Lamont's position, a key policy difference with his intra-party rival Dan Malloy, is not as clear-cut as it has sometimes sounded.
In response to a questionnaire from the Working Families Party, the key backers of the bill for the past several years, Lamont said that he would sign one version of the sick leave proposal, the one that limited the mandate to "service workers."
But in many public appearances and interviews, Lamont has seemed to suggest categorical rejection of a state law mandating sick leave for workers, while saying he could support a federal version of the law, which he believes would provide the sick leave without creating competitive disadvantages among individual states.
This has caused some concern for the Working Families Party who has taken up Paid Sick Leave as their issue:
But if Lamont's support has been there, it hasn't seemed very vocal to leaders of the Working Families Party, which has worked for several years to try to convince a deeply opposed business lobby that mandating sick leave for workers will improve worker health and productivity, and that it won't prove an onerous burden on employers.
Hours after Lamont's WNPR appearance on Friday, Jon Green, the party's state director, e-mailed some party members about the answer Lamont gave. In the e-mail, obtained by The Day, Green wrote, "Unfortunately, Ned's public statements still differ fairly dramatically with the position he articulated to the WFP on his questionnaire."
Having listened to the NPR interview cited by Mann and having read this article I too was left with the impression that Lamont no longer supports mandated paid sick days. While Ned and I can legitimately disagree on this issue I think it’s important for him to a be a little more clear as to where he stands and whether he has in fact changed his mind about it.
Furthermore I think combining this with other issues such as his discussion of the elimination of the death penalty in the NBC30 debate we see what kind of leader Ned Lamont might be on these progressive issues. While he suggests he might sign legislation to eliminate the death penalty or implement paid sick days he certainly doesn’t sound like he is going to be out there leading the charge on it. Maybe more of a reluctant progressive?
When I wrote my post about substance marking the gubernatorial campaign I guess I forgot to knock on wood. One of the things I most enjoy about these campaigns are the debates. Getting to see two candidates go face to face matching wits and intelligence. Though some argue that debates are too often press conferences and talking points, they also give us a chance to see how candidates might react to the unexpected. It is also an opportunity for candidates to really lay out and contrast their plans and policy to average voters that are not always paying as much attention to the issues as the process.
So I was rather disappointed to find out Ned Lamont is skipping the traditional New London debate thus leaving us without one this cycle. Now this is not just some avoidance of Dan’s debate challenge by Lamont. I remember going to New London for the debate in 2006 (back when it was Malloy v. DeStefano) and getting to see not just the debate but the huge number of supporters that turned out before the debate to support their candidates. I thought it was a great rallying tool for both campaigns, so I don’t see why Ned Lamont doesn’t want to debate.
However I can come-up with one idea. After the last debate Bob Englehart published this cartoon to describe the outcome:
So maybe Ned Lamont is afraid he won’t do so well against Dan Malloy again? Is he concerned that his momentum is waining? If Ned won’t debate Dan anymore, will he still have the courage to debate Foley in the fall, or will we just be watching TV commercials constantly?
That being said, I think it’s too bad they cancelled it. I think they should “hold” it anyways and if Lamont doesn’t show-up they could just have Dan take questions from the audience and YouTube town hall style.
I know what you're thinking: Is there no candidate who has managed to rise above all this petty squabbling, no candidate who can stop bickering long enough to address the massive and extremely boring structural financial problems pushing this state to the brink of ruin?
Well, no. There isn't. And I can't believe you would bring up such a trivial and personal concern as the future of Connecticut while the candidates are working so hard to thrash out the incredibly difficult and knotty matter of which one of them is a bigger toolbox.
Yet candidates are and have been tackling policy and the future of Connecticut directly. In between exchanging the barbs with each other Dan Malloy most recently unveiled his education plan while Ned Lamont focused on transportation. If you visit Dan Malloy’s YouTube channel he has a little over 100 videos. Many, if not a majority, addressing Connecticut policy issues from his visits around the state since he began exploring his run for governor. Meanwhile Ned Lamont aired a commercial asking people to go to his website to read about his plan for Connecticut.
It seems the problem remains that these policy conferences and ideas seem to lack the element of sexiness that excites the media and electorate. Can Colin McEnroe really write an amusing article about Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and their impact on the budget? The drama of Jon Pelto’s declaration that democrats might “suck” certainly seems to have generated more discussion on the web and about this race than Dan Malloy’s proposals for early childhood education. Even here on MyLeftNutmeg there seems to be more effort put into attacking Dan Malloy or Ned Lamont than debating policy issues like transportation and transparency. In contrast the NBC30 debate highlighted policy issues and the candidates had an opportunity to discuss what they would cut in the budget or their position on the death penalty.
The bloggers and columnists may and will continue to criticize the state of the horserace. As a political junkie myself I make no apology for the fact that I devour every poll and endorsement with the zeal of a rabid sports fan. However at the same time these small things cannot and should not be allowed to drown out the larger and more important discussions. We cannot pretend that these discussions are not happening in our legislature, city halls, and at our kitchen tables. A week or two ago I got my tuition bill from the UCONN law school. After the legislature took money from the UCONN Operating Reserve Account to cover their budget gap I find my tuition has gone up and my aid has gone significantly down from last year. An experience I imagine many other UCONN students and Connecticut families had when they got their bills and something that I care about so much more than Tom Foley’s arrest record.
So I issue this challenge, not just to Colin or Jon, but to everyone as we go into August and then November. Let’s have the great discussion about the issues and future of our state. Let’s find a way to make energy policy sexy or transportation policy dramatic to the average voter. Let’s use our bully pulpit to get voters to ask if they really think that they want more trains or solar panels in Connecticut. Yes we’ll certainly continue to have the vigorous debates about the character and experience of our candidates. There are important and valid debates to be had on whether we want to be lead by a businessman or statesman. However let us not get distracted from the fact that these bigger discussions about Connecticut’s future are happening and we need to continue to have them.