By Reginald Johnson
I can’t really point to anything specific about policy or issues in Connecticut that makes me think Ned Lamont is the best person to be the Democratic nominee for governor.
But sometimes in these elections you have to go with a gut feeling and my gut feeling tells me that Lamont is a better choice than Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim in the Tuesday primary. I liked the way Lamont took on powerful incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman 12 years ago in his unsuccessful bid for the US Senate. He spoke forthrightly about the need for a better foreign-policy and ending the Iraq War and respecting the sovereignty of other countries. Though foreign-policy doesn’t have anything directly to do with being governor, Lamont showed a feistiness and an honesty that I really liked. They are qualities that will help him govern the state very well.
And on the issue of integrity, I am still bothered by what Joe Ganim did back in the 1990s in Bridgeport. His corruption hurt the city badly, and it’s a hurt that’s not easily forgotten. I didn’t vote for him in his comeback bid in 2015, but once he won re-election, I figured it was time to give him a chance to redeem himself and make up for what he had done.
To his credit, Ganim has run a clean administration in the 2 ½ years he’s been back. He also brought taxes down for some residents, and I include myself as one of them. So that’s nice. However, I don’t think Joe Ganim has really paid his dues for what he did. I get the distinct impression that within a year or so after he returned to the mayor’s seat, he was plotting his next move, which was to run for governor. Instead of working hard for the people of Bridgeport, putting his nose to the grindstone and really trying to turn the city around --- and that is clearly a difficult, long-term project --- Ganim was focusing on personal gain: ‘How do I move up?’
If this was 2022, and Ganim had been back as Bridgeport’s mayor for six years or so, and built up a good record, I would look at a Ganim candidacy for governor a lot more positively. But not now.
Ganim should stay on as mayor and work to continue to redevelop the city, upgrade the educational system and bring in more affordable housing.
So here’s hoping Ned Lamont wins the Democratic primary and goes on to be the state’s next chief elected official. I think he has good progressive instincts and he will work for the betterment of Bridgeport and the state’s other struggling urban centers, including Hartford and New Haven. And helping the urban areas should be a top priority for any new governor.