EXCLUSIVE: CT-Gov. Candidate Walker Says “Hope is on the Horizon”January 23, 2018
Walker, the former comptroller general of the U.S., talks to Reclaim Connecticut about the budget, Connecticut's economy, and his commitment to "fight rather than flee."
“Hope is on the horizon.”
That’s Dave Walker’s message to Connecticut voters, as he and 17 other major candidates hurdle into the final year of a long, arduous, and crowded gubernatorial campaign.
“I believe that I’ve got the right kind of background,” Walker said, in an interview with Reclaim Connecticut on Monday. “We will do what it takes to turn the state.”
Walker talked to us about his campaign’s progress, Connecticut’s budget and economic crises, and a word about the recent federal government shutdown.
“FOUR- TO SIX-WAY” GOP PRIMARY
Walker told Reclaim Connecticut the campaign’s “going extremely well.” Walker said his campaign recently reached the all-important threshold for Citizens’ Election Program (CEP) grants, which he said shows the campaign has “broad-based public support.”
“I wanted to be able to demonstrate that I had broad-based support within the state of Connecticut,” Walker said. “[CEP] guarantees you an adequate amount of resources,” and a “level playing field,” he added.
Asked how he’ll stand out in a field of up to 11 credible Republican candidates, Walker laid out his vision for how the convention and primary stages of 2018 will go.
“So far, five people allegedly have qualified for public financing. It’s unclear whether anybody else will. And so far, there are two people that are running that are not going for public financing. But people need to understand it’s not just having enough resources. You also have to get 15 percent of the delegate vote at the convention. So just because you raise enough resources to qualify for public financing … doesn’t mean you get a grant.”
“I believe that we’re gonna have a four- to six-way Republican primary,” Walker said, “and that’s fine with me because it’s very clear that the people of Connecticut don’t want a career politician as their next governor.”
GETTING CT “IN ORDER”
Reclaim Connecticut asked Walker how he would go about accomplishing two dire needs in the state: 1) fixing Connecticut’s perpetual cycles of deficits and its massive debt, and 2) restarting Connecticut’s stagnant economy.
“Well first, putting our finances in order,” Walker began, “[w]e need to right-size government. It’s grown too big, it’s promised too much.”
Walker said he would “undertake a review” of what the government should remain doing, and what could better be left to the not-for-profit or private sectors.
Walker also included:
- “Restructuring pension and retiree health benefits”
- Reducing “the number of players, number of layers” in state government
- Reforming Connecticut’s welfare system, which “discourages work” and “discourages marriage”
- Creating a “more equitable” education funding system
- Investing more in infrastructure
- “Tax reductions and tax reform”
- “Reduc[ing] the number of mandates on municipalities”
- And, not to be outdone, “target[ing] economic development towards the troubled cities”
Asked about the shutdown, Walker, who once worked in federal government, was disappointed.
“I think it’s tragic,” he said. “We shouldn’t use this on a political football.”
“FIGHT RATHER THAN FLEE”
Looking ahead to his gubernatorial campaign, Walker was optimistic.
“My wife and I chose Connecticut eight years ago,” he said. “We love our state.”
“The only way we can retire here,” Walker said, “and many thousands of other people,” is if major changes are made.
“I believe that I’ve got the right kind of background,” Walker concluded. He’s going to “fight rather than flee.”
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