Foley talks infrastructure, spending at Louis’ Lunch

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley visited Louis’ Lunch on Crown Street Monday.

With two weeks to go until Election Day, Foley came to the historic New Haven eatery to talk to reporters about his campaign, which lags Democrat Dan Malloy’s by seven points according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday. There was one problem: Louis’ Lunch is closed on Mondays. Campaign Press Secretary Liz Osborn said that the visit was intended to take place inside the restaurant, but the campaign was unaware Louis’ is closed every Monday.

Instead, Foley, a businessman who served as ambassador to Ireland under former President George Bush ’68, spoke to three reporters on the sidewalk outside the restaurant on Crown Street. As passersby circumvented the press, Foley spoke about his plans to balance the state’s budget while expanding investments in mass transit and alternative energy sources.“We’ve been spending too much and investing too little,” Foley said.

Foley added that he supported New Haven’s proposal to create an “entertainment district” downtown in which the city could tax bars and nightclubs to fund police overtime–a measure that requires state approval. .

“Cities should be able to find revenue where they see fit if they have popular support,” Foley said.

As governor, Foley said he would support the city’s school reform efforts, adding that he believes Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. has shown “courageous” leadership on the issue. Education reform under a Foley administration, he added, would be focused on enhancing competition among public schools and establishing statewide performance standards for schools.

Democratic opponent Malloy, former mayor of Stamford, Conn. from 1995 to 2009, saw his lead over Foley double in the past several weeks. But a Quinnipiac poll released Sept. 28 showed Foley trailing Malloy by only three percentage points, 42 to 45 percent.

About 7 percent of voters in the state remain undecided, according to an October 15 Quinnipiac poll. Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said those voters may prove critical, but that Malloy is “closing in on the magic 50 percent mark.”

Despite the latest poll numbers, Foley said he felt confident about the next two weeks of the campaign. Independents and undecided voters, he said, would likely flock to the candidate from the party that is out of power. Foley’s campaign received a boost last Sunday when the New Haven Register endorsed him in an editorial. The Register praised his “business skills in increasing productivity while keeping an eye on costs.”

Malloy and Foley are in a three-way race with the first selectman of Chester, Conn., Thomas Marsh, who is running as an Independent.

Election Day is Nov. 2.

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