While many campaigning Democrats are asking the unpopular President Barack Obama to stay away from their states, Connecticut’s Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy welcomed him with open arms on Sunday at a high school gymnasium in Bridgeport.
If the president’s 2010 visit contributed at all to Malloy’s victory, the trip was well worth it for Obama, who in the past four years has seen Connecticut become an incubator for the progressive policies he has unable [sic] to push through a gridlocked Congress in Washington, D.C. Whether in the area of gun control, a minimum wage increase, universal preschool or the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Malloy has been a champion for the liberal cause, accomplishing in Connecticut what the president has failed to advance federally.
Obama appeared with Malloy to a crowd of 1,900.
“I can’t vote in Connecticut, but I’d tell you who I’d vote for,” Obama said. “Dan’s helped to create one of the best health insurance marketplaces in the country. Dan fought to give Connecticut a minimum wage [and] put Connecticut on the path to universal pre-K.”
Malloy enacted on the state level nearly every policy Obama has championed on the federal level, but has had more success working with a Democrat-led state assembly.
After the Newtown shooting incident in December of 2012, Obama announced stricter gun control laws as a priority of his second term. Last year, Malloy signed a sweeping package of gun restrictions that made his state’s gun laws among the strictest in the country.
When Obama began the call for a federal minimum wage hike, Malloy responded immediately, becoming the first governor to increase the state minimum wage to $10.10.
Obama has also supported the Common Core standards and universal preschool. Malloy has embraced the unpopular standards, and supports a 10-year, $200 million investment in early education.
“Dan’s expanded Medicaid to tens of thousands of folks in Connecticut,” boasted Obama about Malloy’s Access Health CT state-run exchange.
Back in June, a serious data breach of the state’s exchange was believed to have compromised the personal data of about 400 people. But the Obama administration considered Connecticut’s exchange to be so successful that it hired the former CEO of Access Health, Kevin Counihan, to oversee the federal exchange.
Malloy told the crowd on Sunday that “we should be proud of the cut in the uninsured rate here in Connecticut… and that 280,000 people now have health care.”
However, as CTMirror.org observed, Connecticut Medicaid enrollment is at a record high under Obamacare, with nearly one in five state residents covered by the program: ObamaCare changed the way income is calculated.
Malloy boasted of another liberal policy accomplishment during his first term as governor: paid sick leave.
“We were the first state to pass paid sick days… We did it first in 2011,” he said.
Many of Malloy’s opponents, however, believe Malloy’s paid sick days, added to high taxes and other policies, have led to Connecticut being ranked among the worst places to do business in the nation.
Malloy’s tight race against Foley is a rerun of their 2010 rivalry. The current governor won by carrying the state’s three large cities – Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport.
Obama, who won the state in 2012 by 17 percentage points, urged supporters to vote on Tuesday.
“Cynicism is a choice, but hope is a better choice,” he said. “That’s why you have to vote.”
Cynthia Morton, a 92-year-old retired teacher from Bridgeport said she recalled paying a poll tax when she voted in Virginia in the 1940’s.
“I lived to see a black president,” Morton said. “That is really something.”