Reporting Fran Schneidau
HARTFORD, CT (AP / WCBS 880) - Dannel Patrick Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford, will become Connecticut’s 88th governor and first Democrat to hold the job in two decades when he is sworn in Wednesday.
WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reports
Malloy and a new General Assembly take charge as the state grapples with some of the biggest fiscal challenges in its history. Connecticut faces a state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 with an estimated shortfall of as much as $3.67 billion, or about 18 percent of the state’s estimated spending.
Malloy was scheduled to take the oath of office Wednesday afternoon inside Hartford’s William A. O’Neill Armory. Nancy Wyman, Connecticut’s longtime comptroller, was to be sworn in as lieutenant governor hours earlier.
The two replace Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Lieutenant Gov. Michael Fedele. Rell, who held the office for six years, is retiring.
Following his inaugural address, Malloy is expected to discuss the state’s financial woes before a joint session of the legislature.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time preparing people for how desperately bad things are in Connecticut. I think that most people are starting to understand that we have the largest per capita deficit in the United States by all accounts,” Malloy said last week.
Mayor of Stamford for 14 years, until December 2009, Malloy narrowly defeated Republican Greenwich businessman and former ambassador Tom Foley by 6,404 votes. He will be the first Democrat to hold the state’s top political job since former Gov. William A. O’Neill, who left office in 1991.
As governor-elect, Malloy has already taken a number of steps to prepare for his new administration, naming various commissioners and cabinet members, including his budget director, chief of staff and commissioner of the Department of Children and Families.
He has also met with federal officials in Washington and attended the National Governors Association conference.
Malloy and his staff have begun work on the new state budget, which is expected to be presented in mid-February. He has not ruled out raising taxes as a way to help partially balance the two-year plan.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)