Republicans pound Malloy, Himes at Norwalk caucus

Norwalk Republican Town Committee Chairwoman Carol Andreoli nominates members of the RTC Wednesday in the Norwalk Inn.

 NORWALK, Conn. – An evening that began with plodding political process was spiced up considerably Wednesday  when Norwalk Republicans listened to three rousing political speeches, two of them from would be-governors, at the Norwalk Inn.

Republicans systematically elected town committee members to serve for the next two years before Republican Town Committee (RTC) Chairman Art Scialabba turned the microphone over to state Sen. John McKinney (R-Fairfield), one of three people who have announced that they would like the honor of taking on Gov. Dannel Malloy next fall. McKinney was followed by former state Sen. Dan Debicella, who sharply criticized U. S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich), and state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), who has formed an exploratory committee in the governor’s race.

Up to 20 people per Norwalk district were nominated and then endorsed by their peers to become RTC members. Among them were former Mayor Richard Moccia. Not among them was former Common Councilman Nick Kydes (R-District C), who endorsed Democrat Harry Rilling for mayor this fall.

Scialabba said he would provide a list of members Thursday.

Then the competition for votes and contributions started.

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State Sen. John McKinney (R-Fairfield) speaks to the Norwalk Republican Town Committee Wednesday.

McKinney, an eight-term state senator and son of former 4th District Congressman Stewart B. McKinney, began by saying that he was born at Norwalk Hospital. His father had selected him for special treatment, he said, forcing him into a job as a dishwasher when he was 15 although his two older siblings had not worked. This taught him a work ethic.

Another good Norwalk plug: He loves being a state senator because he gets to spend a lot of time with state House Minority Leader Larry Cafero (R-Norwalk), he said.

Connecticut has gone in the wrong direction with Malloy, McKinney said.

“This past year he borrowed more money than any governor in the history of the state of Connecticut has ever borrowed in a single year, and that was on top of the fact that we already had the highest per capita debt in the country, which means you and I owe more money to the state of Connecticut than any other person in any other state,” he said.

He said he could sum up the situation in a less-than 30-second soundbite: “We spend too much, we tax too much, we borrow too much and we have unfunded pension liabilities that we can’t afford to pay back.”

(Malloy administration claims debt reduction, but not everyone buys it)

McKinney said he would change Connecticut’s delivery system for social services, which account for 22 cents of every Connecticut tax dollar, compared to 20 cents for education, he said.

The state owns hospitals that care for severely mentally challenged children who need round-the-clock care, at a cost of $1 million per child for a year. Yet the former director of St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health Services, formerly Hall Brooke, said those services could be offered for $450,000 a year in a non-profit setting, he said.

“Republicans care for people,” he said. “We just want to do it smartly, efficiently and cost effectively.”

He would create an office of inspector general, he said.

“There is no oversight for how your money and your tax dollars are spent by state agencies throughout the state of Connecticut,” he said. “We have public auditors. It’s a very small office, there are two auditors, one Republican, one Democrat. If they don’t agree to investigate something they don’t investigate it.”

Of course, the country suffered a financial downfall, he said, but Connecticut is the only state in New England and the tri-state area that hasn’t come out of it, he said. That is because, under Malloy, the state has had its largest ever tax increase ever, he said.

Most importantly, Connecticut needs to get its long-term unfunded pension and health care under control, he said.

“We have to acknowledge with our state employees that defined benefit plans are a thing of the past and defined contribution plans have to be the way we move forward in the state of Connecticut,” he said. “… The reality is state of Connecticut employees have the best and most expensive health care plan in the country. I haven’t found anybody yet who has a better one.”

He got a applause from one spectator when he said, “We can’t be paying companies to move from one Zip Code in Connecticut to another.”

There are going to be a lot of good Republicans who want to be the next governor, he said. But he expects to have raised more money than any of the others when he submits his Jan. 10 filing to the state.

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State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) speaks to the Norwalk Republican Town Committee Wednesday.

Boucher came later, emphasizing that she is exploring a run for governor, but is not a declared candidate.

