Gov. Dannel P. Malloy talked the economy, the accomplishments of his team since taking office and what his team's plans are moving forward during a stop at The Hawthorne Inn in Berlin Thursday.
"We came into a tough economy, there is no doubt about that," Malloy told members of the Meriden, Cheshire and Quinnipiac chambers of commerce, who all braved frigid Thursday morning to hear the governor speak.
"The previous administration has some interesting accounting practices but we have moved to GAP, General Accounting Principals and we are closing the deficit gap they left us."
Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith also attended the breakfast meeting and met and talked with virtually everyone in the room before Malloy's arrival.
"Catherine Smith has done a great job with her First Five program which is actually a First 15 Program right now," Malloy said. "In the six years before I took office, the (Department of Economic and Community Development) was in contact with 200 companies around the state. In less than two years with the tool box that we now have we have reached out to 550 companies and its growing every day. Through loans and grants for small businesses we are laying the tracks for the future. Small businesses are the job creators and the survivors."
Malloy also said he wants to keep the innovators and inventors in the state. He also talked about education reform and took four questions from the crowd, three of which centered around healthcare.
"There are a couple superintendents of schools here and I hope you know that we have fought for real educational reform here in this state," he said. "We have 40 percent of students in our biggest cities not gaining their high school diploma and they then can't compete for a job. Educational reform is a tough one but it's a fight worth having.
"I know there is a political divide that we have to conquer. I know some of you are Republicans and think I am the devil incarnate. Then there are Democrats here who think I walk on water. The fact is I'm neither. It's hard work. I'm not complaining, I love this job but it's hard work."
Cindy Russo Senior Vice President of Operations at Midstate Medical Center, Molly Savard, Executive Director of The Bradley Home and Pavilion in Meriden and Pam Fields, Executive Director of the Meriden-Wallingford ARC, all asked questions about healthcare.
Malloy said that he and his staff are willing to work with and listen to all of the hospitals and agencies about how they can help. He said he was proud that he has consolidated numerous state departments to make things run more efficiently and those changes would help all in the healthcare fields.
"We're not going to stop," Malloy added. "A lot of people are saying we're not moving fast enough and I'm not making any excuses but it's going to get better. I require people and offices to work together. I wish the people in Washington would work together and stop kicking the can down the road. We don't do that in Connecticut. I'm going to present a budget on the 6th. It's a plan and we're going to have to make it work. I said I wasn't going to raise taxes and I'm not going to."