La­mont pre­dicts growth for re­gion — with the right moves

The News-Times - - BUSINESS - By Ken Dixon [email protected]­; Twit­ter: @KenDixonCT

NEW HAVEN — South­west­ern Con­necti­cut is poised to be­come the eco­nomic en­gine of Con­necti­cut over the next 25 years if the state can speed up train travel, add an­other 1,500 feet to the run­way at Tweed New Haven Air­port, and bring next gen­er­a­tion 5G in­ter­net to the young busi­nesses try­ing to sprout here, Gov. Ned La­mont pre­dicted on Mon­day.

Speak­ing dur­ing an hour-long meet-and-greet with about 120 peo­ple dur­ing a morn­ing event in the his­toric Shu­bert The­ater, where a young Mar­lon Brando screamed out for “Stella” in the 1947 world premiere of “A Street­car Named De­sire,” La­mont stressed the need to take ad­van­tage of Con­necti­cut’s lo­ca­tion be­tween New York and Bos­ton.

“I’ve of­ten thought that every­body’s say­ing what should the motto of the state be? You know, ‘Revo­lu­tion­ary?’ Re­ally? Still?” La­mont said dur­ing the break­fast event, spon­sored by both the New Haven and Quin­nip­iac cham­bers of com­merce, pok­ing fun at the state’s “Still Revo­lu­tion­ary” ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign, which state law­mak­ers led by Speaker of the House Joe Ares­i­mow­icz ex­pect to change.

“How about the ‘Ed­u­ca­tion State?’” La­mont of­fered. “We are the ed­u­ca­tion state. We’re have not just amaz­ing K through 12, and we’re do­ing bet­ter in our cities. I have put a lit­tle more money into our city schools. We’re mak­ing the in­vest­ment in K through 12, in vo-tech, in STEM, in lib­eral arts, by the way. We have the great­est univer­si­ties in the world, right here, and the young peo­ple from around the world come to Con­necti­cut.”

He called for busi­ness own­ers to be­come ac­quainted with stu­dents when they are still un­der­grad­u­ates at in­sti­tu­tions such as Quin­nip­iac Uni­ver­sity, South­ern Con­necti­cut State Uni­ver­sity and Yale. “Show them what ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing is,” La­mont said. “Show them what we’re do­ing in the life sciences. Show them how in­no­va­tive this state is. We have the best­trained, most-pro­duc­tive work­force in the world.”

Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion from Quin­nip­iac Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Judy D. Olian, La­mont said he ex­pects to bring busi­ness and uni­ver­sity lead­ers to­gether later in the spring, af­ter grad­u­a­tion, to brain­storm the is­sue. Olian spoke of a ma­jor re­port is­sued last week by uni­ver­sity re­searchers in con­junc­tion with The Ur­ban League that un­der­scored the huge gap in wealth and hous­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in the state.

“It was very sober­ing,” she said. “Ta­lent and en­trepreneur­ship are the key to the fu­ture of this state.”

La­mont ad­mit­ted that his pro­posal for high­way tolls, paid fam­ily-and-med­i­cal leave, as well as a $15-an-hour min­i­mum wage re­main in­com­plete in the Gen­eral As­sem­bly, but he is hope­ful that the leg­is­la­tion will re­sult in com­pro­mises in time for the early June dead­line. He ac­knowl­edged the sen­si­tive ne­go­ti­a­tions with the East Shore and East Haven neigh­bors who live near the air­port and who are wary of a longer run­way.

Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia file photo

Gov. Ned La­mont pre­dicts south­west­ern Con­necti­cut is poised to be­come the eco­nomic en­gine of the state over the next 25 years — if it makes the right moves.

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