What started out looking like a run-of-the-mill press conference outside a Sprague paper-mill took a shocking turn Tuesday.
Tom Foley, the Republican candidate for governor, came to stump for his campaign outside Fusion Paperboard Products, which is being shut down.
In his speech he blamed the loss of jobs for 140 workers on the failed economic policies of his democratic contender, Governor Dannel Malloy, saying he was anit-buisness. He cited tax increases and higher energy costs as factors.
But the town’s first selectwoman, Democrat Cathy Osten, showed up to dispute those assertions, saying Foley was holding political theater.
“You readily admit that you don’t even know this company or talk to the union president of any of the workers here,” Osten said.
Reluctantly drawn into the debate, Foley maintained that the governor–and perhaps Sprague’s local government–was at fault.
He said, “You have failed in your effort to keep jobs here and Mr. Malloy has failed along with you and you’ve wasted taxpayers money.”
Foley was referring to a $2 million state loan for company upgrades.
A Fusion Paperboard Products manager, Mike D’Auria, sharply fired back, saying the market, not Malloy, is what drove the business down.
D’Auria said, “these guys work their butts off, every single day–work work work. It’s not her fault, his fault, everyone who is being affected by this.”