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|Malloy touts experience
The last of five profiles of Connecticut's gubernatorial candidates.
SHELTON -- On his 55th birthday, is pulling a pair of beets from a field at Jones Tree Farm and envisioning new job opportunities for the state of Connecticut.
Malloy, standing in a field of mostly young Christmas trees and pumpkins in the Jones family's Valley Farm,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], is holding them like trophies,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], by their floppy green tops.
The studied casualness of Malloy's sneakers, blue jeans and open collar don't quite make up for the dress and accessorized high heels that his running mate, state Comptroller , is wearing as they stand with three generations of Joneses and talk farm policy.
Malloy figures aloud that if there were more meat-packing services in the state, farmers would have an incentive to raise and market local meat far beyond what's capable with the state's single slaughterhouse in upstate Bristol.
"It would make it easier if we developed a statewide permit," Malloy says. "We have 169 towns and local health directors just don't want to give up their power."
"There are synergistic health and environmental benefits to local foods," says farmer Terry Jones. "Part of our whole national health problem is we're not eating properly."
Jones says the state's $3.5 billion farm industry and the associated 19,000 jobs, could easily expand. Department of Agriculture oversight is very expensive.
Malloy, who has cut Christmas trees here for 26 years, promises Jones that if he wins the Aug. 10 gubernatorial primary and the fall election, he'll retain current levels of state bonding funds to acquire farmland.
"Can we applaud?" says Jones, who's there with his wife, Jean, a registered dietician and son Jamie, who runs the grape-growing and wine-making arm of the farm.
Terry's father Phil, a former member of the state , who's almost 92, is standing under a nearby shade tent. He recalled the from back a half-century ago. "It was fun as long as there was enough money," says the family patriarch.
"Hopefully, we'll get that in the second term," Malloy replies with a laugh. "We're closing the gap, we feel good about it and we're going to win."
It's late July, just before the negative ads will start flying back and forth between Malloy and , the Greenwich businessman challenging Malloy,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], who easily won the endorsement of delegates to the statewide Democratic convention in May.
Malloy, when he finally gets his $2.5 million from the state's voluntary public-finance program, will accuse Lamont of downsizing his business, contrary to Lamont's claims of success and acumen.
Lamont will counter,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], dredging up a five-year-old state investigation into Malloy's improvements to his home in the upscale Shippan neighborhood of Stamford, insinuating that something wasn't legal. A Lamont camera crew shot video outside Malloy's house in June.
,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], of Essex, the former chief state's attorney who headed the investigation into Malloy, recalled Friday that the then-mayor was candid and cooperative during what was a year-long probe that eventually cleared him.
"What occurred was that the investigators and inspectors from the Chief State's Attorney's office did a very thorough, lengthy investigation,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], interviewing witnesses and looking at documents," said Morano,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], who served from December 2002 until September 2006.
At the end of the probe, Malloy was invited to speak with investigators. "He came up by himself, with no attorney, and brought boxes of documents," said Morano,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], now a defense lawyer in private practice. "He was here for well over three hours, it may have been longer. He answered every question and asked to leave documents with us so they could be looked at."
When the probe finished, Morano issued a letter to Malloy, clearing him.
"Mister Malloy was extremely cooperative and went through the vetting of every allegation by very experienced investigators of the Public Integrity Unit of my office, who found no wrongdoing,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych]," Morano said in a phone interview.
State Sen. , D-Stamford, an old friend of Malloy's who was his campaign manager during his first successful 1995 mayoral election, said that it's Malloy's honesty, integrity and experience that qualify him to be the next governor,[link widoczny dla zalogowanych], the first Democrat since left office in January 1991.
"There is no one in the field who has the experience of running a government other than Dan," McDonald said. "He understands how the different layers of government interact and how the different agencies can be moved at one time to achieve the ambitious agenda he's set forth.
"To lead a large organization, you have to know how the levers of government work," McDonald said. "People talk about running government like a business, but the skill set is very different and not transferable. I have not heard of a successful businessman who became a successful governor."
, of Trumbull, chairwoman of the , said this week that both Lamont and Malloy are qualified to become the next state leader.
"Dan brings a very successful record of moving a city forward," she said. "Based upon his experience in Stamford, he knows how to reach out to businesses. He knows how to build consensus with people, which I believe will be important in turning around Connecticut and has a depth of experience with the problems we've facing."
Terry Jones, a registered Democrat, says Malloy is the only gubernatorial candidate to openly support the and open-space advocates. , a member of the state , said Malloy seems to be the lone candidate interested in agriculture.
"Farming is part of the history of Connecticut," Malloy tells the Joneses. "We have to be extremely active in our conservation, for historic purposes to understand what our state was and to look for new purposes, like beef, bed-and-breakfasts and ecotourism."
Terry Jones explains to Malloy why he abandoned the attempt to grow the rows of beets, when the weather in May and June kept waffling back and forth between cool, hot, dry and wet. "Sometimes you just have to make the tough choices," he tells Malloy, who presents the smaller beet to Wyman. They pay for them, like the other customers, on their way out of the Valley Farm and back on the campaign trail.
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