OPINION: A blue wave in Connecticut

OPINION: A blue wave in Connecticut

Meriden voters have spoken, and the message was loud and clear as Democrat candidates swept across the board in the city and throughout the entire state where Democrats not only won key elections, but also retained the governorship and all the statewide congressional seats.

As I had mentioned in a recent column, it was the year of the woman. Most notably, women political newcomers Jahana Hayes and Mary Abrams won election. Hayes decisively beat former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos for the 5th Congressional seat.  Hayes’ inspiring life story and her energetic and positive campaign propelled her to victory over Santos who was undoubtedly hurt by his outspoken allegiance to President Trump and his support for Trump’s unpopular policies. 

Mary Abrams won a hotly contested race for the State 13th Senate District over incumbent Len Suzio by a comfortable margin. Abrams’ message of representing the interests of the district’s voters was more compelling than Suzio’s anti-tax pledge. The large turnout of the Democratic base was also a big factor in this race.

At the state level, Ned Lamont narrowly beat Republican Bob Stefanowski for the governorship.  Lamont’s positive messages and low-key appeal won out over Stefanowski, who aimed most of his campaign against former Governor Dan Malloy. Adding to his loss was his pledge to wipe out the state income tax, with no plans to do so. This wasn’t persuasive to voters. 

Another major factor (that was not on the ballot) was the proverbial elephant in the room: Donald Trump. It’s clear that his impact on the Connecticut election was nothing but negative and only served to energize the Democratic base, especially women and minority voters, to come out in masses. For many of us, this election was a vindication of truth over lies, civility over incivility, and democracy over autocracy. 

The local impact of this election looks promising. Our Meriden state delegation has emerged stronger than ever and their legislative seniority — along with new Senator Mary Abrams — will serve the Meriden community well.  

Governor-Elect Lamont has promised to work with all parties to address the fiscal challenges ahead and his large pluralities in the House and Senate will provide legislative support to get those things done.

Democrats will no longer be stymied by Republicans who were the cause of significant gridlock in the previous term. Of course, Democrats are now totally responsible to produce results.

Elections count and votes matter. In this election, the voters of Meriden and Connecticut have placed their hope and trust in Democrats to lead. They expect government to work for the people and to meet the challenges head on. We will see if they can deliver. (I’m cautiously optimistic.)

On a final note, I thank Governor Dan Malloy for his outstanding support of Meriden. When I was mayor, I had the pleasure to work closely with the governor on our vision: a dry downtown and more workforce housing. He agreed that flood control was the linchpin for future prosperity for our downtown and he stepped up to help with critical funding. 

He also brought together his administration to coordinate the complex and complicated downtown projects that included 24 Colony St., a new Transit Center, Meriden Green, and the Mills Public Housing Demolition. He also supported the necessary bond funds for the Maloney and Platt high schools’ renovations. Taken together, these infrastructure improvements give Meriden a brighter future.  

Governor Malloy has left an indelible, positive legacy for Meriden. Our community will forever be in his debt.

Michael S. Rohde, Meriden

Rohde is a former mayor and city councilor of Meriden.


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