by Jennifer Swift
Jan 29, 2014
11:29 AMConnecticut Politics
Tom Foley is Officially In the Race for Governor
Prepared with a long wish list of what he’d do as the state’s chief executive, Tom Foley announced Wednesday that he’s running again for governor.
Foley, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and the Republican Party’s gubernatorial nominee in 2010, formed an exploratory committee for the post in September.
Foley said in months of touring Connecticut, he had met people dissatisfied with the state’s prospects. He spoke of rising numbers of people leaving the state, deteriorating infrastructure, and of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration unnecessarily interfering in education and hurting businesses with taxes.
“I agree with those who believe we need a new direction and new leadership in Connecticut, so I am announcing today that I am entering the race for governor,” Foley said to a standing-room-only crowd at the VFW Post in Waterbury. “As your governor I promise to solve the problems that are holding so many back and will get us headed for a brighter future.”
Foley lost the 2010 race to Malloy by a little more than 6,000 votes, or 0.5 percent. The Republican acknowledged Wednesday that he did much better in the towns than in the cities, but said that wasn’t the reason he spoke in Waterbury. He said he chose the location because he was going to make helping the cities a key part of his administration. In September, Foley announced his exploratory committee in Bridgeport.
Foley spoke of his own toddler twins, who are “Connecticut’s future.”
“What are we leaving them?” he asked. “Are we acting responsibly? Will they have the same opportunities we’ve had? Most of the people I talk with agree that we are not doing enough. So Connecticut needs a fresh start. A fresh start means a new direction and new leadership.”
In an attempt to distance himself from other Republican candidates, Foley, who founded a private equity firm, said he’s not a “career politician or an insider in Connecticut politics.”
Other declared candidates include Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and West Hartford businessman Joe Visctoni. State Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton is exploring a run.
Foley came to the podium with a list of plans of what he would do as governor. He said he would keep discretionary spending flat for two years and “once spending is under control,” reduce the sales tax, which he called the state’s “most regressive tax” by half a percent. Foley said that half a percent makes up for $350 million in revenue the state would lose. Asked by a reporter, Foley said the discretionary spending would help balance those numbers.
He said he would plan to eliminate taxes that cost the state more to collect than they generate and work on business-friendly tax reforms with the legislature. He said he would also work with municipalities to reduce property taxes, especially for seniors. He would eliminate the business entity tax for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
Foley said he would implement an urban policy agenda to focus on the problems of cities.
“Connecticut’s future is only the good as the future as our cities,” he said.
As is the new practice, state Democrats had someone lined up to rebut the Republican candidate’s statements. Waterbury Mayor Neil M. O’Leary spoke to reporters outside of Foley’s press conference and said the cities were doing better under Malloy’s leadership. He said he feared that Foley’s suggestions would lead to less money to the cities and programs.
“How are these cuts going to impact the cities?” O’Leary said. “I just don’t want to see us go backwards or stay still.”