Connecticut is one of five states that is losing population instead of gaining population, because the state’s economy is shrinking, as is its labor force, she said.

“If you count the fact that we had the same labor force as we had the year before, our unemployment rate would be 11 percent,” she said.

She would return power to the marketplace and phase out income, pension, inheritance, gifts and conveyance taxes. She would take out the surcharge on profits for businesses, and bring unions back to the table to reign in spending.

She spoke about mental illness, saying hospitals don’t have a place to put people. The presidents of Norwalk and Danbury hospitals have a pilot program to serve 300 people that would cost the same amount of money as the state spends on 150, she said.

Reducing fraud, waste and bloat is mandatory, she said, as well as putting in an oversight board for Metro-North and renegotiating the contract in 2015.

“We need to fix the campaign finance system because the ethics of this state have been brought to such a low level. This governor has literally put the state up for sale to the highest contributor to his campaign. That no-bid $500 million contract for the Stamford train station – where do you think that went? To the end of his delegation that gave him the nomination, who gave $75,000 to the Democrat party the year before.”

She is different than other Fairfield County candidates, but it doesn’t seem to sink in, she said, saying that she won by the highest number of votes of any state senator in the last election because she got a huge crossover vote.

“I am going around to talk to all of the RTCs because we have to win in order to change these things,” she said. “We may have a brilliant plan but we can’t put it in place unless we win. … People are hungry for a different face and a different candidate to carry the Republican banner so that we can win. That is what they are looking for right now.”

Debicella, who lost to Himes in 2010 and who is trying again, said the race for the 4th Congressional District has been targeted by the New England Republican Party because it was the closest federal race in Connecticut four years ago.

Former state Sen. Dan Debicella (R-Shelton) has announced a run against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich).

“Washington is broken and Jim Himes has become part of the problem,” he said. “As we have seen, everything that’s gone wrong in the Congress over the last few years, Jim Himes has been there. Whether it’s part of the partisan gridlock that has gripped Washington, whether it’s becoming part of the soft corruption of the special interests down there. That is the contrast that we have been drawing the last few months and we will continue to keep drawing that right up until Election Day.”

The country lost 1.3 million jobs since Himes first took office, he said. Himes is down in Washington passing bad policies, he said.

The congressman has been bragging that 35,000 Connecticut residents have signed up for health care under the Affordable Care Act, Debicella said.

“He doesn’t tell you 38,000 families have lost their health care because of Obamacare,” he said. “For the rest of us, our programs are up an average of 35 percent because of all the mandates of Obamacare. Jim Himes has hurt 90 percent of us who had health insurance to help the 10 percent who don’t. He’s hurting Norwalk families. …. We need to replace Obamacare with something that lowers the costs for the 90 percent so we can help the other 10 percent.”


3 responses to “Republicans pound Malloy, Himes at Norwalk caucus”

  1. ryan

    I sat in a packed Norwalk High auditorium and listened as the crowd overwhelmingly booed and cat called Obamacare. Did Jim Himes listen to any of us? Its time for the RIGHT kind of change in Washington. Yes WE can.

  2. 4 CT

    CT-4 represented by Jim Himes is bought and paid for by the largesse of Wall Street fat cats. They wholeheartedly endorse the policies of the federal reserve which have devalued our currency by 40% in the last 6 years only to inflate the equity markets and reap huge bonuses on the backs of taxpayers who have a $6 trillion bill as a result. Some of us who are lucky enough to have 401ks have seen nice returns, but it won’t matter when home heating oil and gas go to $6. No jobs. No growth. No hope. Thanks Jim Himes. Enjoy your extended vacation and $6 million home in Cos Cob. Good luck duping the poor folks in Bridgeport again into thinking you give a rat’s ass about them.

  3. Piberman

    So far Republican candidates for Governor aren’t calling for reducing taxes.
    Or reducing public union employment or benefits. Smart money sees a 2nd term for Gov. Malloy. He understands more spending and taxes are the path to victory in Connecticut.

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