Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s State of the State address this week is being seen by Republicans as an attempt by the lame duck governor to ensure his party retains control of Connecticut this November.
In his liberal-themed speech, Malloy called on the state legislature to send a message to the nation that Connecticut stands for fairness, amid growing national inequity and unfairness.
The speech was a motivator for state Democrats.
“Are the Republicans really going to stand in the way of minimum wage increase? Are the Republicans really going to stand in the way of a vote on paid family medical leave? Are the Republicans going to stand in the way of pay equity and so many other issues that clearly the resident of the state of Connecticut and our middle class families are in support of?” asked Senate Democratic Leader Bob Duff.
Senate Republican President Len Fasano is not sure such an agenda will work.
“If this is going to be political grandstanding to try and take advantage in 2018, then you have abrogated your responsibility to Connecticut residents.” Fasano said Malloy’s speech offered little to Connecticut voters except an anti-Trump message.
UConn Political Science Professor Ron Schurin said even though Trump is affecting Republican popularity nationally, Connecticut voters have a history of bucking the national trend. Take “2006 when [Republican] Governor Rell was re-elected in a Democratic year, during the Clinton years when Republicans won the governorship...So that would give the Republicans a sense that they don’t have to worry as much about national issues or the popularity of President Trump.”
Schurin says he doesn’t expect much legislation this session because lawmakers will be focused on the November election, with a closely divided legislature and more than two dozen candidates actively campaigning for the open governor’s seat.