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Malloy Turns Focus To Foley’s Business Record During First Debate

by Hugh McQuaid | Aug 27, 2014 8:08pm
(35) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2014, Norwich

Hugh McQuaid photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy

NORWICH — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy sought Wednesday to keep the focus of the first gubernatorial debate on the business record of his opponent, Tom Foley, who dismissed the issue as irrelevant to Connecticut voters.

Malloy, a first-term Democrat, and Foley, his Republican rival, faced off Wednesday night before a crowd of about 400 people packed into a hot auditorium at Norwich Free Academy.

Although the debate covered several topics, moderator Ray Hackett, an editor at the Norwich Bulletin, allowed an open-format discussion between the candidates. During that discussion, Malloy returned several times to Foley’s record at a private equity firm and the closure of a Bibb Co. facility in Georgia, which shut its doors after it was sold by Foley’s firm.

The governor brought the issue up near the beginning of the debate, when Hackett asked both candidates if they considered their opponent dishonest. Malloy said records were important.

“I don’t think you told the truth about Bibb,” Malloy said.

During the 2010 election, Foley’s opponents used the Georgia textile facility’s closure against him and it has been the subject of several campaign ads already this year. Later on in the debate, he defended his record, saying the mill was shut down several years after he sold the company. He said the Bibb Co. did well during his tenure and he did not pay himself a salary while he was there. Foley said Connecticut voters were not interested in the issue. He called Malloy’s campaign ads revisiting the textile mill an “insult” to voters.

“You’re the governor of the state of Connecticut. People are feeling a huge squeeze . . . A lot of people can’t afford to live in our state anymore. Why are you spending so much time looking at some deal I supposedly did in the 1990s?” Foley asked, prompting applause from some of the audience.

Malloy said the mill’s fate was relevant to the future of Connecticut if Foley were to win the election.

“You told us it’s going to take eight years to solve the problems in the state of Connecticut. You had eight years to solve the problem at Bibb, to protect people’s livelihoods, to figure out how to get the job done. And you failed to do it,” he said.

Malloy also drew a line from the textile mill’s closure to a widely-publicized event Foley held in July outside the Fusion Paperboard Co. in Sprague, which was owned by a private equity firm when it closed and laid off 145 workers.

Hugh McQuaid photo

Tom Foley and his spokesman Chris Cooper

Foley insists he held the press conference, which devolved into a bickering match between he and Sprague First Selectwoman Cathy Osten, in order to highlight Malloy’s policy failures.

“Let me ask you Tom, when the companies that you owned failed did you go to their governors and blame them?” Malloy asked as the audience interrupted with applause.

The candidates also spent about 10 minutes arguing over the gun control law Malloy and the Democratic-controlled legislature passed following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Foley has said he would not push to repeal the law, but has said he would sign such a bill if the legislature passed it. He has called the bill inconvenient for gun owners, but has been vague about which provisions he opposes.

Malloy took the opportunity to quiz Foley about the law.

“Tom, should a person be able to buy a gun without a background check?” he asked. Foley answered “No.” Malloy kept going. He asked whether a person with a mental illness should be allowed to purchase a gun. Foley said it depends on the severity of the illness. Malloy asked about whether a gun owner with a protective order should be allowed to keep their firearm.

“Do you want to go over the whole bill,” Foley asked. Malloy said he would because Foley has avoided questions such questions. Malloy said he has been clear on the issue.

“I will never sign a repeal . . . If you’re talking about repealing the fundamentals of this legislation, which has led to lower crime, fewer homicides, and safer schools, teachers, and administrators — I want to be very clear, I would not repeal that,” he said.

Foley said he opposed one provision in the law that prohibited certain AR-15 style rifles and required gun owners who had already purchased them to register the weapons with the state or face felony charges. Foley said he would try to pardon anyone who was charged under that provision of the law.

“You say ‘If you don’t do something within two or three months, you’re going to be a felon?’ Governor, what were you thinking?” he said. “Absolutely, that aspect of the law, I would change.”

