Lamont predicts growth for region — with the right moves
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.
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.