On the Trail: Contenders for Governor Spar Over Taxes, Tolerance and Transportation 

Bob Stefanowski at the Puerto Rican Parade of Fairfield County held in Bridgeport on Sunday

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A perceptible mid-summer lull in the statewide political races did not extend to the campaigns of Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski, which continued their daily skirmishes as minor-party candidates weighed in from the edges of the fray. 

“Since you are the Governor of all people in CT do you care at all about how Republicans and Independents feel about your policies? Do you ever try to compromise with them?”

— Question posed to Lamont in an #AskNedAnything video Twitter session by @Anne36100925, a self-described “wife, mother, grandma.” 

“We tried to do as much as we could on a bipartisan basis. The crime bill was bipartisan. The mental health bill was bipartisan. Our budget was bipartisan. In fact, many people say I look a bit like a Republican but I think like a Democrat.” 

— Lamont’s reply to @Anne36100925.

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“We’re going to cut taxes on automobiles so no one is struggling to pay more for a Honda in Hartford than a Hummer in Harwinton. Under my tax cut proposal, an estimated 1.7M vehicles in more than 100 towns across CT will see a lower tax bill this summer.”

— Lamont’s statement announcing a plan to lower car-tax bills by capping the property tax on vehicles at 32 mills, down from 45 mills. 

“Another hollow election year promise by @GovNedLamont has proven untrue. @NewTaxNed promised to cut your car taxes; instead, they went up! As Governor, I will put politics aside and make the reforms needed to make CT more affordable for residents.”

— Social media post by Stefanowski on how residents in many towns are still paying more for car taxes despite the mill-rate cut because the value of used cars rose significantly during the pandemic. 

Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz also marched in the Bridgeport parade. 

“The momentum is strong and growing behind this campaign. Over 2,300 people in the most financially trying times are choosing to invest in change. They want leadership who will prioritize making Connecticut an affordable, safe and responsive state where they can live and work.” 

— Press release from Stefanowski on his campaign receiving more than $650,000 in donations during the last fundraising quarter.

“Bob Stefanowski’s campaign is supported by anti-choice activists, anti-LGBTQ+ allies and hate groups, so it’s not really a surprise that extremist organizations are funding his campaign.” 

— State Democratic party vice-chair Adrienne Billings-Smith’s quote in a press release regarding large donations to political-action committees that support Stefanowski and other Republican candidates, including a $500,000 contribution in February to CT Truth Pac by David Kelsey, co-founder and primary funder of CT Examiner. 

“We need more tolerance, not less, for people of all walks of life and that’s what we need to be teaching our children. We should be inspiring hope, not spreading fear. And we need leaders to speak up and out about it because it’s the right thing to do.”

— Social media post from Rob Hotaling, expected to receive the Independent Party’s nomination for governor, regarding the controversy over a book about drag queen RuPaul that was removed from the children’s section of the public library in Colchester after a request by the town’s first selectman. 

“If you are looking to relocate to a state that supports the rights of women and whose actions and laws are unwavering in support of tolerance and inclusivity, Connecticut is for you. Connecticut has a record of providing equal opportunity to all people and one of the strongest records when it comes to protecting reproductive rights.”

— Portion of a letter from Lamont urging businesses in states where abortion is banned to relocate to Connecticut. 

“Hey @GovNedLamont, did you mention this to all the biz you suggested relocate to CT?  Yup CT has a lot to offer them – very high taxes, energy costs, insurance rates, commute times to name a few.”

— State Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto’s social media post noting a Tax Foundation report that Connecticut has the second-highest tax burden in the nation after New York. 

“As more people return to rail service, they want faster trains, more options, and increased services. These express trains provide the fastest trips in a decade between New Haven and Grand Central.”

— Lamont’s announcement that six new trains on the New Haven Line and seven new weekday trains on the Waterbury Branch Line have begun service. 

“Public transportation isn’t working for those who need it most. And the only answer from the one-Party in charge is to bankrupt the special transportation fund, take needed funds away from infrastructure while asking residents to pay more.”

— Statement by Stefanowski on his campaign website.

“It can be done in CT and it will be done under my administration.”

— Social media post from Michelle Louise Bicking, Green Party of Connecticut candidate for Governor, commenting on a post regarding the success of high-speed rail in Europe.


Steve Jensen

Steve Jensen was a journalist for 13 years with the Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer of Manchester before becoming a Communications Director for the State of Connecticut. Jensen covers politics and law enforcement for CT Examiner. T: 860 661-6404

steve.jensen@ctexaminer.com