In a campaign event Monday, Yale students had the opportunity to get to know gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy and discuss his views on local and national politics.

The talk, which was sponsored by the Yale College Democrats and took place in Linsly-Chittenden Hall, attracted around 30 students. Malloy, who has served as Stamford’s mayor for 14 years, discussed a variety of current issues with Yale students, ranging from his childhood experiences to his ideas for promoting economic growth in Connecticut.

Malloy gave what he said are numbers showing Connecticut lagging behind the rest of the country in several key areas. He said the state is ranked last in job growth and job production, while poverty is at twice the national average. To spur job growth, he suggested implementing what he called wage insurance. If the policy were implemented, he said, the government would make up half the difference in a person’s salary if he or she switched to a lower-paying job for two years, while at the same time providing educational credit dollars to upgrade the person’s skill set.

Malloy also said he would aggressively support small businesses, especially since government figures show that most new businesses will be started by women and people of color. He said the price of state colleges should based on their popularity, and that rewarding students for finishing college on time would allow more students to enroll in state schools by opening more spots.

“If someone graduates in 4 years with a B+ average, maybe I’d give them 1,000 bucks on graduation day,” he said.

Henry Finkelstein ’09, the campaign liaison to the Malloy campaign for the Yale College Democrats, asked him how he was intending to finance the various programs he was suggesting. Malloy responded that the new programs would become possible by cutting waste in government.

“I gotta tell you, we’re wasting money,” he said. “We have tremendous waste in government. I know I’m a Democrat, I know I’m not supposed to say it, but I believe it.

Later, Malloy said Democrats “have to spend people’s dollars very carefully if we want to win elections.”

Malloy said his childhood experiences and his mother’s encouragement to try to make the world a better place influenced his decision to become involved in politics. Ultimately, though, he said he wants to be governor because he loves politics and feels that the state needs him.

“I’m a really good manager, he said. “And Connecticut has to reinvent itself or die.”

The gubernatorial hopeful repeatedly contrasted his achievements during his 4 terms as Stanford mayor with DeStefano’s work in New Haven. For example, he said that during his tenure, crime in Stamford went down by 63 percent, making Stanford one of the 10 safest cities in America, and claimed that, unlike Stanford, New Haven refuses to report crime figures. According to DeStefano’s Web site, crime in New Haven has gone down by 40 percent during his tenure.

Malloy also mentioned New Haven’s recently downgraded bond rating to A- due to the city’s reliance on one-time revenue sources and its high level of debt.

“It’s tough to get your bond rating downgraded in an election year,” he said. “It’s tough to not report your crime statistics in an election year.”

At the time of the downgrade, City Hall officials said the agency’s criticisms were already being addressed by the city’s financial officers.

But Malloy also recognized DeStefano’s achievements in New Haven when prompted by a member of the audience.

“I think John has played a role in some educational reform, in rebuilding the school system,” he said. “I think he’s been a reasonable administrator.”

Malloy dubbed Rell — who as of December had a 77 percent approval rating — “not ready for prime time,” saying her unwillingness to give live interviews or answer impromptu questions from the press put her at a disadvantage in a general election. He also said he thinks Rell’s record leaves her vulnerable.

“We have no housing policy,” he said. “She wants the transportation policy to be made on a year-to-year basis.”

Susanna Ferguson ’09, a student who attended the talk, said she found Malloy’s tone too harsh.

“I don’t know if the negative campaign strategy he’s using is the most effective,” she said.

But Finkelstein said he came away from the talk much more impressed by Malloy’s platform than he was after his initial research on the candidate.

“I went to the Web site and I wasn’t spectacularly impressed,” he said. “But I’m much more impressed now. His policies seemed reasonable and appropriate.”

Yale College Democrats PresidentBrendan Gants ’08 said both Democratic candidates face an uphill battle against Rell, but that it was certainly possible for either Malloy or DeStefano to pull off a victory.

“She’s popular right now, but there’s a lot of time between now and November,” he said.