oldest son, Dannel, at this side, along with Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman.

Malloy began by speaking about the work that the administration has done in his six years as governor to this point. “We have tried to play the long game for Connecticut,” Malloy said, pointing to improvements made in the criminal justice system, affordable housing, and other areas.

“I’m tremendously proud of the undeniable progress we have made. But there is much work still to be done,” Malloy said.

Malloy said he had been asked if he would have submitted a different budget if he was seeking a third term, to which he had responded, “My proposed budget was built with Connecticut’s best interest in mind, regardless of political consequences.”  With that said, Malloy announced that he had decided not to seek a third term as governor.

Instead, Malloy said he plans to focus all his energy on, “implementing my administration’s vision for a more sustainable and vibrant CT economy.”

Malloy became emotional as he thanked his wife and family for their support, tearing up at the podium, before he took questions.

“I made this decision in stages,” Malloy said, adding that he first made the decision in August, then again in September, and again a few times in recent weeks. Malloy was asked if he thinks he has done enough to fix the problems he set out to fix.

“Not yet,” Malloy answered, adding, “I’m going to be governor through January 2019, and every single day I expect myself and my staff to work very hard to finish the work that we began.” Malloy also said there is no relationship at all between his low approval ratings and the decision not to run.

Malloy and family simply sounded ready to move on to the next part of their lives. “Since 1995 I’ve been a chief elected official for all but one year,” Malloy said, later adding, “I look forward to the next 20 months, and then the next 20 years.” Malloy and his wife said they hope to spend more time with their children and, eventually, grandchildren. Malloy did, however, say that people should not expect to see less, or more, of his work for the Democratic Party on the national stage.

Malloy also answered a question about what he would say to the Connecticut voter who was thinking that his decision not to run is a good thing.

“We are a very divided state and a very divided country,” Malloy answered, “ I hope that person some day that person will recognize what we’ve done.” More than that, Malloy said that, “I can assure you, my personal popularity has never driven my decision making as governor, period.”

Malloy called being governor the honor of a lifetime, “second only to being a father and a husband.” As the press conference wound down, Malloy became emotional again as he looked at his wife and wondered aloud how a child “who was spastic when born, who was thought to be mentally retarded until the fourth grade,” before his wife finished for him, “could become mayor, and then governor.”  

“I’m not sad at all, I’m overwhelmed by how happy I am. It really is remarkable,” Malloy closed.

He would leave the podium with his wife and son to a standing ovation, and hugged many of his commissioners and staff members as he left the room.

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton have already said they plan to run for governor in 2018 on the Republican ticket, and some at the press conference had already begun asking if Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman would run for the office as well. Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, a Democrat, has also said he would be interested in a run for governor.

Looney issued a statement in the wake of the announcement, saying, “Governor Malloy assumed the office during some of the most challenging times in our state’s history. During his time in office, he has relentlessly worked to improve Connecticut’s economy. His work on the 2011 bipartisan jobs legislation and embrace of raising the minimum wage and creating a state earned income tax credit has enabled countless families to find a job and improve their lives.”

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, who represents Darien and Norwalk, issued a statement as well, saying, “I’ve known Governor Malloy for a very long time and he has always worked hard and had the best interest of Connecticut in mind. The Governor has never been afraid to make tough decisions – even decisions that were sometimes unpopular – for the good of the state. The Governor’s focus on addressing Connecticut long term issues will pay dividends in years to come. Connecticut is better off because of the work of Dan Malloy.”