In his final State of the State address, Gov. Dannel Malloy focused on ‚ÄúConnecticut fairness‚ÄĚ while pitching a progressive agenda for the new legislative session.
‚ÄúFairness lies at the very center of our national origin and our national purpose. It is part of the American promise - that if freedom means anything, it means a fair shot at a decent life for all people,‚ÄĚ Malloy said, laying the groundwork for his speech. ‚ÄúHere in Connecticut, the pursuit of fairness has been a constant throughout our history.‚ÄĚ
Malloy highlighted many of the state‚Äôs historical figures, including John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Prudence Crandall, all of whom fought for fairness and equality.
The governor spoke of the formation of Connecticut‚Äôs first black labor union and the historic 135-day hunger strike at a Danbury prison to protest racial segregation in the prison system.
‚ÄúThis common thread of fairness has woven its way through Connecticut‚Äôs history, all the way to present times. In recent years, we have worked hard to ensure that when it comes to equity, justice, and basic compassion for one another, our actions have lived up to our rhetoric,‚ÄĚ Malloy said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve been driven by Connecticut fairness.‚ÄĚ
Malloy used the theme of ‚ÄúConnecticut fairness‚ÄĚ to highlight some of the ways he says recent Connecticut legislation has helped ensure equality for its residents.
Gay marriage, the $10 minimum wage, gun violence prevention legislation and the DREAM Act are just a few of the legislative initiatives in which the state has led the way, Malloy said.
The governor urged legislators to continue this tradition of fairness this year.
‚ÄúWe won‚Äôt be able to solve every problem or right every wrong, but together we can send a signal to the rest of the nation - and indeed the rest of the world - that Connecticut leaders will always recognize injustice and inequity, and that we will meet it head on with compassion, with love and with fairness,‚ÄĚ Malloy said.
Malloy‚Äôs ‚ÄúConnecticut fairness‚ÄĚ proposals include:
nPreserving the key elements of the Affordable Care Act, including passing a state-level individual mandate.
nEnsuring birth control for women remains cost-free.
nBuilding upon Connecticut‚Äôs ‚Äúpaid sick leave‚ÄĚ laws.
nIncreasing Connecticut‚Äôs clean energy and environmental protection efforts.
‚ÄúLet‚Äôs mandate that by the year 2030, 75 percent of Connecticut energy is clean energy,‚ÄĚ Malloy said.
nIncreasing affordable housing opportunities in the state.
nPassing a statewide ban on bump stocks for firearms.
nIncreasing protections for young people in the state‚Äôs criminal justice system.
nMaking it easier for Connecticut residents to cast their ballots early, possibly by mail.
nIncreasing fairness in the workplace by creating standards aimed at preventing harassment.
Also, Malloy said, legislators should work to ensure that experience, not salary history, determines wages.
Malloy expressed confidence that legislators will continue to push the state forward by reflecting on Connecticut‚Äôs past and present.
‚ÄúTogether, we have the advantage. We have strength in numbers. Good people are never outnumbered. Not in this state, not in this nation,‚ÄĚ Malloy said. ‚ÄúHistory will judge us by our action this year, this session, to build a better, fairer Connecticut. So let‚Äôs get to work.‚ÄĚ
Shortly before Malloy‚Äôs speech, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman was greeted with a standing ovation on her 35th and final opening day of the General Assembly.
‚ÄúI want to thank you for your friendship and your trust,‚ÄĚ Wyman said.
Wyman thanked legislators for their commitment to the state, but added that they have a difficult job ahead.
‚ÄúContinue moving forward. Democrat or Republican, Republican or Democrat, we are united in our love for Connecticut and it‚Äôs residents.‚ÄĚ
Bristol and New Britain‚Äôs mayors quickly reacted to Malloy‚Äôs speech.
‚ÄúI liked the governor‚Äôs emphasis on ‚Äėfairness,‚Äô and hope that this theme also translates into a timely budget being delivered to cities and towns so that we can plan accordingly,‚ÄĚ Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said.
‚ÄúThe state of the state address did not mention one thing about the state of our state #tonedeaf,‚ÄĚ Mayor Erin Stewart, who is exploring a run for governor, posted on Twitter.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.