Chloe Glass

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin ’01 LAW ’06, who launched an exploratory committee for governor last December, discussed his possible gubernatorial agenda at an event sponsored by the Yale College Democrats on Tuesday afternoon.

Bronin, a 38-year-old Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan and as a senior Treasury official for the Obama administration, has been the mayor of Hartford since 2016. At the event, Bronin spoke in front of a crowd of around 20 people, detailing his views on the gun control debate and the state’s economy. The event, which started as a public speech and Q&A session, ended with an off-the-record roundtable discussion.

Asked why he has launched an exploratory campaign, Bronin said, “This is a critical election for our state and a critical time for our country, and I think all of us have to ask ourselves where we think we can have the biggest impact.”

There is much at stake in national politics, Bronin said at the event, urging the crowd to “keep this state blue.” Calling Connecticut one of the first “vanguard[s] for civil rights and equalities,” Bronin asserted that Democrats need to remain “unapologetic and strong” when pushing back against the Trump administration.

One of the main criticisms Bronin has received has to do with his close relationship with current governor Dannel Malloy, whose approval ratings are under 25 percent, according to a February poll conducted by Morning Consult. Bronin served as a top legal advisor to Malloy, and Connecticut Republican Chairman J.R. Romano called Bronin “Malloy’s candidate” in a recent interview with the Hartford Courant. Asked whether his vision differs from Malloy’s, Bronin mentioned only a few policies, including making tolling a priority.

“I think there are plenty of legitimate ways in which people can disagree with Dan Malloy on policy, but I think Donald Trump is tearing the fabric of this country,” Bronin told the News.

One of the other main themes of the event was how to relieve Connecticut’s financial troubles.

With its current budget constraints, Bronin said, the state will have to “piece it together for the next few years.” But he asserted that one of the most important things he would do as governor is to put the state on a path for growth. Bronin said the three most important areas for the state to focus on are growing strong, vibrant cities, building transportation infrastructure and aligning educational programs with job growth.

Bronin noted that, in 2015, Connecticut had 6,500 open computer science jobs, but only 400 computer science graduates. But he said nothing will change instantaneously.

“We are not going to have easy times any time soon,” Bronin said at the event. “It is going to be tough decisions for awhile.”

Ananya Kumar-Banerjee ’21, communications director for the Yale College Democrats, said the event allowed the Dems to get to know one of the many candidates in the gubernatorial race — a race she said is “particularly important this year,” given the scope of the election.

Ashna Gupta |