NAUGATUCK — Exactly one week before Democrat Dan Malloy was declared unofficial winner Wednesday in a tight governor’s race with Republican Tom Foley, Malloy stressed fiscal responsibility during a campaign stop at the Naugatuck fire department.
Malloy said that as a fiscally conservative candidate, one of his top priorities will be to balance the budget. In his first act as governor, Malloy would sign an executive order to make the state adhere to the same fiscal responsibilities as towns.
“We need to start telling the truth to people about our budget debacle,” he said.
Fire Chief Hen Hanks agreed. “Government has to spend within its limits,” he said.
However, Hanks said he hoped the new governor would help direct funding to the fire department for new fire trucks and increased staffing over the next several years.
Malloy said he has a record of supporting the fire department as mayor of Stamford for 14 years. He said he would work to bring down electricity rates in Connecticut, which would affect the fire department’s budget.
Malloy spoke about his commitment to fire fighters and his personal connection to fire fighters in his family.
“We of all states should honor firefighters,” he said.
Mezzo drew comparisons between Naugatuck and Stamford, where he served as mayor for 14 years. He said he had a track record of positioning an old industrial city as one of the top cities in the nation.
Like Naugatuck, Stamford is plagued with brownfields, empty spaces contaminated by industrial waste. Malloy promised to create a $500 million revolving account to assist communities in paying to clean up these sites, according to his web site.
“I believe in his past leadership,” said Wayne Malicki, vice chairman of the board of fire commissioners. Malicki said a more balanced budget and job growth are the two most important issues in the state right now.
Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo introduced Malloy, saying, “This man has earned the respect of people across the state.”
Mezzo said he would welcome change as Malloy becomes governor.
“It’s going to be refreshing to have a chief executive in Hartford who has experience with what we struggle with on the municipal level, “ he said. “I have supreme confidence that he has the experience and leadership needed to bring the changes we need to state government in Hartford.”
When speaking to the fire department on Oct. 27, Malloy said he had already started planning his eventual election as governor. “Starting on the 3rd, we’ll go in to transition,” he said.
Naugatuck firefighters’ union president James Ricci said that he was supporting Malloy because “he’s fair and that’s all we’ve ever asked for.”