Date: Fri 24-Jul-1998
Kennelly Pushes Family Themes As She Wins Democratic Nomination
By Evan Berland
HARTFORD -- Gubernatorial hopeful Barbara Kennelly, vowing to fight for
families, urged state Democrats to spread her message in an effort to light a
spark under her struggling campaign.
"Connecticut cannot keep drifting toward the future. We need new leadership to
plot a course into the next century -- and I will provide that leadership,"
Kennelly told delegates to the party's nominating convention in Hartford July
Both Kennelly, an eight-term congresswoman from Hartford, and running mate
Joseph Courtney, a former state representative from Vernon, were nominated by
voice vote during the supportive, but far-from-exuberant gathering.
Kennelly faces an uphill battle against popular first-term Republican Gov.
John G. Rowland. She lags more than 20 points behind Rowland in recent polls
and has raised a shade more than $2 million, half that of the incumbent
Kennelly, taking the spotlight the day after US Sen. Christopher Dodd was
nominated to seek reelection, used her acceptance speech to make some of her
strongest attacks on Rowland to date.
"We have a governor who knows certain things, but he does not know about the
seriousness of governance. He has the style and the rhetoric but, guess what,
that's it," Kennelly told the 1,472 delegates gathered in The Bushnell
Kennelly's appearance began with a slide show of her life set to tunes "Get
Ready" and "The Way You Do The Things You Do" by the Temptations as supporters
waved the traditional placards bearing the candidate's name.
During her speech, she stuck to familiar issues: slamming the Rowland
administration for backing off on punishing some environmental polluters,
criticizing his one-time call for budget cuts to the University of Connecticut
and poking at the governor's appearance in state-funded ads that show him
boating with his wife.
"There are those who say, `Oh, things aren't so bad -- better not rock the
boat.' But this is not a canoe in a Connecticut tourism ad," Kennelly said.
She reiterated her plans to cut property taxes by 10 percent and offer college
scholarships to above-average high school students. She also continued a theme
of the Democrats' convention, where speakers have sought to diminish the GOP
role in the improving economy.
"On this Democratic road to recovery the Republicans have been hitchhikers. Of
course, that was when they weren't throwing up roadblocks," she said.
Dean Pagani, spokesman for the Rowland campaign, reversed the argument,
contending that "Democrats are working off the agenda that Gov. Rowland set."
"The reason Governor Rowland is doing so well at this point in the campaign is
because the job he's done for the last four years has changed Connecticut.
More people are working, families are making more money, there are more
businesses in this state, government has been much more responsible to what
people want," Pagani said.
Rowland is scheduled to be nominated Saturday, also at The Bushnell, by the