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Dem AG Candidate Defends $217K for New Haven Splash Pad: “It’s Important”

October 18, 2018 By Staff
Dem AG Candidate Defends $217K for New Haven Splash Pad: “It’s Important”

The exchange occurred in a debate hosted by CBS Connecticut on Wednesday.

At a Wednesday debate in the race for attorney general of Connecticut, Republican Sue Hatfield criticized her Democratic opponent, William Tong, for supporting the controversial Bond Commission agenda item of “splash pads” in New Haven.

Last month, the Bond Commission approved $217,000 for the “construction of a playground and splash pad at DeGale Field” in New Haven.

Tong responded to Hatfield’s “splash pad” broadside by defending the importance of splash pads, and Hatfield hit back by pointing out Connecticut needs to prioritize given its debt load.

At the 20:55-mark, CBS Connecticut debate moderator Dennis House asked Hatfield how she’ll deal with issues that come before the Bond Commission, given the attorney general has a vote on the commission.

DENNIS HOUSE: “The amount of state debt is a looming issue in this year’s gubernatorial race, as you know. And as attorney general you will have a seat on the Bond Commission. In light of the recent round of bonding, which was fairly controversial, how do you expect to vote on issues before the Bond Commission?”

Hatfield said she’ll bring a “fiscally conservative voice” to the Bond Commission. She criticized waste approved in the last Bond Commission meeting, including a much-maligned splash pad in New Haven.

At the 22:15-mark, Tong began his answer. Then, Tong launched into a defense on the importance of splash pads (emphasis ours).

WILLIAM TONG: “You know, I talked about this in the previous debate. It’s OK to sit back and criticize splash pads if you’ve never been to New Haven and you don’t know why it’s important to have splash pads in New Haven. It’s important to have splash pads in New Haven, because that’s where kids can go during the summertime so they don’t get into trouble, because there’s no community pool. By the way, it’s also where they get their lunch. And so that’s why we need splash pads in Connecticut. There’s a long list of bonding from that last Bond Commission agenda that helps courthouses, that does physical plant improvements for criminal courthouses in which Ms. Hatfield practices, schools in New London, the harbor, dredging in New London. Critical, critical, critical investments for eastern Connecticut.”

Hatfield hit back in her rebuttal by pointing out it’s more important for the state to improve structurally-deficient bridges that parents are driving their kids across than to construct splash pads.

SUE HATFIELD: “Families traveling over those bridges with their children are strapped in the backseat of cars. That’s a priority of making sure that our bridges are safe for our families here in Connecticut. In an ideal world, every child should have access to a splash pad. But for now, when we are struggling with our debt load, we need to focus on things that matter — such as our public safety and making sure that all of our citizens are safe.”

For more on the splash pad issue, read Reclaim Connecticut’s coverage of the Bond Commission agenda item from last month.

The complete debate is below: