Malloy on recruiting jobs: ‘I’ve done it’

DANBURY – Standing outside an unemployment office Tuesday, Dan Malloy and his running mate, Nancy Wyman, released a 12-point plan for economic development, calling job creation their highest priority.

“I consider the job of governor and economic development to be one in the same,” said Malloy, the endorsed Democratic candidate for governor.

Today his Democratic challenger, Ned Lamont, will hold press conferences to talk about his ideas for reducing energy and creating jobs.

Lamont will appear in Hartford and Torrington. Malloy and Wyman, whose campaign is about to air its first television commercial, will reprise their presentation at Steel Point in Bridgeport.

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Dan Malloy, Nancy Wyman with Brian Douglas of the state Labor Department. (Mark Pazniokas)

Public and private polling all identify job creation as the top issue in 2010. Malloy, Lamont and three candidates for the Republican nomination are presenting themselves as recruiter in chief.

“You know what the difference is? I’ve done it,” said Malloy, who was mayor of Stamford for 14 years. “I’ve hosted receptions in New York City. I’ve gone into corporations and made the pitch.”

But Malloy was critical Tuesday of the state incentives used to entice some of Stamford’s employers to his city, saying the state never has adequately measured their effectiveness.

Earlier this year, the administration of Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced tax breaks and a $4 million low-interest loan to help underwrite the move of Nestle Waters from Greenwich to Stamford.

The administration’s rationale: Nestle was being courted by officials across the border in Westchester, N.Y. For the assistance, Nestle must retain 475 jobs and create 25 new positions over five years.

“More often than not, the bulk of what Connecticut has done is to level the playing field with Westchester and New York City, but not always,” Malloy said. “When you are talking about internal, in-state moves I have a real problem with it.”

Malloy said Danbury and other cities on the New York border often face intense competition in trying to attract and keep employers.

The joint press conference was the first since Malloy named Wyman, the state comptroller, as his running mate in May. The locale was a convenient crossroads.

Malloy was on the way to Hartford for an interview by a teacher’s union, the Connecticut Education Association, an important potential ally in a Democratic primary. Wyman was headed to a fundraiser in Stamford and then another campaign stop in New Canaan.

Wyman would be in charge of health-care reform and also oversee government reorganization in his administation, Malloy said.

“We have aobut 300,000 people in this state with no health care at all,” said Wyman, who devised health-care pooling policy as comptroller. “Dan and I really believe in making health care accessible and affordable.”

Malloy said that Connecticut has no overall strategy on jobs. It has lost more technology jobs since 1990 than any other state and ranks 46th when it comes to the growth of small businesses.

His “road map” includes engaging local officials on redevelopment projects such as Steel Point in Bridgeport, the Norwich hospital campus in Preston and Norwich, and the Seaside Regional Center in Waterford.

He would use nearly $1 billion in unused research and development tax credits, plus encourage the investment of state and local pension funds, to leverage other investments in research and advanced manufacturing.

Malloy said he would double the state’s $10 millon annual contribution to stem cell research.

Lamont, whose campaign is stressing his experience as the developer of a cable-television company that serves college campuses, dismissed Malloy’s plan.

“It’s now June, and I’m glad to see Dan coming forward with an outline of his ideas for job creation. But it seems like career politicians are always presenting ‘roadmaps’ or calling for study-groups,” Lamont said. “Connecticut needs a governor who thinks outside the Hartford mindset, someone with real-world business experience who knows what our small businesses need to start growing and hiring again.”