GREENWICH, Conn., -- Joking that he knew most of his Greenwich audience members are Republicans, an assured Gov. Dannel Malloy defended his fiscal record in front of a large crowd Wednesday.
"This is going to be a bad day for a lot Republicans," Malloy joked at one point during his address to the Retired Men's Association of Greenwich, noting how his administration has moved quickly to fund pensions after decades of only partially funding.
More than 200 people crowded into the First Presbyterian Church's Fellowship Hall, the largest crowd at one of the association's weekly meetings.
Malloy used a call and response to contrast himself with his two Republican predecessors — John Rowland and M. Jodi Rell. "Which governor — Rowland, Rell or Malloy..." he frequently asked. It always led to the answer "Malloy" from a small group in the audience, as he spoke about his administration's accomplishments in funding pensions, adjusting state employee numbers and reducing crime.
The state now has $400 million in a "rainy day" fund, Malloy said, and compared that to the empty fund when he assumed office. "Every single dollar in the rainy day fund had been exhausted," he said.
He bragged about creating a third-tier pension plan that results in state employees working longer for smaller pensions. Yet, Malloy said neither he nor the state has received credit for moving to fund the pensions. "Good news is a lot harder to explain than bad news," he said.
Connecticut has to move aggressively in reducing the number of people imprisoned, Malloy said. He pointed to Berlin, whose population of about 3.5 million has only 4,000 people incarcerated. He compared that to Connecticut, a state of 3.6 million people with 16,000 incarcerated. The German prisoners also receive extensive job training, and there is a heavy presence of social workers to work with the prisoners, he said.
Malloy also pushed his plan to improve the state's transportation system, pointing to numerous examples of the aging and outdated transportation infrastructure.
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