Draft speech of the 89th governor
Ladies and gentleman; angry taxpayers; bloated hedgefunders; stoned, border- busting pot buyers; happy corporate relocators; bitter, losing Republicans; and perplexed, winning Democrats. Hi everybody.
Can’t we just call ourselves Connecticutters?
Thanks for joining me, my wife Annie, and the rest of our family on this big day, when I take the oath of office.
I’m Ned Lamont, and I’d like to take time out from the pageantry, pomp and punditry of this historic Inauguration, to assure you that my upcoming term will
not be like standing in line at the DMV for four long years.
Nor will it be as if we’re in a speeding interstate tractor- trailer, barreling along under those highway- toll gantries at 85 miles per hour.
Yes, the road’s going to be bumpy and yes, someone will have to pay. Cha Ching! But my flair for collaboration, re- invention, selfpreservation and whatever leverage I can gain in the General Assembly, should make the State Capitol a much- easier place to work than under my predecessor, the over- hated, Gov. Dan Malloy ( point hand toward Malloy; Pause for boos).
Say what you want about him, or better yet, let the conservatives at The Yankee Institute blather away, but Dan Malloy’s leaving very big shoes to fill, especially for me, who except for tonight’s formal Inaugural Ball ( Tickets are only $ 200, folks, so let’s shred a rug) always wears penny loafers.
Yes, being from Greenwich, you’d think that I’d have a closet full of formal wear, but in fact, I’m like any down- to- earth small businessman with $ 300 million in the bank.
For starters, I’m going to save Connecticut at least $ 600,000 over this coming four years, by eschewing the paltry $ 150,000- a- year salary. Sure, it’s more than double the state’s average annual income, but really, it’s chicken feed for someone running a $ 20- billion- a- year business. I don’t feel like I should insult you seething taxpayers by taking it.
As you recall, when I released my tax records in the weeks before the election, reporters saw that my average charitable contributions were about half a million bucks a year, so, yes, I’m here to serve and not put myself into a higher tax bracket.
In fact, for you newsmedia types here ( Crowd hisses) my great- grandfather Tom Lamont, was a newspaperman whose sense of public- relations and desire for actual money, led to a job as the top deputy to another small- business owner, John Pierpont Morgan Sr. It was just a fluke that Morgan’s eponymous banking institution literally became the Federal Reserve during the Panic of 1907.
Let me remind you that I have some solid media roots myself, having led the newspaper at my obscure high school, Phillips Exeter
I’d like to take time out from the pageantry, pomp and punditry of this historic Inauguration, to assure you that my upcoming term will not be like standing in line at the DMV for four long years.
Academy, then, after graduating from that college on Harvard Square, was the editor of a little weekly paper in Vermont. That was before I upended the cableTV industry, followed by the whipping I gave Sen. Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Democratic primary.
Sure, Joe won in the general election and returned to the U. S. Senate, but I got value for the $ 20 million I spent on the campaign. And Annie’s eyeballs eventually popped back into her head.
A lot of people thought that a Democrat could not become the next governor, what with the lingering multi- billion- dollar deficits and the $ 100- billion unfunded liability in the longneglected state retirement plans lurking like Burmese pythons in the Everglades, ready to swallow us.
But thanks to the “recent troubles” in Washington, combined with an imploding Connecticut Republican Party, I was able to keep the Democrats’ hands on the levers of government.
So, our challenges are myriad. Our time is short. Our patients are wondering if they are on life- support, if you’d allow me to bust a rhyme.
I’d like to say that my backing from state unions was not for naught. I’d like to say that my neighbors in mid- country Greenwich will be paying more income taxes, because who enjoys the good life in Connecticut more than someone pulling down $ 3 million a year, or as my tax returns indicated,
$ 18 million over five years?
But I’m not going to say that today, am I? Nope. You’re going to have to wait for February’s budget proposal, which will require months of review, revision and regurgitation among the 187 members of the House and Senate as we head toward the June 5 adjournment.
So today, let’s enjoy the inaugural splendor, and the glitter of tonight. Then as Dan Malloy would say “Let’s get to work.”
Democratic candidate for governor Ned Lamont fields questions in June.