After qualifying for the November ballot, Oz Griebel is looking to gain name recognition with voters as he runs to be the next governor.
A Quinnipiac University poll last week found the vast majority of voters had little to no familiarity with Griebel and running mate Monte Frank.
Griebel, who is positioning himself as the independent, moderate option for those frustrated with the two major parties, is hopeful he can tap into the single largest voting bloc in Connecticut — unaffiliated voters.
“There’s a great opportunity here,” he said Wednesday during a visit to the Record-Journal for an episode of the “Morning Record.” “I believe the number of unaffiliated voters reflects the fact that this state is hungry for a third option.”
Griebel and Frank qualified for the ballot Tuesday, clearing the 7,500 petition signature needed to enter the gubernatorial race. They now run against the Republican team of Bob Stefanowski and Joe Markley and Democrats Ned Lamont and Susan Bysiewicz.
Mark Stewart Greenstein and Michelle D. Ambrosio are also looking to enter the race, but had 5,380 signatures as of Tuesday, according to Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill’s office.
Griebel criticized his opponents, saying they are relying on “poll-tested” promises about tax breaks — Stefanowski is pledging to eliminate the income tax in eight years, Lamont wants to raise the property tax credit — but voters should opt for a candidate with “more than just sound bytes.”
“I would sit in front of anybody and say, ‘anybody who tells you exactly what we’re going to do to submit that February budget at this juncture hasn’t really taken the time to look at it,’” he said, referring to a projected $4.5 billion budget deficit over the next two years.
Griebel said the state should look to cut municipal aid, and incentivize towns to engage in more regional cooperation on services. Beyond that, Griebel said any changes must be made with a focus on growing jobs, as the state hasn’t seen net job growth in three decades.
Like the other candidates, Griebel is looking to win his first elected office. He points to his work with community and government-related organizations, though, as indications that he knows how to work in politics.
Griebel was CEO of Bank Boston from 1993 to 1999, but then became head of MetroHartford Alliance in 2001 and spearheaded the group’s efforts to bring investments to Hartford. He also served on then-Gov. John G. Rowland’s Transportation Strategy Board.
“You can’t run government like a business,” he said. “Business principles can apply, but you have to build coalitions, which you don’t necessarily need to do” as a business owner or executive.
Griebel also said he supports the legalization of recreational marijuana and expansions of gambling. He also supports the implementation of tolls, beginning with a pilot program that would test tolling on high-occupancy lanes or for traffic mitigation.
To hear the full interview, listen to the “Morning Record,” the Record-Journal’s daily news podcast, at https://bit.ly/2PTrnLs