Gubernatorial candidates face the lightning round in Storrs

MANSFIELD – Connecticut’s six gubernatorial candidates faced their version of the lightning round during this morning’s forum sponsored by the Windham Region Chamber of Commerce.

Given only 30 seconds to answer most questions about economy, transportation, the state budget crisis, energy, tourism, health care and other complex topics, Democrats Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont, Republicans Tom Foley, Michael Fedele and Oz Griebel, and independent Tom Marsh were tested in their ability to deliver the quick sound bite.

What’s behind the state’s budget crisis?”

“Too many layers of management, too many layers of cronies,” said Lamont.

storrs forum

Gubernatorial candidates answer questions at a business forum in Mansfield. (Keith M. Phaneuf)

“Tell the truth,” Malloy offered, referring to a budget system that underestimates state government’s debts and too frequently relies on one-time funds to cover recurring costs. “We need to draw a line in the sand.

How can Connecticut attract more business? Try cleaning up its fiscal mess, according to Foley. “Until that’s resolved, businesses are not going to be comfortable here.”

Griebel ran out of time trying to summarize an energy strategy centered on allowing major utilities to generate power once again. “This is an interesting format,” he said.

Fedele, who quipped that the rapid-fire program “feels like speed dating here,” said the key to expanding health care access is simple: “I think the whole thing is bringing that cost down.”

Is there anything good about state government is spending $1 on statewide tourism promotion this year?

“It means we’re not blowing a bunch of money,” Marsh said, adding Connecticut should invest more in regional promotion efforts.