Education

Another hot-button issue in the governor’s race this year is education.

Foley has been critical of the increased amount of funding Malloy has spent on education.

Foley maintained during the debate that the percentage of education funding wasn’t as high as spending in other areas of the budget, even though dollar-for-dollar the funding has increased during Malloy’s tenure.

Hackett asked Foley why he thinks the percentage of education spending is more important than the actual dollars going to schools.

“It shows the actual commitment and priority of the governor,” Foley said. “Under Governor Malloy, he’s failed to do anything about state spending so it’s skyrocketing. It’s gone up 16 percent since he’s been governor.”

Foley has said he wants to keep spending flat and at the same time improve education.

“Not all of the things that affect educational outcomes for example cost money,” Foley said. “A lot of the proven, high-impact factors on education reform don’t actually cost money.”

Hackett also gave Malloy an opportunity to comment on a statement he made in 2012 that infuriated teachers and caused them to rally against his proposal on the steps of the state Capitol.

“I should admit that that was bad language,” Malloy said regarding his remarks. “It wasn’t actually about them, it was about tenure . . . I shouldn’t have said it. I apologize for saying that.”

Despite the comment, one of the two teacher unions and a number of other labor groups have endorsed Malloy this year.

Foley said Malloy’s problem with education isn’t just spending, it’s also a “style issue.” Foley accused Malloy of not engaging teachers in a dialogue about what works best in the classroom.

Malloy told Foley that after running for governor for five or six years he still doesn’t understand the legislative process because “we actually got a bill that people agreed to.”

Christine Stuart contributed to this report.

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(35) Comments

posted by: Commuter | August 27, 2014  8:29pm

Let’s have about ten more of these conversations between now and the election. Same format, I’d even let Ray Hackett moderate them all. He did a good job of controlling the crowd.

posted by: StateEmployee | August 27, 2014  8:43pm

“You’re the governor of the state of Connecticut. People are feeling a huge squeeze . . . A lot of people can’t afford to live in our state anymore. Why are you spending so much time looking at some deal I supposedly did in the 1990s?” Foley asked, prompting applause from some of the audience.

He is focusing on that, because thats all he has.  The only people that will vote for him is all the people on the dole.  Don’t expect him to get the unions.  The union leadership is doing their best to get their membership to vote Malloy, but the State Employees know better this time around.  I don’t think he will get many of teachers also.

posted by: Moboss | August 28, 2014  1:11am

I was impressed by Hackett. Campaigns are negative enough and his first question is to have them sling more mud at each other. I am not wild about Foley but there is no way I can vote for Malloy.

posted by: shinningstars122 | August 28, 2014  5:20am

shinningstars122

>>>>“You told us it’s going to take eight years to solve the problems in the state of Connecticut. You had eight years to solve the problem at Bibb, to protect people’s livelihoods, to figure out how to get the job done. And you failed to do it,” he said.

When Malloy gets on point he really can out Foley for who he really is. This has been the man’s career and voters need to be aware of this.

This is another great example of Foley’s basic math skills…I am sure he has never been a CFO in his career.
>>>>Foley maintained during the debate that the percentage of education funding wasn’t as high as spending in other areas of the budget, even though dollar-for-dollar the funding has increased during Malloy’s tenure.

OMG!?! Really Tommy boy?

As for the gun debate Foley really has to be careful he is not prepared to ” defend” his positions no matter how grey they are.

Malloy took him to task on that one.

Plus has any one who failed to register their AR-15 been arrested yet?

I don’t think so because they did what they were required to do that is not and that is not an infringement at all folks.

We all register are cars, boats , and motorcycles in our state.

I think if we continue to have pointed and detailed debates this will only help our state.

Let bring in the Texas Ranger for the next debate…then Foley will really have his hand full. LMAO

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 28, 2014  5:46am

I didnt watch it but based on this report it seems like Foley did well.

His gun answer is right on as much as many of us gun rights people wish most of the bill didnt exist.

Bottom line is you dont make felons out of law abiding citizens who bought their guns and magazines while they were legal.

