by Jennifer Swift
Aug 28, 2014
07:54 AMConnecticut Politics
Malloy, Foley Debate Guns, Truthfulness and Disagree on Everything in Connecticut Governor’s Race
Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley, left, speaks to Democratic candidate Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, right, as moderator Ray Hackett of the Norwich Bulletin, center, looks on during a debate Wednesday in Norwich. Jessica Hill, The Associated Press
NORWICH—In their first debate of the campaign, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican businessman Tom Foley tangled Wednesday over who was more truthful, revisited the controversies over Foley’s visit to Sprague and his ownership of the Bibb Company, as well the specifics of the gun bill adopted last year.
The governor and Foley are engaged in a rematch after Malloy, the first Democrat in that office in two decades, beat Foley by 6,404 votes in 2010. The debate was held at Norwich Free Academy.
Foley accused the governor of employing “Malloy math” in his budgeting, while Malloy talked about the workers the former ambassador to Ireland laid off when he managed the Georgia textile mill in the 1990s which went into bankruptcy under his watch.
There were only a few interruptions from the crowd of 400 listeners, with each campaign allowed 100 tickets to make sure their supporters were there.
The debate, moderated by Norwich Bulletin Editorial Page Editor Ray Hackett, was conversational, with each contender given a set amount of time to use as they saw fit — but it didn’t mean that they weren’t pointed in their exchanges.
They disagreed on everything.
Malloy said crime is dropping at a higher average in Connecticut than it is nationally, while Foley said the state has three out of the six cities with the highest crime rates for populations under 200,000. There are studies that take issue with these reports, saying they don’t provide insights into the variables responsible for these crimes.
Malloy apologized for his infamous remark that all teachers have to do to get tenure is “show up for four years.” The governor said it was “bad language” and he shouldn’t have said it.
Foley, who hasn’t made clear which provisions of the state’s new stricter gun law he supports, did agree that he believes in background checks, but thought other portions of the law make law-abiding citizens criminals. He said keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill depends on how severly ill they are.
Malloy said the provisions of the law were a matter of safety and not “inconvenience,” as Foley has said in his criticisms of the legislation.
“Laws are meant to be obeyed,” he said.
Hackett asked whether state troopers would go to the 200 people the state knows have not registered their weapons and charge them.
The governor said they might be in compliance, while Foley said as governor he would make sure they would not be prosecuted.
Foley said he has told Malloy of his concerns with the gun law, but the governor said they never had such a conversation, labeling it another example of Foley not being truthful.