Connecticut hasn’t had a Democratic governor for 20 years. Now, with an over-$3 billion deficit on the horizon, the state finds itself in a tough spot. The News is endorsing Dan Malloy to help turn the ship around.

Malloy’s 14 years of experience as mayor of Stamford gives him the chops to run our state in a year when both he and his opponent, former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley, have said that the state’s cities are a priority.

Foley has a business background that is certainly impressive. Despite his degrees from Harvard College and Business School, he proved a very successful corporate manager in the private sector, an increasingly popular calling card for candidates in recent election cycles. However, Malloy has more experience where it counts for Connecticut: As Stamford’s mayor, he brought jobs to the city and oversaw its dramatic transformation, accomplishments he can directly apply in Hartford on a larger scale. Foley, on the other hand, does not have the same familiarity with the state as his opponent, having spent recent years abroad in Ireland and Iraq.

Yes, with Dan Malloy, Connecticut might see higher taxes, but Foley’s alternative involves cutting $2 billion from the budget to help close the gap — without specifying from where that $2 billion will come.

Additionally, as students in New Haven, a city that benefits from state grants such as PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes), which are contingent on the governor, it is important that we elect someone who has vowed to restore funding to those grants so that institutions such as Yale can continue to support the cities that surround them.

Finally, both candidates show an honorable commitment to education, an issue on which our state needs to step up. Connecticut has applied for and twice failed to receive federal dollars for Race to the Top. We like Foley’s interest in public school choice, but Malloy’s plan goes further, and once again, his time as mayor will prove invaluable. When it comes to early childhood education, we need the man who established the state’s first universal preschool program. And when it comes to higher education, we need someone who understands the importance jobs dependent on college degrees will have for the state’s future economic success.

But this election is not just about experience. Especially in tough economic times, Malloy’s successes represent the idea that government can solve the everyday problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable to us, and that’s the confidence Connecticut needs.