In another story I slammed Qunnipiacs poll question on the number of people that support the gun law. Another example is they should ask if they support the gun law and then ask if people that dont report guns and magazines bought legally before the law should be felons and see what that number is.

posted by: Bethy | August 28, 2014  6:57am

Bethy

I don’t give a “tootie-fruity” what any negative person on this stream say’s. Our Governor “ripped” Foley to pieces in this debate! It’s very true, your past does determine the outcome of your future. Mr. Foley, your dealings with Bibb and Sprague does raise eyebrows in reference to your leadership for Connecticut. I will not take a chance with you. I’m satisfied with the current leadership (Malloy/Wyman) moving Connecticut forward.  Mr. Foley placed himself on “blast” during the debate. Throughout the entire debate, Foley has shown poor leadership qualities. He fabricated so many times I’ve lost count. I am so proud of Governor Malloy. He had me and my friends in stitches - lighting Facebook and Twitter up.  He kept moving to the edge of his seat, I thought he was going to leap out his chair. That was a prosecutor move all day.  Malloy is funny as heck, but he was very serious. He told the truth and stuck to the “facts”.  Rule No. #1: Mr. Foley, after telling so many fabrications - “never” argue with a former prosecutor! Peace and Blessings

posted by: state_employee | August 28, 2014  7:02am

state employees will not vote for him.  the union leaders will, not rank and file.  i’ll take my chances with foley.
most likely, teachers will too.

posted by: Bethy | August 28, 2014  8:38am

Bethy

@“State Employee”, you’re jealousy is truly effective. You will eat your words. Teacher’s are NOT stupid. They will NOT support Foley. You’re so severely jealous. I can feel your continued “hate” and “jealousy” every time I’m on this stream. It makes me feel good to know that I’m doing a great job as a true support of Malloy! I am going to enjoy my loooong weekend and totally ignore you. You saw the debate and you know Governor Malloy ripped Tommy. Going forward, I am “ignoring” you. Your comments mean nothing and hold absolute no weight in the debate..Try and get a love life and personal acquaintance. You sound like a very bitter, lonely person…I maintain a happy life with my family and friends.  You’re so outnumbered….Peace Out!

posted by: oliviahuxtable | August 28, 2014  8:45am

State employee: I agree that Malloy will get many fewer state worker votes. We remember the machinations of 2011. I fear the combination of a second-term Dannel, a complicit dem legislature, and a billion dollar deficit…..that could only mean very bad things for us. I also fear Foley but believe he may offer an erip to retire higher paid state workers…..Dannel insults state employees by sneering that he won’t pay for us to retire….I think he somehow doesn’t realize we are just like any other worker….we have worked and contributed our share of taxes over many years. Malloy will face an angry state workforce.

posted by: Bethy | August 28, 2014  8:48am

Bethy

Lastly “StateEmployee”, any “state employee” that shares your personal views is foolish and uncaring about the lives of their fellow workers. But you know what, they will bring unfortunate luck to themselves for their selfishness. I seen it happen in the “Rowland” administration. I have no respect for any “state employee” who is uncaring and selfish towards their coworkers going through the same struggle as the next person. Selfish, Selfish, Selfish. Shame of them. I will never stand divided against the fair and loving “ranking file” members! It’s people like you that I totally have no respect for whatsoever! Troublemaker you are!

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 28, 2014  9:02am

Bethy since I didnt see it I cant say that you are wrong on debate performance.

However it sounds similar to 4 years ago where I think Malloy did better than Foley. That was a 6000 vote difference and now Malloy has a record, which is less inspiring than an uninspring Tom Foley.

