Malloy, Foley participate in debate hosted by Eyewitness News - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Campaign 2014

Malloy, Foley participate in debate hosted by Eyewitness News

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley debated several topic affecting CT residents on Tuesday night Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley debated several topic affecting CT residents on Tuesday night
WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Governor Dannel Malloy and Tom Foley faced off in an hour-long debate in the race for governor on Tuesday night.

With just over a month to go until Election Day, the candidates squared off at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford at 7 p.m in a debate hosted by Eyewitness News.

WFSB anchor Dennis House acted as the moderator. Malloy and Foley debated in front of a live audience of mostly USJ students, faculty and guests of WFSB. They were asked questions on how to keep people in Connecticut, the state budget, the gaming industry, education, guns, state investments and the legalization of marijuana. 

One of the issues discussed was legalization of marijuana. Both Malloy and Foley admitted to previously smoking marijuana. 

Malloy said he would not legalize marijuana and felt decriminalization was better choice. Foley also does not support legalization of marijuana and added drug abuse is big problem in Connecticut cities. 

Malloy linked the decriminalization of marijuana to helping lower the crime rate in the state, saying that it is the lowest the state has seen in a long time.

Foley said the drug problem he sees in cities is linked to the poor economy, and that he has a plan to stimulate jobs, fix schools and reduce crime, to make the cities and towns of Connecticut better communities.

When asked if either candidate could name a state tax that is too low, neither replied with an example. Also, both were asked if the state should get rid of the mandatory retirement age for state judges. Malloy said he believes judges should be allowed to work longer, and Foley said something needs to be done since Malloy hired a 62-year-old judge.

Both were asked if the custom of the governor having power to hand out three-digit license plates should continue, and Malloy said he has not participated in that while being governor. Foley said he did not have a preference either way.

Foley said he has a plan to keep state spending flat for the first two years of his potential administration and plans to reduce regulations, red tape and invest more in roads and bridges.

However, Malloy called this plan hypocritical, and that Foley, a multi-millionaire, has a lot to say about taxes but doesn't pay any.

"When someone who has a $10 million house, a $5 million boat, a jet engine, and has made at least $60 million in his life, and doesn't have to pay any income tax to the state or the Feds, he's using deductions you could only dream of," Malloy said.

In addition, Malloy stated that he will not repeal the state's gun laws, and said that he supports universal background checks, and said it has also lowered the states crime rate.

"We have a long way to go in our state but we are making progress," Malloy said, adding that he has driven down unemployment and investing in education during his administration.

Foley said he has been traveling the state and sees residents are not happy. He said the economy has not grown enough and that private sector jobs have declined, however Malloy said he has seen the creation of 60,000 private sector jobs during his administration.

"He (Malloy) raised our taxes, your taxes by $1.8 billion, the largest tax increase in state history and yet we are now predicting a deficit of $1.4 billion," Foley said.

Malloy said even though he took over as governor during the largest budget deficit in state history, he has lowered the state's debt.

There is a lot at stake in this election and debates give voters a chance to see the candidates a little more natural than in television advertisements.

In the previous debate, the candidates were feisty at times, taking swipes at one another.

The last debate was held last month, and now the race is even closer. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Tom Foley with a slight lead over Malloy.

Foley came close to beating Malloy in the last election, and has attacked the governor on jobs and spending. Malloy has portrayed Foley as a wealthy business man who cares about making money and not about creating jobs. In a close race, it is important to get a high voter turnout.

At St. Joseph's College, about 120 students were invited to listen to the debate.

"I think our students are very engaged and involved. We have a lot of leadership activities and I think they are tuning in," said President of St. Joseph's College Pamela Reid.

"You definitely have to do your own homework and look into it, and can't take it as face value. If someone says I have a plan to do x, y and z, my question is what's the plan," said student Joy Wallace.

More than a handful of debates are planned within the next month before the election in November.

Besides being broadcast live on channel 3, the debates was streamed live on WFSB.com and on the radio at AM 1220 WQUN.

Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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