In the first of a series of posts, Democratic gubernational candidate Dan Malloy discusses his stance on issues relevant to young professionals. Malloy is the mayor of Stamford and won his party’s endorsement in the Democratic Convention earlier this year. He will face Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont in the Aug. 10 primary.
What do you think are the three issues young professionals in Connecticut are most concerned about?
Malloy: Issue number one for Connecticut’s next Governor is job creation, and in my talks with young professionals around the state I think they understand that. In fact, I’m tempted to say it’s issue one, two and three, because the fact is if we can’t grow jobs and get Connecticut’s economy back on track, it will be impossible to make headway on any of the critical issues facing Connecticut. Jobs are important to all Connecticut residents, but especially so for young professionals who are looking to begin their careers and adult lives in Connecticut. If they cant find good jobs here, they’ll move elsewhere – and when that happens the state suffers.
Secondary but related to that, young professionals are concerned about health care, and affordable housing. They need to know that an illness won’t devastate them financially, and that can afford to live here and still maintain a good quality of life.
How would you retain young professional talent in Connecticut?
Malloy: I’ll lead an effort to maintain the good jobs we have, and to grow new, well-paying jobs as well so that our young professionals have a reason to stay here. Growing jobs will be a multifaceted approach, one that includes: a refocused effort on recruiting out-of-state companies to come to Connecticut; investing in high-tech industry while working to revitalize the state’s manufacturing industry; reducing health care and energy costs to make the state more business friendly; and making statewide improvements in infrastructure and transportation. Under my administration we can and will make progress on all those fronts, and in doing so we’ll make Connecticut a more attractive place for young professionals to work and live.
What kinds of initiatives would you enact to create more affordable housing for young professionals?
Malloy: I know something about the importance of affordable housing – during my time as Mayor of Stamford we built more affordable housing than any other municipality in the state. Affordability is key to attracting and retaining young skilled workers, and it’s key to attracting and retaining small innovative companies that can grow to be major employers. Connecticut should do more to support applicants for federal funding and tax credits. It should expand the affordable housing bonus in its Historic Preservation Tax Credit program – a program that creates jobs and preserves our historical assets by encouraging rehabilitation of old buildings.
Connecticut should consider bonuses for affordable housing that are consistent with Transit Oriented Development. It should approach affordable housing expansion in a way that builds community and grows neighborhood connections.
Finally, it must tackle homelessness by doing more to support sustainable housing programs and addressing the root causes of homelessness linked to mental illness and economic opportunity.
What would you do to improve public transportation?
Malloy: As Governor I’ll be committed to pursuing strategies that reduce congestion and that provide attractive mass transportation options.
In Stamford, I did just that. Commuter rail service in Stamford grew 200 percent under my leadership. We completed major improvements, including the addition of 1,100 parking spaces, to our train station, the 2nd busiest stop on the Metro-North Line after Grand Central Station. And, toward the end of my tenure, we secured millions of federal dollars for the 1-mile Stamford Urban Transitway, which will vastly improve access to rail service, including access to high-speed rail.