Former state legislator Jonathan Pelto has been criticizing Governor Dannel Malloy for years. Recently he said he'd consider shaking up this year's race for Connecticut governor by running from the left.
"I'm exploring a run for governor," Pelto said Tuesday on WNPR's Where We Live. He thinks his run will help state politics. "My job is to raise issues that need to be raised," he said, such as a regressive tax structure that hurts the middle class, and unfair education reform policies.
Pelto said he's planning to take care of paperwork on Tuesday and begin to set up an exploratory committee for his run for governor. He'll make a decision "in the coming weeks," he said.
Malloy's tax proposals hurt the middle class, according to Pelto. There's "a sense out there that government has really lost touch with the core of the citizens," he said, and concerns about "the corporate education reform industry" backed by Malloy. He said people are looking for "a third option."
Challengers in the governor's race face hurdles to get the resources they might need to run for office, Pelto said. His potential run is partly experimental, to see what happens when he tries to get those resources.
Pelto considers himself a mainstream liberal, but thinks he is perceived as an extremist. He doesn't want to be regarded as a "spoiler" in the race. "People should be able to get onto the ballot," he said. "We may not like the outcome of it, but we need to support the notion of democracy." A Republican governor is a possibility, Pelto concedes, which isn't enough reason for him not to pursue the office. Connecticut needs a stronger legislature, he said.
"I have been a strong critic of Dan Malloy because I believe we should hold ourselves to the same standard to which we hold our opponents," Pelto said. "I'm not going to apologize to anybody for raising these issues."
Some of Pelto's positions mentioned on air:
- Help small businesses by "getting out of the way"
- Use gas tax money for transportation investment, or don't have a gas tax
- Resist tax breaks for large, multinational companies like Bridgewater
- Keep tenure and collective bargaining for public school teachers
- Invest in public education: local control, teacher support, "comprehensive education"
- Support public magnet schools reporting to a local BOE; not charters that don't
- Offer drug treatment for addicted prison inmates
- Decriminalize marijuana and possibly other drugs
- Reform prisons, which are for people who've committed "serious crimes"
- In support of recent Connecticut gun control legislation