In May we learned that the former Mayor of Danbury Mark Boughton had taken a job with the state working for the Lamont administration. Boughton’s endorsement for a second term for Lamont followed shortly thereafter. No one is alleging any illegal activity. However one can’t help but conclude Boughton, a Republican, has been “bought” with his job, the attendant benefits and, one supposes, pension opportunities.
Connecticut is rife with politicians who have strayed from the model envisioned by the Founding fathers of citizen legislators serving for limited terms. We have multiple examples of seemingly life-time politicians in the state Assembly. The wonderfully named Martin Looney, D-New Haven, having served as a State Senator since being elected in 1992, is a prime example of lifetime politicians.
Sweetheart deals for the politically connected show a complete disregard for the business of running the state in an efficient manner, and utter disrespect for the beleaguered tax payer. Witness the cozy relationship between all-powerful state employee unions and former Assembly member Joe Aresimowicz who was the speaker of the house while representing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 4. When Aresimowicz retired from office he returned to his home town of Berlin, where he is the football coach. Was it just a coincidence that the State Bond Commission approved a $2.77 million football field improvement for the town of Berlin? (Hartford Courant 18 December 2020) Why should taxpayers across the state foot the bill for one town’s playing field?
Political retribution instead of common sense management is nothing new. Witness the dismissal of UConn trustee Denis Nayden by Governor Lamont after the 2018 election. Nayden who had served three prior governors, had a wealth of experience. He also had measurably improved the viability of UConn with over $300 million in donations raised. Lamont denied that Nayden was dismissed as retribution for Nayden’s support for Lamont’s gubernatorial competitor, Bob Stefanowski (CT Mirror 9 April 2019). UConn has had to deal with multiple financial and managerial failures during Lamont’s time as governor, resulting in tuition hikes and requests for more taxpayer dollars.
Most recently, the thirty-four-year old daughter of Governor Lamont was appointed to a “leadership” job with the US Department of Education headed up by Connecticut native Miguel Cardona. She’s keeping it “all in the family.”
How many other current, past, and future politicians are there in Connecticut with “complicated” relationships between themselves and the powerful unions and political interests in the state? Forty years of one-party rule has shown that Connecticut needs elected officials who eschew conflicts of interest and understand their role as “public servant.” Is it any wonder that so many voters distrust the elected officials?