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Walker Likes Policy, Not Politics

by Christine Stuart | Aug 6, 2014 11:58am
(7) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2014, Hartford

CTNJ file photo

David Walker announcing his campaign in January at the state Capitol

David Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general, has served in government and the private sector for 40 years, but he never ran for elected office until now.

He was told before getting into politics that it was “superficial” and “ethically challenged,” but he didn’t realize how much so before getting into the race for lieutenant governor.

“I’ve never done it before. I may not ever do it again,” Walker joked Monday after a Hartford Rotary Club meeting.

That being said, Walker said he’s really enjoyed the campaign. He said he likes meeting new people and he enjoys talking about the issues.

“I like to answer questions. I enjoy dealing with the media. I enjoy candidate forums and debates,” Walker said. “I love editorial boards because they’re very substantive and I’m a substance rather than form guy.”

Walker has been recruited to run for public office in the past, but had always declined.

“I love this state,” Walker, the father of two and grandfather of three, said.

Walker said he could easily move South to be closer to his family, but he’s decided to stay in Connecticut to try to improve its fiscal standing.

Walker will face state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi and Heather Bond Somers of Groton on Aug. 12.

What is the role of lieutenant governor?

The only constitutional responsibility of the lieutenant governor is to preside over the state Senate when it’s in session.

“Frankly, anyone can discharge those constitutional responsibilities,” Walker said. “It doesn’t even have to be a full-time job.”

But he’s running because he thinks “our ship of state is sinking” and Connecticut needs the strongest team possible to help turn it around and save it.

Walker said he’s spoken with both candidates for governor, Sen. John McKinney, who he has an alliance with, and Tom Foley, and he believes both would give him significant authority far beyond the constitution.

Walker said he has not met with Foley since he entered into an alliance with McKinney in May, but is confident Foley “would use me in very substantive ways.”

Walker pointed out that Foley has a lot of executive experience like he does, but he has no “turnaround experience in the government.” Walker served as U.S. comptroller general from 1998 to 2008.

Prior to throwing his hat into the ring to run for lieutenant governor, Walker headed an organization called the Comeback America Initiative, which attempted to draw attention to the country’s long-term debt.

State Budget

Walker, who agrees with McKinney on most issues except for the Second Amendment, was critical of Foley’s approach to the state budget.

“If you want to balance the budget and restore fiscal sanity you have to cut spending in absolute terms,” Walker said. “To renegotiate the employee benefits contract with state workers in a way that’s fair to employees, retirees, and the people who have to pay the bill, which is the taxpayers. And you have to rightsize government and restructure how it goes about doing business.”

Christine Stuart photo

David Walker is pictured between former Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy and Democratic Attorney General George Jepsen Monday at the Hartford Rotary Club meeting

And if you want to implement meaningful tax relief over time “you have to cut spending,” Walker emphasized.

The straightforward, measured approach is causing Republicans like Mike McGarry of Hartford to give Walker another look.

“I think there’s a swell of support for him,” McGarry said Monday.

McGarry said he had supported Bacchiochi at the Republican convention in May, but may be voting for Walker next week.

“I haven’t been contacted by her campaign even once,” McGarry said.

He said the “sniping” back and forth with Somers is also unappealing.

Somers and Bacchiochi sparred last weekend during a televised debate on WFSB. Walker who sat between the two women did not get involved.

McGarry said he thought that appearance will benefit Walker.

But there have been no public polls on the race.

Walker said internal polls show he’s leading among “informed voters.” It’s unknown though how many of those voters will come out to vote on Aug. 12.

Walker, a co-founder of the “No Labels” movement, moved to Connecticut in 2009 and rejoined the Republican Party this year to run for lieutenant governor. He was previously unaffiliated for 15 years. He was registered as a Democrat from 1969 to 1976 and Republican from 1977 to 1996.

RELATED:

—LISTEN to OnTheHORN’s Interview with David Walker

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(7) Comments

posted by: Bethy | August 6, 2014  2:05pm

Bethy

what a joke!

posted by: Robert Poland | August 6, 2014  4:35pm

Walker was a Democrat from 1969 to 1976, a Republican from 1977 to 1996, and has been registered Independent from 1997, until only about 6 months ago, when he suddenly re-registered as a Republican. He was nominated to be Comptroller General by Bill Clinton.  Walker is a Washington insider. Period. The LAST thing that we need in Hartford is a johnny-come-lately Washington insider to bring their disease to Connecticut. He has no record of having ANY Republican principles. If he has been an “independent all this time, why switch to Republican all of a sudden? Opportunistic leach?  Most probably…

posted by: shinningstars122 | August 6, 2014  9:06pm

shinningstars122

Cab someone ask him if he is enjoying a government pension and health benefits for life?

I am sure we would all love to know…since he has a moving target on all state and municipal employees since we are the TAKERS!

Maybe someone should explain what inversion is to him?

posted by: CitizenCT | August 7, 2014  6:19am

As Comptroller of the US for 10 years, Walker is one of the most knowledgeable on government finances in the country.  Serving this role under both democrat and republican presidents, he is a proven non-partisan, no nonsense, get the job done person.  Watch the debate where he took the high road while the other two candidates engaged in a cat fight or when Bachiocchi accused him of racism.  Take the time to read his 2010 book, “Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility” and you’ll see he has a wealth of ideas that could be applied to the state to restore the long lacking fiscal soundness.  The biggest mistake Walker made is he should have run for governor instead.

posted by: GBear423 | August 7, 2014  6:54am

GBear423

Walker, who I have only followed since he wrote an article after the 2013 State of the State address, said he is running because he wants to promote his fiscal message and what better way to do so than as a candidate.
So, I never was invested in his candidacy but follow his ideas.  he has a solid view/approach of budgeting government accounts.

The timeline of his party hopping is clearly representative of his perception of the times and he simply adjusted to support candidates that he identified with. Others may see an evil conspiracy   /shrug
I won’t be voting for him, but were he running for comptroller I would.

posted by: TCM | August 8, 2014  4:39am

I can only vote for McKinney if he were running for the governorship against Malloy, which is not going to happen. Walker would be a much better candidate then McKinney. But one thing is for sure, Connecticut could not survive four more years of Malloy. Time for a change and new ideas.

posted by: Salmo | August 9, 2014  1:11am

If he likes “policy” all that much maybe he should be selling insurance. This man is a career bureaucrat looking for a place to land.