The Yale College Democrats hosted Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy yesterday for their Elections Kick-Off Event — the Dems’ first meeting of the year and Malloy’s first time receiving snaps instead of claps from an audience.
Students filled every seat of the Branford common room and engaged with several levels of local government, as Senator Gary Holder-Winfield and State Representative Robyn Porter prefaced Malloy’s speech with their own thoughts on the role of students in political activism.
The event served to attract new members to the Dems, inform students about local politics and cultivate campus interest in the group’s goal of re-electing Malloy.
“It’s a good introduction to Connecticut politics for freshman and new members,” said Communications Director Lily Sawyer-Kaplan ’17. Dan Malloy will be running against GOP opponent Thomas Foley on Nov. 4 in the Connecticut gubernational election.
“He’s up for re-election this fall and it’s going to be a very tight race,” said Sawyer-Kaplan. “We wanted to have him come to campus and speak to Yalies about why his re-election is so important and about what he has accomplished.”
Holder-Winfield called students to action with a sense of humor, claiming that he played to the young audience well because he is a “crazy liberal”.
“We not only need you to be out canvasing, to be thinking about this — we need you to do something,” Holder-Winfield said.
At the end of Holder-Winfield’s speech, Malloy waited in the back among students until he finished.
Malloy tried to reach Yalies by establishing their commonalities and encouraged them to be vehicles of change.
“I was a young Democrat once,” he said at the beginning of his speech.
The Governor discussed his politics with the crowd, ranging from education policy to his stance on corporate personhood.
Malloy also rallied students around the issue of minimum wage. He noted that during his term, he helped Connecticut become the first state to raise minimum wage to $10.10.
He added that students working minimum wage jobs do so out of necessity. Students responded with enthusiastic snapping.
The Governor fielded questions from nine students that ranged from the electoral college’s impact on his past elections to state funding for autism research.
Freshman students interviewed were enthusiastic about the event and Malloy’s speech.
“I was inspired by it,” Graham Ambrose ’18 said. “It was a great balance of candor and humor — he didn’t take himself too seriously.”
Current Dems member Jackson Beck ’17 said that he thought Malloy was “amazing” and that the Governor’s visit excited him to go out and campaign because the issues at hand affect the whole country.
Malloy has served as governor since 2011.