Lamont challenges Stefanowski to Sept. 5 debate in West Hartford

Republican Bob Stefanowski and Democrat Ned Lamont.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ned Lamont challenged his Republican rival, Bob Stefanowski, on Friday to participate in a Sept. 5 debate at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford.

“The people of Connecticut deserve straight answers from Bob Stefanowski on how he plans to fire thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers through a dishonest and irresponsible tax plan,” Lamont said, referring to the GOP nominee’s proposal to phase out Connecticut’s income tax over the next eight years.

A spokesman for the Stefanowski campaign could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

“Anyone who stands up here today and says you can’t do it isn’t a true leader,” Stefanowski declared during an Aug. 6 debate among GOP gubernatorial contenders at Fairfield University. “I will rip costs out of the state budget like you have never seen in your life.”

The income tax, which supports 51 percent of the state’s General Fund, could not be eliminated, Lamont has said, even were the state to gut resources for education and municipal aid. “After decades of failures by Democratic and Republican politicians in Hartford, the people of Connecticut deserve someone who will tell them the truth and lead Connecticut to a 21st century economy,” he added.

The debate will be hosted by Fox61, WNPR, the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, and The Connecticut Mirror.