United States

As Lamont Enters Office Slight Differences with Malloy Emerge

Governor-Elect Ned Lamont is staying true to one of his key campaign promises. He’s partnering with the private sector where he can to help him make policy and hiring decisions.

He announced he would receive help filling positions within his administration from a pair of professionals who work far from the state government space. Kevin Myatt, the vice president of Human Resources for Yale-New Haven Hospital and Josh Denson from Stamford who has worked for Korn Ferry in executive search roles.

Lamont says resumes have already started flowing into his transition team.

"We want to look at the people who want to serve this state and we have hundreds of people who want to serve this state and believe in this state but I’d say something else, you also want to find the people who maybe aren’t necessarily thinking about their service in state government," said Lamont.

The new governor is also beginning to take positions on key issues.

Tuesday will mark the start of the sale of marijuana for recreational use in Massachusetts.

Lamont, as he did on the campaign trail, is advocating for Connecticut to pursue similar legislation, as a new form of revenue.

"It’s something I would support and I don’t want the black market controlling marijuana distribution in our state," Lamont said. “I think that’s a lousy way to go.”

Outgoing Gov. Dannel Malloy, however, urges caution on the issue. Even though he thinks Massachusetts has taken a measured approach in its legalization, he says the issue requires further study, and has heard anecdotes from other states which he says should serve as a warning.

"This is an experiment that the United States is undergoing. A good friend of mine is the governor of Colorado. I think he wishes he knew six years ago what he knows today," Malloy said.

Finally, on tolls, Malloy says because voters approved a lockbox for transportation funds on November 6, that could broaden the discussion about new revenue for transportation projects. He says the issue of better roads, bridges, and mass transit amounts to one of competitiveness.

"The public now knows that there’s a lack of revenue to do the things that they want to see done. There may be some disagreement on how to the raise that revenue but now at least you can have that discussion about revenue understanding that some future legislators and some future governors aren’t going to put their fingers in the piggy bank," Malloy said."If we want to compete with New Jersey and New York and Massachusetts, we’re going to have to have a system that is more than about one type of vehicle and one location."

A study released by the Connecticut Department of Transportation detailed an 82-gantry toll scenario that could bring in $1 billion for transportation annually, with nearly half coming from out of state drivers.

Lamont would not rule out an expansion of his campaign proposal to exclusively toll out of state trucks, but said trucks are his priority for now.

"My focus on electronic tolling is very clear. We’re going to focus on those big tractor-trailer trucks and that will raise us something like $250 million. That’s something I think I can get through this legislature on short order and I want to get going on that."

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