Shelton’s Mark Lauretti To Appear On ‘Face The State’
by Ethan Fry | Jan 3, 2014 8:27 pm
Posted to: Shelton, Gov. Lauretti?
Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti is running for governor — and even has a Facebook page to prove it.
Launched Dec. 26, “Lauretti for Governor” has attracted 186 “Likes” on the social network by the afternoon of Jan. 2 and a handful of posts of support and questions.
The mayor, who has taken a few tentative jabs at running for higher office in the past, is apparently for real this time.
In fact, he’s even appearing on a Sunday political talk show.
Lauretti is scheduled to appear on “Face the State” at 11 a.m. Sunday (Jan. 5).
And a “Campaign Kick Off” is scheduled for Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Inn at Villa Bianca on Seymour’s Roosevelt Drive.
The mayor’s Facebook debut came two weeks after he filed paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission Dec. 13 announcing his intention to run.
The 12-term Shelton incumbent joins a somewhat crowded field of GOPers who have either announced candidacies or are considering challenges to incumbent Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, who was elected in 2010.
Others include former ambassador Tom Foley, who ran against Malloy in 2010, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, of Fairfield, and Toni Boucher, a state senator from Wilton.
Lauretti said Jan. 2 he is the best candidate to challenge Malloy, based on the fact that he’s been running Shelton efficiently since the early 1990s.
He dismissed McKinney and Boucher because they’re state legislators.
“When you’ve been in Hartford for so many years, you’ve become part of the problem,” Lauretti said.
Of the entire GOP field thus far, he said: “I don’t think any of those candidates have the background that I have. What municipal experience do they have? What have they run?”
What about Boughton, the long-time mayor of Danbury, another Fairfield County city that made it through the national recession in good economic shape?
Will the GOP primary come down to a battle of Mayor Marks?
“I’m not sure,” Lauretti said. “I’m not looking at anybody as my rival. I’m going to make my case based on my track record, which I think is pretty strong.”
Foley has been seen as the early front-runner in the GOP field by virtue of his statewide name recognition.
A Quinnipiac University poll last June found Foley with 36 percent support among registered Republicans, though the poll was taken before Foley was fined by the SEEC in connection with a poll he commissioned and revelations in the Hartford Courant that raised questions about his characterization of a 1981 arrest on Long Island.
Lauretti said Malloy and the Democrats who run the legislature have failed voters. He chided their “incompetence . . .and inability to make the state function the way it’s supposed to so people can (afford to) live here.”
Lauretti’s Facebook page has attracted a handful of notes of support and some questions on the issues.
The first question hit on a hot topic — the state’s new gun control law passed last year.
“Mayor, would you please offer a clear, no BS explanation of your position on Public Act 13-3, which was supported by several other Republican candidates for Governor?,” Lemos posted.
Lauretti told the Valley Indy the law missed the mark.
“I don’t think it’s going to achieve the results it was intended to,” he said. “I really think they missed the boat by not focusing on the video game industry and mental health issues.”
The state’s Democratic party also wants some answers.
In the days after Lauretti announced his intention to run, Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo issued a press release asking whether the GOP candidates supported the Tea Party, whose scorched earth political tactics she blamed for the recent shutdown of the federal government.
Lauretti on Thursday did not embrace or disavow the Tea Party movement.
“There’s aspects of it I like,” he said. “I wouldn’t suggest that they’re all wrong. Sometimes the approach overshadows the intent.”
DiNardo also asked in a press release how Republican candidates felt about the minimum wage increase — from $8.25 to $8.70 per hour — that went into effect in Connecticut Jan. 1.
“I have no comment on that,” Lauretti said about the minimum wage.
Money, Money, Money
The mayor said his most immediate concern is raising enough cash — $250,000, with no more than $100 from any single individual — in order to qualify for the state’s public campaign financing grants.
The mayor said he’ll hold six fundraisers this month alone to solicit donations.
“You’ve got to get yourself in position to be in the primary,” Lauretti said. “If you can’t do that, forget it.”
The state GOP’s nominating convention is planned for May 16-17.
A primary, should one be necessary, would occur Aug. 12, according to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s website.
“We’ll see where it goes,” Lauretti said. “At the end of the day the people will decide.”
Corruption Allegations ‘Nonsense’
Another thorny issue facing Lauretti’s candidacy: the nearly decade-long FBI probe into corruption allegations in the city.
If his candidacy takes off, the Dems are surely going to attack him on a probe that led to the conviction of three city businessmen and a Shelton building inspector.
Federal prosecutors never charged Lauretti with any wrongdoing, but it has been widely reported that the mayor is the so-called “Public Official No. 1” referred to in the prosecutor case files.
Though Lauretti’s Democratic opponent in November’s election harped on the alleged ethical lapses in City Hall, the mayor strolled to re-election by more than 4,500 votes.
Asked Thursday if he thought the FBI probe would hurt his chances, the mayor reacted, as he usually does, by dismissing criticism out of hand.
“Those are the same Lauretti-haters that have been around for 10 years,” he said. “What makes what they say legitimate? I’ve gotten past that nonsense years ago.”
O’Malley On Board
According to the filing, Lauretti’s campaign treasurer is Sheila O’Malley, who was hired last month as Ansonia’s grant writer and previously served in the administration of former Derby Mayor Anthony Staffieri.
The bio posted to Lauretti’s Facebook page lauds him for guiding the city to “an unprecedented period of economic growth” which has gained Shelton “national recognition for its boomtown image.”
At the same time, Lauretti has focused on improving infrastructure and redeveloping the city’s downtown while also preserving open space.
Before entering politics Lauretti owned a restaurant downtown. He is a former teacher and coach, and even played professional basketball in 1979 in Bologna, Italy, according to his bio.
A campaign website will be up in the next week or so, according to the Facebook page.
Congratulations to Mayor Lauretti on his selection of Sheila O’Malley as your campaign treasurer. I kept close tabs with Ms. O’Malley in Derby City Hall—as she was a documented achiever for the city—and I attended many grand openings of the new business she brought into empty Derby store-fronts in a difficult economy, along with the Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. Mayor Lauretti appears to be quickly aligning him self with successful business oriented people in Ms. O’Malley—for a winning run for Governor.