The announcements came out today within 15 minutes of each other: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, are going out on the road for listening tours. No, they are not car pooling.

Malloy, a Democrat expected to seek re-election next year, is kicking off a series of community forums at 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall in Middletown. McKinney, one of the Republicans weighing a challenge of Malloy, starts his tour Monday night in Enfield.

The governor’s forums are open-ended. “We have a number of critically important issues facing the state, and I am eager for the opportunity to hear from residents about their concerns, so that we can move forward together,” Malloy said in an email.

McKinney’s have a focus: They are all about Malloy and his management of the state’s finances and his call in his first budget for shared sacrifice.

“That vision never materialized,” McKinney said. “Instead, government spending increased, promised savings from state employee unions were never achieved, and hardworking taxpayers were disproportionately burdened with the largest tax hike in our state’s history.”

McKinney evidently was unaware of the governor’s plans as he announced his tour.

“With that track record, it is not surprising that Gov. Malloy hasn’t initiated a public tour to review his latest proposal,” McKinney said. “But, I think it is more important than ever for the legislature and the governor to hear from the people of Connecticut. We need to find a way out of this fiscal crisis together. So, the primary purpose of our tour is to listen and learn.”

McKinney’s eight scheduled stops all are outside his Senate district. He will be at Enfield Town Hall at 7 p.m. Monday, followed by stops in Bristol, Danbury, Greenwich, Manchester, Stratford, Wallingford and Westbrook.

The rest of Malloy’s stops are TBA.

Both men are expected back from their tours some time before November 2014.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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