Gov. Dannel P. Malloy used his slot at Monday’s meeting of the Connecticut AFL-CIO in New Haven to deliver a rousing address full of praise for organized labor and exhortations of support for his reelection bid.
Malloy took the stage just a few hours after Greenwich businessman Tom Foley—who polls suggest is the frontrunner for Republican gubernatorial nomination. The Democratic incumbent focused on what he said was a record of support for union causes as well as the importance of the middle class.
“There’s a problem in America and you can read about it, you can understand it, if you take the time to read or listen,” Malloy said, focusing in particular on the plight of the middle class. “The union movement, which in so many ways is responsible for the growth of the middle class in America, seems to have a target on its back in state after state after state.”
Malloy alluded to past struggles he has had with the unions, including the 2011 battle with state employees over a concession package designed to save the state money.
I’ve made mistakes and probably everybody else in this room has probably made mistakes once or twice in their lives,” he said, declining to provide specifics.
Malloy, who received two rounds of applause as he entered the ballroom, kept the energy level high as he spoke. His energetic style contrasted sharply with Foley’s more sedate delivery.
During his remarks, the governor sought to highlight union-friendly policies, including state-funded construction projects that, he says, will employ scores of union workers in the coming months and other initiatives such as paid sick days.
“Let’s be very clear,” he said. “I stand with labor. I always have. I always will. It goes back to who I am and what I am.”