Gov. Dannel Malloy officially endorsed Mayor John DeStefano Jr. in his campaign for a record 10th term.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon with DeStefano at the Church Street headquarters of Grey Wall Software, a fledgling software company, Malloy said his endorsement was motivated by the mayor’s “truly extraordinary” economic and educational achievements. Malloy’s endorsement was not only noteworthy for its timing — it follows his neutrality in September’s mayoral primary — but also the history between the two men involved. DeStefano, who defeated Malloy in the 2006 gubernatorial primary, endorsed Ned Lamont SOM ’80 over Malloy in the 2010 gubernatorial election Malloy won.
Heading into the mayoral primary, DeStefano’s challenger, budget watchdog Jeffrey Kerekes, capitalized on Malloy’s neutrality as a sign that the state’s Democratic Party establishment had soured on the mayor. The governor’s silence, Kerekes said in a Aug. 26 newsletter to supporters, was “deafening.”
While the endorsement broke news Wednesday, the governor focused his remarks on continuing efforts to boost the economy in the city and state. The governor discussed the importance of aiding New Haven businesses with state-funded capital, adding that the city should look to reindustrialization and the creation of more academic programs that encourage the pursuit of scientific careers. But thanks in part to DeStefano, Malloy said, New Haven is on the right track despite its challenges.
“New Haven has done a great job of repositioning itself as an innovation center in a wide range of products and offerings,” Malloy said.
In order to encourage innovative local businesses, such as Grey Wall Software, Malloy said that municipal and state governments should look to award grants for small companies.
In fact, Grey Wall CEO Sukh Grewal is currently in the process of negotiating a partnership with Maria Bouffard, director of Yale’s Emergency Management Services, and Martha Highsmith, the deputy secretary of the University. In order to coordinate a more efficient response when emergency situations arise, the Department of Emergency Management Services may potentially employ Grey Wall Software, which will launch on Jan. 1 if the deal goes through, Sukh said.
DeStefano said he was excited by new local businesses like Grey Wall because of what they signify for the future of the country.
“For any economic recovery to occur, it has to happen in places like New Haven,” said DeStefano, sharing an optimistic outlook on the state’s financial future. “I’m looking forward to job growth rebounding in Connecticut.”
In addition to discussing the city’s economic challenges, Malloy praised DeStefano’s handling of its education system.
“John fights for his schools. He gives our children every opportunity to succeed,” Malloy said in a Wednesday press release. “We need more innovative leaders who have a clear vision about fighting for our families’ future.”
DeStefano will face off against Kerekes Nov. 8.