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Lamont talks economic development in eastern Connecticut

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Governor-elect Ned Lamont

Governor-elect Ned Lamont

NEW LONDON — Fresh off his election victory, Gov.-elect Ned Lamont focused Friday on economic development in eastern Connecticut, saying he wants to ensure workers are trained to fill jobs at Electric Boat Shipyard.

Lamont noted that neighboring Rhode Island has a community college program “designed around how to build a submarine.”

“I love Gina Raimondo, but I want the jobs to stay right here in Connecticut,” said the Democrat, referring to Rhode Island’s governor. Lamont and his running mate, Susan Bysiewicz, both spoke of the importance of continuing to fund workforce development programs at the college and high school levels to help train people to work at the shipyard.

The submarine-builder anticipates adding roughly 1,900 workers at its Groton facility, for a total of more than 13,000 employees by 2034. In Rhode Island, Electric Boat Shipyard anticipates adding at least 1,300 new jobs over the next decade, bringing the total workforce at Quonset Point to 6,000. The state of Connecticut recently approved $50 million to expand workforce development for the manufacturing sector.

Lamont and Bysiewicz met privately in New London on Friday with a bipartisan group of legislators, municipal officials and representatives of area colleges, nonprofit agencies and businesses, including the tribal chairmen of the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, who own and operate Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun.

“I want to go to different parts of the state where we have some positive energy,” said Lamont, following the meeting. He said state government should help, not hinder the “positive momentum” he sees happening in the region. Beside the job growth at the shipyard, Lamont referred to the ongoing improvements to the state pier in New London to help accommodate a burgeoning off-shore wind industry.

State Sen. Heather Somers, of Groton, said she felt that Lamont “embraced” suggestions from her and other Republicans.

“It’s Day One,” she said. “And I hope that this continues.”

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