[Editor's note: The following information was provided in a press release.]
State Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield, announced Tuesday his candidacy to be the next governor of Connecticut.“There is a better way to manage state government -- one that doesn’t waste, or abuse taxpayer dollars; one that will restore economic prosperity and help reduce unemployment; and one that will protect our quality of life and ensure that our children have even better opportunities to succeed than the generation before them,” McKinney said.
“I love my state and I’ve always been proud to call Connecticut my home,” McKinney continued. “I’m running for governor because I care about Connecticut’s history and its future. I want my children and the next generation to be just as proud to call Connecticut their home.”
McKinney, an eight-term state senator from Fairfield and son of former 4th District Congressman Stewart B. McKinney, has been Connecticut’s Senate Minority Leader since 2007, and the highest-ranking Republican in state politics since Governor M. Jodi Rell left office in 2011. In May, McKinney was awarded the Connecticut Republican Party’s highest honor -- the Prescott Bush Sr. Award.
“I’m excited about this campaign and grateful for all the friends, family and supporters who have encouraged me to take this step,” McKinney, who has filed the necessary paperwork to open the McKinney for Governor candidate committee and begin collecting contributions to qualify for the Citizens Election Fund, said. “Over the coming weeks, we’ll work to build support and a statewide organization to help put Connecticut back on the right track."
An Economy Headed in the Wrong Direction
In 2011, Gov. Malloy proposed and passed the largest tax increase in Connecticut’s history. McKinney has been the legislature’s most vocal critic of the current administration’s failed economic policies ever since.
“By almost every measure, Gov. Malloy has taken Connecticut’s economy in the wrong direction,” McKinney said.
“After three years of picking winners and losers and giving away hundreds-of-millions of taxpayer dollars to big corporations already based in Connecticut, the results of Gov. Malloy’s economic policies speak for themselves: Connecticut is losing. We are the only state in the nation with a shrinking economy, and our unemployment rate, at 8.1 percent, remains above the national average.”
McKinney believes Gov. Malloy’s economic policies are failing in part because they disproportionately benefit large, multi-national corporations, over small businessmen and women who create most of Connecticut’s new jobs.
“As one example, Gov. Malloy gave away $115 million in taxpayer money to a successful hedge fund run by a man worth $12.5 billion, just so he could move his headquarters from one Connecticut town to another. Imagine, instead, what a struggling small business, or 50 struggling small businesses could have done with $115 million.
“Better yet, imagine a Connecticut where our taxes, regulatory environment, energy expenses, and health care costs are more competitive with the states that are taking away our businesses, our jobs and our students,” McKinney said.
McKinney is also critical of the record levels of government spending, taxation and borrowing prescribed by Governor Malloy.
“Gov. Malloy has refused all efforts to reign in the size and cost of state government, as evidenced by the record tax increase he imposed in his first two years, and the nearly 10% spending increase he proposed for the next two years.
“Furthermore, he has failed to adequately address the structural problems leading to Connecticut’s growing long-term liabilities, including state pension and health care benefits, which, according to a recent report, are the highest per capita in the country,” he said.
“Connecticut also has the highest per capita debt in the nation, and yet Gov. Malloy continues to borrow to pay for ongoing operating expenses and unnecessary government trophies like the $600 million Hartford-to-New Britain Busway. This fiscal mismanagement is the chief reason why the ratings agencies have downgraded Connecticut bonds.
“By failing to address the structural problems with state government and continuing to spend and borrow beyond taxpayers’ means, Gov. Malloy has threatened our economic security and the economic security of future generations,” McKinney said.
“In the end, Gov. Malloy’s vision of shared sacrifice never materialized. Instead, hardworking taxpayers were burdened with the largest tax hike in state history, promised savings from state employee unions were never achieved, government spending increased, the state’s bond ratings were downgraded, our economy shrunk, and unemployment grew.”
A Record of Independent Leadership, Community Service and Legislative Accomplishments
“I’m proud of my record of fiscal responsibility and independent leadership, and for standing up for government transparency,” McKinney said. “These principles have guided me as a state senator for the past 15 years and will continue to guide me throughout my campaign for governor.”
McKinney, who currently represents Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston, and Westport in the state Senate, is a fiscal hawk who has co-authored and voted for several “No-Tax Increase” balanced budget proposals. He has been the legislature’s chief proponent of creating an Office of Inspector General to combat waste, fraud and abuse throughout state government. And he has further fought to strengthen government transparency and accountability by opposing Governor Malloy’s consolidation of state watchdog agencies and proposing standing legislative committees on ethics to investigate allegations of misconduct made against members of the General Assembly.
McKinney played an instrumental role in passing bipartisan jobs legislation in 2012 which helped streamline the state permitting process and provided incentives to expanding small businesses and businesses that hire veterans off the unemployment rolls. His accomplishments also include working with Governor Rell and legislative leaders from both parties to provide tax credits to small businesses that create new jobs, and create Jessica’s Law for Connecticut, establishing tougher jail sentences for child sex offenders and predators who use the Internet to harm children.
As a member of the Environment Committee, McKinney has been at the forefront of state efforts to promote energy conservation, improve air quality, and preserve and protect open space. He has been recognized as an Environmental Hero by the League of Conservation Voters for his ongoing commitment to preserving Connecticut's open spaces and farmland, and cleaning up Long Island Sound.
As a former member of the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee, McKinney has led efforts to address the long-term challenges of increasing traffic congestion and rising gasoline prices. He helped pass major transportation initiatives that led to the replacement of all 342 Metro North rail cars and paved the way for reducing the number of cars and trucks on Connecticut roads. He has campaigned against Connecticut’s high state gas taxes, and helped to cap the gross receipts tax in 2012. McKinney has also been a vocal opponent of Governor Malloy’s broken campaign promise and practice of raiding the state’s Special Transportation Fund (established to maintain roads and bridges) to pay for government’s ongoing operating expenses.
McKinney is committed to ensuring every Connecticut student receives a quality education and has fought to ensure that our children’s education decisions are made at the local level, rather than mandated by politicians in Hartford as part of a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy.
In the tradition of his father, McKinney is working to end homelessness and increase access to affordable housing. In 2009, he introduced the state’s first comprehensive plan to end homelessness through supportive housing and testified before Congress in support of reauthorizing the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act named after his father. He has also been named Legislator of the Year by the Bridgeport Regional Business Council for being a champion of inner-city economic development.
“We have a moral obligation to make sure all our citizens have a safe place to call home,” McKinney said. “It is a national disgrace that millions of Americans, including a growing number of women with children and veterans who have fought to defend our freedoms, find themselves cast aside and homeless in 2013. In addition to doing what is morally right, investing in supportive housing is a proven way to save the state money by helping to lower health care costs, reduce crime and improve student performance.”
McKinney was raised in Fairfield and is the youngest of five children of the late Congressman McKinney and his wife, Lucie. He graduated from Fairfield Prep in 1982, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1986 and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law, with honors, in 1994. Prior to being elected to the General Assembly, he practiced law at Cummings and Lockwood and was a law clerk to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
McKinney is actively involved in several nonprofit organizations. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Center for Women and Families in Bridgeport. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Westport/Weston Family YMCA and on the Advisory Board to Operation Hope, a homeless shelter in Fairfield. He is a past member of the vestry of Trinity Church in Southport. John and his family help provide housing and care for people with AIDS through the Stewart B. McKinney Foundation.
McKinney, 49, lives in Fairfield with his three children, Matthew, Graysen and Kate.