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Lamont Defends COVID Response At Virtual Town Hall

Chris Ehrmann
Conn. Gov. Ned Lamont speaks to the media about the shipment of personal protective equipment from China donated to the state to aid Connecticut's frontline workers in the battle against COVID-19, last week in New Britain, Conn.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont stood by his handling of the state’s response to COVID-19 during a statewide virtual town hall Monday night. The Democratic governor was taken to task by the Republican minority leader in the state House.  

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides used the town hall on Nexstar Broadcasting’s WTNH to call out Lamont for making decisions, like delaying the opening of beauty salons and barber shops, without consulting lawmakers.

“Two days before salons were to open, that was pulled back.”

Klarides said she was also concerned that the governor hired a management firm as an outside consultant on COVID-19 for $2 million.

“I’ve come to the conclusion at this point that we need to go into special session,” Lamont responded. “They are welcome to go back to legislative sessions, special session, that’s their prerogative.”

He said he’s been open in his handling of the crisis, citing weekly meetings between his Reopen Connecticut Advisory Committee and legislative leaders and making committee members available to the media.

“We are doing everything we can to impress upon people this is what we are doing, why we are doing it this way. And if we stick together we are going to get through this safely and our state will be stronger.”

State lawmakers are expected to return to Hartford for a special session to deal with the budget before the end of June. 

Members of the state’s congressional delegation also participated in the town hall. They were all in support of the $3 trillion HEROES Act COVID-19 relief package that passed the U.S. House last week and is now stalled in the U.S. Senate. 

Read the latest on WSHU’s coronavirus coverage here.

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As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
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