Retiring Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell has taken a beating during the ongoing gubernatorial campaign. Not only Democrats but Republicans who are faced with inheriting a $3 billion deficit have taken their shots.
And I noted on this blog the subdued response to Rell’s speech at the GOP’s nominating convention in late May.
So I found it interesting that state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, today issued the following full-throated, unapologetic defense of/farewell to Rell:
Imbalance of Power
Commentary by State Senator Toni Boucher
Where would we be now if Jodi Rell had not been our Governor for the last five years? Astute observers, watching her operate in the most one-sided state government environment in recent history, can attest that we would be in significantly worse shape.
She attempted to slow the pace of an out of control bureaucracy but has been limited by the reality that as governor she could only propose a budget, not pass it. Only the legislature can approve it. Moreover, if one party controls both houses of the General Assembly by two thirds, they drive spending, taxes and borrowing. Newspaper editorials throughout the state have commented on a majority leadership intent on feeding its own special interests instead of responding responsibly to our severe protracted economic crisis.
As the super majority resisted calls for fiscal restraint and cuts, Fitch, CNBC, US News & World Report, Tax Foundation and Nonprofit Quarterly all pointed to Connecticut’s highest-in-the-nation tax burden, excessive debt, unfunded pension liabilities and to our last-in-the-nation job growth and business climate.
“Courage is the first of human qualities, because it is the quality that guarantees all others” -Churchill. In January 2005, Lt. Governor Rell reflected, “My imagination was never so vivid, my political ambitions never so grand, to think that I would be standing before you as the 87th Governor of Connecticut, delivering my first State of the State address”. That day she proclaimed that our state would come back from the sting of corruption in state government and restore its reputation. Under her honest and courageous leadership it did, making her one of most popular leaders in our country.
It has also been Jodi Rell’s courage and persistence in the face of a complete imbalance of power in the legislature that has kept the state from hitting rock bottom. Actions taken by the majority leadership in Hartford have assured us, however, that the budget problems we face today will be with us for some time.
The stakes are now very high. The outcome of this next election will have enormous consequences. With a two-thirds majority of both houses in the hands of those who see no limit to spending, taxing and borrowing, this next election will be monumental. It will take a future governor and a more balanced legislature with the courage and the fortitude to tackle the state’s spending and borrowing problems; and the integrity to use the power of the office for the good of regular citizens – the real job creators.
Yes, Governor Rell has persevered against great odds; a majority that refused to pass “no tax increase” budgets; a majority that spent even more during a recession; a majority that passed higher job killing taxes that have people fleeing the state; a majority that borrowed against future revenues so that reckless spending could continue.
We cannot say this enough Governor Rell, thank you for your service to Connecticut, for “fighting the good fight” against such tremendous odds.