Democratic Gov. Hopefuls Debate Taxes, Education & Sunday Sales


Taxes, spending, education, and Blue Laws took center stage on NBC Connecticut in the first televised debate between the two Democratic candidates vying for governor.

Former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and Greenwich entrepreneur Ned Lamont agreed on many of the same issues during the hour-long debate.

"I understand that it's time to get government back under control so the mistakes that have been made the last 20 years aren't made again," Malloy said when asked about streamlining state government. 

Lamont had a similar answer.

"We're a top-heavy organization right now. We need to replace lawmakers with strong executives, people who know how to lead, to bring down the high cost of state government," he said.

When asked about education reform, both candidates said something needs to be done, but not on a statewide level. 

"I'm a strong believer in local control over education.  We need to change the financing mechanism, but don't change the local control," Lamont  said. 

Malloy agreed, 

"I know the people in Simsbury don't want (the) decision about their kids' education made in Hartford," he said.  

Both also agreed against the idea of vouchers.

Viewers also asked questions during the debate. 

Brad Dewey, of Watertown, wanted to know the candidates' thoughts about allowing alcohol sales on Sunday. 

"The people of Connecticut are wise enough to purchase their liquor on the days they want it.  We're losing that revenue," Malloy said. 

 "I don't think this is a place the government ought to be. I'd end the Blue Law and let you make the decision where you want to be on a Sunday," Lamont said.

The candidates also attempted to differentiate themselves from one another.  

"This is not a time for on-the-job training, when we're in a time of crisis for the state of Connecticut," Malloy said, referencing Lamont's political experience in office.  

Lamont replied, "I think the state has been driven into a ditch over the last 15 years. I think it's time for a designated driver." 

Lamont leads Malloy by 17 points in a Quinnipiac poll taken earlier this month and has been in that position since November of last year.

Malloy secured the party nomination during last month's convention and Lamont garnered enough votes to force an August primary.

Malloy won the party's endorsement for governor four years ago. 

Lamont ran in the 2006 U.S. Senate race up against Joseph Lieberman.

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