Members of the Connecticut Democratic Party, including gubernatorial candidate and businessman Ned Lamont SOM ’80, joined together in a united front Thursday afternoon for a rally in Wooster Square.
Advocating for a “blue wave” in the November elections — where Lamont will face Madison businessman Bob Stefanowski at the top of the ticket — city and state officials urged the crowd to vote and volunteer for Democratic campaigns. The Democrats expressed unity and bashed Republican candidates for supporting President Donald Trump and criticizing Connecticut instead of building it up.
“A lot of elections are sort of a choice between dark gray and light gray. This is a choice between black and white,” Lamont said at the rally, as he noted that he has held events nearly every day while Stefanowski has stayed under the radar. “This is a lights on, lights off type of election. I haven’t really seen Bob Stefanowski. Anyone see Bob? Bob? I can’t find him.”
Stefanowski could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday evening.
Along with Lamont and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Susan Bysiewicz ’83, other Democrats in attendance included U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Mayor Toni Harp, Connecticut Attorney General candidate William Tong, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-New Haven and many members of the New Haven Board of Alders.
Bysiewicz, a former Connecticut secretary of state, told the News that the “silence is deafening,” criticizing Stefanowski for not wanting to discuss the issues, such as his stance on the Roe v. Wade statute, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recently leaked sexual assault policies or his plan to spur growth in Connecticut’s economy.
During her speech, Bysiewicz called the Republican team “job killers,” criticizing Stefanowski for being a leader at General Electric and UBS — two companies that she said have taken thousands of jobs outside the Nutmeg state — and criticizing her opponent Joe Markley, R-Southington for being the sole vote in the Connecticut Senate against an equal-pay bill in 2018 and a “yes means yes” direct sexual consent bill in 2015.
Tong focused on voters’ hatred of the White House, asking the crowd to take a “Trump test.” Listing topics including immigration, the environment and gun laws, Tong repeatedly asked audience members whether they would go stand with Trump or Connecticut, to which the crowd yelled “Connecticut!”
“I feel like I have a target on my back right now. My parents are immigrants. They came here with nothing,” Tong told the News. “If you’re an immigrant, if you’re a woman, if you’re a person of color, if you’re a Connecticut taxpayer, the president of the United States has declared war on you and your family.”
State senator Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, said people are “yearning to see a little bit of themselves” on the election platform, noting the diversity on the Democratic ticket.
DeLauro noted the critical status of the election, calling the Republicans “corrupt.”
“We are fighting for the soul of our country,” DeLauro said at the podium.
Attendee Hannah Quirk ’22 said the rally made her want to register to vote in Connecticut rather than casting an absentee ballot in her home state of Massachusetts. She said her vote would be “more meaningful” in Connecticut.
Ananya Kachru ’22 said that, while the rally was “energizing” and there was an “intense sense of unity” among those in attendance, she would have appreciated more specific policy platform ideas, rather than generic statements.
“I asked Lamont a question about his platform for better public education in Connecticut after the rally and received a rather unclear answer that mostly focused on his opponent rather than actual specific details,” Kachru said.
The general election will be held on Nov. 6.
Ashna Gupta | firstname.lastname@example.org