As for blaming Foleys business decisions that’s not going to swing an election. The company went out of business and people lost jobs. That happens in the real world. Prior to Sandy Hook many people expressed significant concern about an attack in a CT school. Granted most assumed high school. Well, one happened but we don’t blame Malloy for that, because the world isnt perfect and things happen.

posted by: bob8/57 | August 28, 2014  9:07am

bob8/57

It’s too early to say but from here it looks like it’s felons for Foley and decent, law abiding working people who don’t kick kittens or spit on old ladies for Malloy. Lets not forget Visconti, who is sure to fire up the lunatic fringe into a kitten kicking, expectorating on old ladies, frenzy.
Sorry, it’s the silly season…

posted by: jim black | August 28, 2014  10:37am

Typical Malloy, angry and desperate.

posted by: Moboss | August 28, 2014  11:15am

Yeah Bethy, Malloy has me in stitches too. Like when he did the biggest tax increase in state history. That was a real gasser! Raised the gas tax? LMAO! About the worst state jobs recover in the nation? I’m laughing so hard I’m about to burst! No wonder so many people either have left or want to leave this state, this form of humor is killing us. Malloy had his chance and he blew it as far as I’m concerned.

posted by: Christine Stuart | August 28, 2014  1:12pm

Christine Stuart

Moboss,
I have to correct you. Malloy did not raise the gas tax. The gas tax was raised in 2005 and included a schedule of 13 years of increases. The rest of the taxes are another story, but not the gas tax. You can blame both Republicans and Democrats for that one.
Christine

posted by: Moboss | August 28, 2014  2:22pm

Thank you Christine. I stand corrected. Malloy didn’t raise the gas tax, he just refused to stop the increase from taking affect.
http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/malloy_not_going_to_stop_gas_tax_increase/

posted by: Moboss | August 28, 2014  2:44pm

Here is the link to the debate in case you want to see it.
http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/ondemand.asp   It’s the 4th one down.
Olivahuxtable, the reason he is against an erip is because it damages the state retirement account. Even the unions have acknowledged that. and Bob 8/57 I think your description of voters is asinine. I may or may not vote for Foley but I will not vote for Malloy under any circumstances and I am not a felon.

posted by: Commuter | August 28, 2014  3:00pm

@ joebigjoe “I didnt watch it but ...” yeah, this is the problem with too many commenters. They don’t bother to do the most basic things to inform themselves, then wonder why their baseless opinions are ridiculed. I didn’t even read the rest of that comment.

posted by: art vandelay | August 28, 2014  3:41pm

art vandelay

Its obvious Malloy could not stand on his accomplishments. The only point he could make was to attack Foley on an event that happened 18 years ago.  As our esteemed former Secretary of State Once said “At this point What Difference Does It Make”.  I give Foley credit for being calm cool and collective.  He was substantive and intelligent.  Malloy was a politician at his best.  Novembers election will be a referendum on Malloy and the policies of the Democrat Party. They both have failed miserably.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | August 28, 2014  4:29pm

DrHunterSThompson

Help me here, can anyone name one “businessman” that has become a good governor?

HST

posted by: Moboss | August 28, 2014  4:35pm

i agree with Art. Foley has something like 35 years in business and this is all Malloy wants to talk about? I guess the rest is all good then?

posted by: Moboss | August 28, 2014  4:41pm

HST, I can name one that I don’t think is good that wasn’t a businessman. Hint: he’s the governor of Connecticut.

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 28, 2014  5:36pm

Commuter, trust me I am more informed than you.

posted by: CtCon | August 28, 2014  5:46pm

StateEmployee-I agree with you. My wife is also a State Employee who cannot find a single sole at work that is happy with Malloy.  as a matter of fact, she can’t find anyone who admits to voting for him the 1st time!

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 28, 2014  6:48pm

Malloy has a lot of nerve to attack Foley’s business record, as he has absolutely no business record as a life-time career politician, but he can’t hide his dismal record as governor.

posted by: shinningstars122 | August 28, 2014  7:15pm

shinningstars122

@ArtVandely >>>> I give Foley credit for being calm cool and collective.  He was substantive and intelligent.

So do the voters of Connecticut have any clearer idea what his plan is for his “New Direction”?

Not really so I guess the peanut gallery is easily impressed?

Come on you need more, alot more from all three of these candidates.

