Both sides of the aisle warmly welcomed Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s first speech to the state General Assembly.
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, a Republican from North Haven, was impressed by the tone.
“I don’t think he used the term Democrat or Republican once in his speech, which speaks to his mindset. He doesn’t look at this legislature as Republican or Democrat, he looks at it as we are all in this together.”
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, a Democrat from Berlin, also welcomed the idea that lawmakers should come together to balance the budget.
“I think it was more encompassing than one might think. It’s a burden on us to all be a part of the solution.”
Republican House Minority Leader Themis Klarides of Derby was more cautious, especially about embracing Lamont’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“If you want to look at incremental increases, I think that’s a reasonable thing to look at. But these huge dollar jumps…businesses can’t afford it.”
But that was the part of Lamont’s speech that State Senate President Martin Looney, a New Haven Democrat, liked the most.
“I was pleased to have him make the specific commitment, which he had made in his campaign, to moving the minimum wage to $15 an hour, to paid family and medical leave, because that has the strong commitment of both the Senate and House Democratic caucuses.”
Lamont will outline how he intends to pay for these programs and more in his first budget proposal in February.