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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

John DeStefano's busy night

Seems like Democratic gubernatorial candidate John DeStefano was pretty busy last night.

The person who wants Gov. Rell's job first paid a visit to My Left Nutmeg and held a forum with the online community. Here are some highlights from last night's session.
Question (fromdMoney):
First, thanks for coming on here to blog. My question is, Jodi Rell clearly has no vision for the state, but how will you convince people to vote for you over her and close the remaining gap in the polls?

Answer:
To dmoney:
You beat Jodi Rell by offering a contrast. We Dem's think affordable, universal health care a smart thing - and the right thing - to do. Jodi thinks, well... nothing. That the current system is fine. Then we raise the field op and the $$$ to tell the story. That's how.

Question (from Sue):
I work in Bridgeport as a teacher. If you would, could you lay out what plans you have to help our district (and the rest of the state).

I've just read that there has been a sharp decline in U.S. education grants (via the Hartford Courant). How can we make up the difference?

Answer:
We help Bridgeport by strengthening curriculum and providing support to the teacher corps to be prepared to deliver it. We focus to closing the achievement gap by offering pre-k and afterschool programming. Let's focus less on the NCLB standards and more on academic achievement.

By the way we have to change the way we pay for public schools. Less property tax based - more state aid - let's look at income based taxes.

Question:
What do you think of Jodi Rell's 3.5 Billion Transportation bill?

Answer:
It was the Legislature's bill. The Governor proposed $340 million. Look at Massachusettes - they are spending much more because they understand it's an investment in economic growth. Gov. Rell's playbook is to go along - with the Legislature, with John Rowland, etc.
You can view the entire discussion at My Left Nutmeg.

That wasn't the end of his night...

DeStefano paid a visit to Yale and gave a speech to a standing room crowd of students who he hopes will volunteer and help him in his campaign.
"America is concerned about the direction of the last six years," DeStefano, New Haven's mayor, told the crowd in Yale's Branford Colelge. "There's one state that is going to provide a leadership role, and that state is..."

The crowd roared: "Connecticut!"

"Two-thousand and six is going to start something in America that is going to finish with the presidential election in 2008. The more powerfully we speak about that this year in November in Connecticut, we can help set the stage," said DeStefano.

In the course of his 30-minute address and question-and-answer, DeStefano laid out a number of his goals for the governorship, including universal health care, a greener energy policy, education reform, and increased job creation. He said that under a DeStefano administration, a law would be passed in 2007 legalizing gay marriage.

In addition to speaking about his reforms, DeStefano focused his attention on recruiting the energy and influence of student Democrats. The Yale College Democrats hosted his talk.

[...]

One student attending Monday evening's event, Lily Dorman, said, "He knows that Yale students have gotten involved in the past and hopes more will get involved." Dorman and other attendees suggested that pro-active students could help turn the race around.

DeStefano offered a host of opportunities for his younger party colleagues to return their energies to the gubernatorial race. "When we have change here, you will have the opportunity to be a part of that change," he said. "You not only get a chance to help win elections, you get a chance then to make something actually happen after the election."
With DeStefano closing the gap between him and Rell in the polls, the mayor needs to generate interest in his campaign in a state where the hottest ticket in town is the Lamont-Lieberman race.

By all indications, DeStefano is off to a good start.