You guys are disappointing me with your complacency for mediocrity and rhetoric as well as Foley’s poor general math skills.

posted by: cttruck | August 28, 2014  8:11pm

The diesel fuel tax was raised three cents per gallon in 2011.  This was before the subsequent pre-programed increase in the rate of the gross receipts tax from 7% to 8% which increased both the gasoline and diesel taxes.

posted by: art vandelay | August 29, 2014  3:53am

art vandelay

I happened to listen to Chris Healy’s response to the debates. As chairman of the Republican Central Committee
it’s his DUTY to listen to the entire debate. He only listened to excerpts. He was complimenting Malloy on his performance and listing development opportunities for Foley.  You have to be kidding. Republicans have to get it through their thick skulls that this election is the equivalent to WAR!  The object is to WIN!.  Did Washington compliment Cornwallis, or Grant Lee?  NO.  They defeated them.  It’s the same with this election. Not in a million years would Nancy DiNardo ever compliment a Republican.  It’s not her job.  This is why the Republicans in this state have no clue how to win elections where the majority of power is concerned.  They stay in their little corner an accept whatever crumbs the opposition decides to feed them.  Time for new leadership with individuals who know how to win elections.  I truly have to compliment Democrats on their tactics.  They KNOW how to win in this state and have been successful for decades.

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 29, 2014  6:33am

State employees will not support Malloy like last time. Too risky for one.

If they do and things are still bad or worse in 4 years they will be decimated in the contract process because the people of this state will demand it and not tolerate anything less.

If they support Foley and things are the same or worse in 4 years they can stand up and say “dont take it out on us, we voted for change which was risky for us but was the right thing to do for the whole state.”

posted by: art vandelay | August 29, 2014  7:36am

art vandelay

I didn’t hear Malloy boast about his accomplishments during his first four years in office.  I did hear they would take eight years to become effective, and that he would need another four to see them through. Really now. What the state needs is another governor who in four years will reverse all the damage he’s done.

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 29, 2014  6:34pm

@Art Vandelay: Glad you are back on track. We need Tom Foley to derail Malloy so he can do some drastic damage control.

posted by: R.L. | August 30, 2014  8:30am

When you have the choice between two evil guys, and one of the evil guys has already screwed you over, you vote for the other evil guy. Welcome to politics in the United Stated of Amerika.

posted by: SocialButterfly | August 30, 2014  8:43am

@R.L: Politics create strange bedfellows, and as long as the bed-bugs don’t bite.

posted by: art vandelay | August 30, 2014  8:48am

art vandelay

@QuestionMark,
I never got off the train.  I’m just trying to illustrate how dysfunctional the Republican Party is in this state.  Years ago I joined the Young Republicans. I was a delegate in my town and attended a state Young Republican meeting in Hartford.  I walked away with the feeling I was in a room full of Democrats.  They were young lawyers & professionals who I now believe are running the party into the ground.  Not ONE, and I repeat not ONE was a true conservative.  The meeting was all about how we could get a crumb here or there from the Democrat majority.  Very little or NOTHING has changed in all these years.  The only hope of a coupe was with Tom Scott in the early 90’s and the Tea Party.  Both unfortunately were CRUSHED by the Republican establishment.  What a shame.  Now we are about to loose another chance this year.  I was hoping Jonathan Pelto would get on the ticket, but the Democrat Central Committee did an excellent job of torpedoing his efforts.  Watch what they do next.  They have plenty of excellent tricks up their sleeves.  An Obama visit will certainly NOT be one of them.  Expect to see a number of Bill Clinton rallys etc. etc.  If the Republicans loose this election they have nobody but themselves to blame especially after Chris Healy’s after the first debate.

posted by: shinningstars122 | August 30, 2014  12:40pm

shinningstars122

@QuestionMark I would highly doubt Foley will be able to “do some drastic damage control.” to help the middle class.

More like dramatic drainage control, i.e. livable wages, as he continues the plutocrat’s war on the working class of our state and our country.

You folks are being hoodwinked by the these folks endless narrative of lack.

I suggest you remember that Monday is Labor Day and not Plutocrats Day.

Check out the great piece about Labor Day 2034 on the front page of this site too.