October 4, 2013/News

Remarks by Governor Dannel P. Malloy at the 2013 JJB Dinner

In case you missed it last Saturday, Governor Malloy gave a rousing speech at our 65th Annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner. Democrats walked out the doors that night inspired by all we’ve accomplished in Connecticut over the last three years, and fired up to win this year, next year and in the future. We wanted to make sure you had a chance see what everyone’s talking about.

Text as Prepared for Delivery:

It’s great to be with all of you tonight.

I want to recognize my wife Cathy. She’s been there for me for more than 31 years, and I could not be here without her love and support. Thank you Cathy.

Also joining us tonight is one of the best political leaders in this state. She’s someone who, for a long period of time, has been one of my very dearest friends – Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman.

Right now, we are leading the country in making sure that more of our citizens have insurance than any other state, and on October 1 the program that Nancy put together with others is going to have real success because of her leadership and her hard work. I want to thank her publicly for that.You’ve heard from our great senators. God bless the United States Senate for what they have done to stand up to the Tea Party. Dick Blumenthal has served us all so well in so many different capacities over the years.  Being from Stamford I remember when he represented us in the legislature, and I can tell you that every job he’s done since then has been remarkable.I want to thank Senator Murphy as well. When he went down to Washington as a new Congressman he was immediately recognized for his leadership skills.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that he’s now recognized as a leader in the Senate.To have the two of them representing us in Washington is priceless, and I want to thank you both very much for the work that you do.

As we speak, our Congressional Delegation is fighting the fight, and I appreciate every one of them. In particular, we know that Congresswoman Esty will be a target of Republicans, and that all of us must work to get her reelected, along with the rest of our great Congressional Delegation. Let’s make sure we’re ready for that fight next year.

This room is filled with great leaders, local mayors and first selectmen. Thank you again for the jobs that you’re doing in your communities.

To turn to my friends in the State Legislature, to all members of the Senate and House, thank you for the job you do. To my partners Speaker Sharkey and Senate President Williams, thanks to your great leadership in the legislature – we’re getting things done.

This is a great time to get together at one of these dinners; I’ve been coming to these for years, and I appreciate the opportunity to be with fellow Democrats. To be with people who measure their success by how well their community is doing, by how well their state is doing, by how well their nation is doing.

That’s who we are – we’re Democrats and we care about the other guy.

I want to say to all of you, to our party’s leadership – Nancy Dinardo and Jonathan Harris – thank you for the great job you’re doing in recreating this apparatus. We’re going to go out and win some very interesting races over the next couple of years thanks in no small part to your work.

I want to touch on a couple of things tonight. First of all, we can’t be in a room as Democrats and be cognizant of what’s happening in Washington without commenting on it. At least I can’t.What was once the Republican Party is now the Tea Party – this is a case were the tail is literally wagging the dog. They don’t give a darn about our economy, it’s quite clear that they would sink our economy for their own political good.They’ve done it before. In 2011, they had a crazy debate about whether we would pay our national debt. They took 1.5 percent off of GDP that year by having that crazy discussion. Because they don’t care about getting people back to work. Because if they did care about getting people back to work we’d have the jobs program that the President presented to the Congress of the United States.But they refused to take it up. And now they want to shut down the government. Listen, if we keep electing people to government who tell you that they hate government, then we shouldn’t be surprised at the results we get.

This is a gigantic mistake.  What they want to do is end Obamacare before it’s the proven success that it’s going to be. Having Americans with health insurance is something that we all believe in. It’s something that every member of Congress has and that every citizen should have. This is a fight that’s worth having, a fight that’s worth winning, and we have to stand up to this crowd. They are the barbarians at the wall.

I stand with our President.  He is showing great leadership. It’s a difficult time with that crowd but this is a President that exhibits leadership day in and day out. Even taking the time to speak to people that our country has not spoken to in 40 yearsBD. He is a leader and I stand with Barack Obama.

Let’s talk about Connecticut and what we have accomplished together, and when I say together I mean all of us in this room. Democrats, working together, have done some magnificent things that we should be proud of, take credit for, and make sure our fellow citizens in the rest of the state fully understand.

For years we wanted to have an Earned Income Tax Credit in this state that would help lift people out of poverty and reward their hard work. Republicans stood in the way when we didn’t have a Democratic Governor. We do now, and thanks to our work together we have an Earned Income Tax Credit that’s lifting people out of poverty in Connecticut.

No one should ever have to fear losing their job because they didn’t go to work sick. Right now because of the hard work of people in this room and people in the legislature, we are a state that rewards hard work – an hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.  We have a system in place that ensures nurses can stay home when they’re sick, daycare providers can stay home when they’re sick, and frankly, the people who work in this establishment can stay home when they’re sick rather than serving you your meal.

