Former state Democratic Party political director Jonathan Pelto has now officially entered the race for Governor, and some democrats believe this move will take votes away from the democratic incumbent Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
But, Pelto says Malloy has hurt himself.
Pelto believes Gov. Malloy has taken an inappropriate approach to education by doing away with teacher tenure and, Pelto says, taking away collective bargaining rights for teachers in turn around schools.
“He also wanted to evaluate teachers not on how well they did, but on how well their students do on standardized test scores, that a really driven by poverty and language barriers, special education needs that go unmet,” said Pelto, who was a state representative for ten years.
To counter Pelto`s claims, Malloy Thursday cited a 4.5 percent increase in graduations and 2,000 additional pre-kindergarten spots since he took office.
“I`m very proud that, not only did we fill a funding hole of about $270 million, that was in the expiring budget when I came into office, but I`ve also allocated substantial additional assets to education,” Malloy said.
The governor’s chief competitor, Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley, agrees with Pelto that education, including fixing urban schools, is a priority.
“It`s a shame that there are 120 thousand young people, it`s estimated, K through 12, in schools that are underperforming,” Foley said.
As a 10 year legislator, Pelto helped shape our state`s first income tax in the early 1990s. He says Malloy`s turned the tax regressive, rather than progressive.
“In Connecticut, middle income people pay about 10% of their money in state and local taxes,” said Pelto. “The wealthy pay about 5 or 6%.”
Pelto, who has spent the past 20 years away from politics, while raising a family and building a business, describes himself as a populist. He believes that people are capable of governing themselves.
Pelto needs 7,500 petition signatures by August 6 to put him officially on the gubernatorial ballot. During the first weekend, over 2,000 registered voters signed the petition.