HARTFORD, CT â€” In what was likely his last speech to the General Assembly, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy offered a mix of humor and humility.
Not known for his sense of humor, Malloy â€” who earned the nickname â€śporcupineâ€ť early in his gubernatorial tenure â€” opened by telling lawmakers to sit down because he planned to â€śspend the next several hours airing the grievances Iâ€™ve had with you that Iâ€™ve not been able to get in over the last eight years …
â€śLet me say this,â€ť Malloy deadpanned, â€śIâ€™ve had strong working relationships and friendships with a number of people in this hall and on both sides of the aisle. For those of you who donâ€™t fall into that category, I look forward to coming to your districts and campaigning for you.â€ť
Malloy is aware that at least one poll says heâ€™s the most unpopular governor in the nation.
A legislative staffer suggested Malloy might have been more popular if he had been as funny and relatable throughout his two terms as he was early Thursday morning following the end of the 2018 Legislative Session.
Malloy, who has been trying for eight years to eliminate Connecticutâ€™s minimum bottle pricing laws on alcoholic beverages, joked that he plans to spend the next few days going over the bipartisan budget.
â€śI have to be honest with you, I didnâ€™t get a lot of pre-notice of whatâ€™s in the budget so Iâ€™ll spend the next few days reviewing it to see whatâ€™s in there, and the like, but I am trusting that somewhere in that document the minimum bottle bill is in there, right?â€ť Malloy said.
The House chamber erupted in cheers and Rep. Joe Gresko, D-Stratford, stood to applaud.
â€śItâ€™s interesting, the one guy to stand up on that is the guy who passed a stone yesterday,â€ť Malloy said referring to the kidney stone Gresko passed Tuesday while he was at the state Capitol.
The crowd erupted in laughter.
On a more serious note, Malloy encouraged those who would be running for re-election to continue the fiscal discipline.
â€śYou can build on the progress weâ€™ve made these past eight years,â€ť Malloy said. â€śThe lowest average growth rate in the General Fund in many decades.â€ť
He went on to tout the reductions he made in the executive branch and the contribution to the Rainy Day Fund, which was depleted eight years ago when he took office.
â€śAnd beyond the state budget, I am optimistic that the General Assembly will continue to make Connecticut a fairer, healthier, more just place to work and live,â€ť Malloy said.
He touched on the pay equity legislation, the ban on bump stocks, tracking of rape kits, greater dignity to incarcerated women, and pay increases for homecare and group-home workers, as significant victories this legislative session.
â€śWe have accomplished a great deal together in these past eight years,â€ť Malloy said. â€śIâ€™m proud to have fought these battles alongside all of you. And Iâ€™m proud to have served as your 88th Governor.â€ť