Reporting Michael Wallace
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) - Richard Blumenthal has been the junior U.S. Senator from Connecticut for less than a month.
The Democrat just found out that, in 2013, he’ll become the state’s senior Senator. Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman announced on Wednesday that this will be his final term.
Of that, Blumenthal told WCBS 880′s Michael Wallace and Pat Carroll on Thursday, “Joe is a dedicated public servant, has been a public official and a dedicated elected official over more than three decades and, in the next two years, I look forward to working with him as I have in the first two weeks of my service as United States Senator for the people of our state and, hopefully, to create more jobs and help the economy.”
Asked of his first impressions of his new job, Blumenthal said, “Very exciting and humbling to be walking in halls and ornate, majestic rooms where great United States Senators and, some of them world leaders, have initiated tremendously historic actions, whether it is beginning or ending ways or great public works programs… You know the prospect of becoming the senior Senator just a couple of weeks into my first term is a pretty daunting challenge.”
Wallace asked, “Since the shootings in Arizona, there’s been a lot said about toning down the rhetoric in Washington, finding a more civil tone. Again, you’ve only been there a couple of weeks, but have you noticed or have your colleagues that you’ve spoken to noticed any change early on?”
Blumenthal replied, “I have noticed a change, a determination to be more civil, more courteous, but the effort at bipartisanship has been one, for me, that has spanned by two decades as Attorney General of the state of Connecticut. You know, the biggest, and some of the best, actions I’ve taken have involved combinations and coalitions of Republican and Democrat… whether it’s the war against tobacco or the fight for internet safety and security/privacy or some of the anti-trust and consumer actions have involved reaching across the aisle and that’s the kind of leadership that I hope to bring to Washington, with all humility and respect to the folks who are there now, but also, I think, the new class of freshman entering the United States Senate, has heard, loud and clear from the American people, bipartisanship and cooperation is what they want, even before the tragedy in Tucson.”
Carroll asked, “What are some the goals you do hope to accomplish? Specifically, what kinds of issues are you interested in working on first?”
“You know, I’m headed, right now, to Putnam, Connecticut. I’ve been touring the state on a… listening tour and what I’m hearing from small businesses and ordinary middle class folks in Connecticut is they want more jobs, economic growth, wealth creation – and that’s what I think will be my priority,” Blumenthal answered. “So, I think providing the tools and removing the obstacles to job creation. You know, government can’t create jobs. It’s people who create jobs. Business creates jobs. But we can remove the tax loopholes, for example, that reward businesses for sending jobs oversees that cost us $200 billion over time. We can provide more capital and more encouragement for exports and I’ve been very strong and I believe the administration needs to be stronger against export barriers such as the Chinese have erected, which I hope the President will be even tougher than he has been in advocating removal. So, I’m hoping job creation and the kind of economic growth the nation needs will be our priorities.”