Another thing we’ve done on behalf of working class people is to raise our minimum wage to $9 an hour.  You should be proud of it. I’m proud of it and I know it’s going to change people’s lives.Connecticut led the nation in passing the Dream Act. The idea that a child would be denied a college education because their parents brought them here when they were 6 months old did not make any sense. It was the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face. As we stand here today, Connecticut kids are more able to get a Connecticut education, regardless of what their parents did.We have protected transgender rights. We couldn’t get it past the legislature with previous administrations, but with a Democratic governor and a Democratic Lieutenant Governor, and with great leadership in both houses of the State Legislature, we are now protecting those rights.We have passed one of the best energy bills in the country, and we are going to get cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy as a result. In fact we have already lowered electric energy costs by 12 percent since we elected Nancy Wyman Lieutenant Governor.

We are reorganizing state government.  Yes, it is we Democrats who are shrinking state government, making it more efficient and providing a higher level of service. We can be proud of that.

We passed a bill to require the labeling of GMOs.  We’ve said that if we can get other states to move in our direction, people should know what’s in the products they consume, and I’m proud of that as well.

We balanced a budget that had the largest per capita deficit in the nation. Not only did we refuse to burden local communities – as was done in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey and elsewhere – we went in the opposite direction. We sent more aid into our cities and towns, more aid into local governments.

We are supporting education at a higher level today than we ever have before. I’m proud of that, and I hope you are too. We funded a thousand more early kindergarten spots this past year, making sure that we’re giving our children the down payment on success that they need. Our education system is no longer about spreading opportunity – it’s about spreading success, and we’re working earnestly at that. And I want to thank the teachers in the room for all the hard work that they do day in and day out.

We have protected the right of labor to collectively bargain, we have recognized groups that were not recognized before, we have said no to the slash and burn policies represented in Wisconsin. I know there is a guy running for the Republican nomination who just can’t wait for a Wisconsin moment, but let me tell you, we’re not going to have a Wisconsin moment in this state.

We honor hard working people, the people we rely on day in and day out. Police officers and firemen and the people who work in our parks.

In our country we’ve seen 21 states make it harder for people to vote. Not us. The state of Connecticut is doing all it can to make it easier for all of our citizens to register and vote, and I’m proud of the work of our Secretary of State in that regard, and I’m proud to be her partner.

We have done so many other things including decriminalizing marijuana and recognizing that marijuana is an appropriate treatment for certain medical conditions. We are changing people’s lives as we speak.

In the eight years that led up to this administration, our state government invested in or made loans to 119 companies. As I stand before you right now, two years and 9 months into this administration, we have done the same with more than 900 firms – mostly small businesses.  We are growing jobs, we are working with small business, we are working with minority owned businesses, we are working with women owned businesses, and together we are winning.  I know we’re winning because we’ve created 41,000 private sector jobs since we took office.

When it comes to higher education we have revamped our system, we are making unprecedented investments in community colleges, we have invested 258 million additional dollars to make sure they can modernize and have the technology they need to succeed.

At our four regional universities we are investing, breaking ground and cutting ribbons at astronomical rate as we improve those institutions, making sure those students have every opportunity they need.

At UConn, we began by getting away from the debate about whether we were going to have better beds at the hospital to making sure we have 80 additional labs and additional scientists, additional researchers and yes, we brought Jackson labs to the State of Connecticut.

We are going to be a leader in bioscience – an industry that is going to create thousands of jobs in our state. At the university of Connecticut Storrs campus – now a top-19 pubic university in the country – we are making investments so that many students can pursue a career in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. If we’re going to grow this economy, if we’re going to make headway well into the next decade, then we need a workforce that matches the skillset that’s required.

We’re going to increase graduation in our engineering program by 70 percent and stem overall by 47 percent. If you want a long-term solution, if you want to bring back jobs and grow jobs in the state of Connecticut, that’s the kind of investment you can be proud of.

That is just a small part of what we have accomplished together as Democrats.

We’ve accomplished it because we measure success differently. We care more about the other guy, we care about our middle class, and we embrace our middle class because for the vast majority of us that’s who we are, that’s what we are, or that’s where our roots are. We were taught that we had an obligation to leave this world a better place for having lived in it.

I have to tell you I’m proud to be a Democrat, I’m proud to be your friend, I’m proud to be Governor of this great state. And I’m proud we’re making progress because we have Democrats working with Democrats to pass great laws that benefit our working class.

We’re going to grow this state together, we’re going to lead this country. That’s who we are. That’s what we are. We’re never going to give up because we love this country and this state too much.

Thank you, and God bless.