A Quantum Leap



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Hartford beckons like Kubla Khan’s Xanadu, its reflection glittering across the top of an SUV rolling north on I-91 at night. The stately, illuminated onion dome of the Colt building glistens in the cold darkness like a cobalt-blue–neon mosque. From the back of the SUV, a man from Stamford gazes tiredly through opaque glass, munching on cookies for dinner and contemplating an alien landscape he hopes to make his new place of work this fall.

For the moment this man’s destination is Enfield, a Hartford suburb where members of the Democratic Town Committee are gathering to meet him and answer for themselves the question echoed now by other Democrats all across the state: Who is Dan Malloy, and why should we want him as our governor?

Malloy’s eager-beaver campaign staffers call Malloy the man who can reverse a sixteen-year gubernatorial drought for Democrats by courting moderates and business folk in the Republicans’ own backyard. Back in Stamford, where he has been mayor for ten years, allies claim he can grow jobs in the state just as he has there, focusing needful attention, too, on transportation woes that threaten to choke off lower Fairfield County’s success.

Malloy himself says he’s just someone trying to make a difference: “My mother told me a million times, ‘Dannel, you have an obligation to leave the world a better place for your having lived in it.’ I think in some sense, I took that very much to heart.”

Hartford beckons like Kubla Khan’s Xanadu, its reflection glittering across the top of an SUV rolling north on I-91 at night. The stately, illuminated onion dome of the Colt building glistens in the cold darkness like a cobalt-blue–neon mosque. From the back of the SUV, a man from Stamford gazes tiredly through opaque glass, munching on cookies for dinner and contemplating an alien landscape he hopes to make his new place of work this fall.

For the moment this man’s destination is Enfield, a Hartford suburb where members of the Democratic Town Committee are gathering to meet him and answer for themselves the question echoed now by other Democrats all across the state: Who is Dan Malloy, and why should we want him as our governor?

Malloy’s eager-beaver campaign staffers call Malloy the man who can reverse a sixteen-year gubernatorial drought for Democrats by courting moderates and business folk in the Republicans’ own backyard. Back in Stamford, where he has been mayor for ten years, allies claim he can grow jobs in the state just as he has there, focusing needful attention, too, on transportation woes that threaten to choke off lower Fairfield County’s success.

Malloy himself says he’s just someone trying to make a difference: “My mother told me a million times, ‘Dannel, you have an obligation to leave the world a better place for your having lived in it.’ I think in some sense, I took that very much to heart.”

Sitting down at a breakroom table before addressing the Enfield DTC, he powers up his cell phone while detailing a background of public service, beginning as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn from 1980 to 1984. With his crisp bearing, lean face, probing gaze behind rimless spectacles and cagey, steel-trap wit, Malloy could maybe spell Sam Waterston on Law & Order. When he is asked about his main Democratic gubernatorial opponent, New Haven mayor John DeStefano, Malloy mispronounces DeStefano’s name, with a long a instead of a short one. He grins when this is pointed out.

“I noticed and I’m enjoying it,” he chuckles.

Longtime backers throw up adjectives like “Kennedyesque” with hearty abandon when speaking of Malloy. You’d think he was the kind of guy who was always the smartest in the room, the kid with his hand raised, whom the teacher always selected to read aloud. You’d be wrong.

The youngest of eight children, Malloy grew up with a processing disorder that complicated his education and made him a magnet for teasing from fellow students and teachers alike. “I had perceptual difficulties, gross and fine motor control difficulties,” he says. “I couldn’t button a shirt or tie a shoe until I was in the fifth grade. Listen, I was thought to be mentally retarded as late as the fourth grade.”

Malloy credits his parents with helping him overcome his problem by encouraging him to focus on what he was good at. Still, his processing disorder remains with him. He was the first person without sight impairment to take his bar exams orally. The world of written communication, of Blackberries and e-mails, is unknown to him. “I could probably dictate a book to you, but I couldn’t write one,” he says.

So when he takes his place in front of the Enfield Democrats minutes later and tells them after a brief introduction that he much prefers answering questions to giving a long speech, it’s partly a way to engage them and partly born of necessity. “I’m just not a good guy to work from a prepared text,” he admits. If he does end up winning it all in November, he could be the first governor to deliver his inaugural address entirely off the cuff.

Enthusiasm for Malloy runs deep in lower Fairfield County, in and around his Stamford base. Democrats across the state’s panhandle are lining up to support him, months before their party chooses a candidate to face incumbent governor M. Jodi Rell.

“It’s wonderful to have a mayor in Fairfield County taking a run; the issues here have been ignored so long,” says Bob Duff, a Democratic state senator from Norwalk who also represents two-thirds of Darien. “He seems to have the whole package. He speaks well, he’s personable and he’s smart. Many times, with elected officials, it’s one or the other. Dan has all the qualities, and what makes him a successful mayor will make him a successful governor.”

New Canaan selectman Johnny Potts acknowledges some risk to his early Malloy endorsement. “But you’ve got to take risks in politics,” he declares. “The people on the fence now, what do they think they’re going to get? The ones who really support a candidate are those who come out early. Otherwise you’re chicken, and you’re not going to get anything out of that.”

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • Information Fair

    2014.09.16
     @ YMCA

    Our Annual Information Fair - This event showcases non profits , community businesses, schools and  services in the Greenwich...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Isaia Fall Trunk Show

    2014.09.19
     @ Richards

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • SoulCycle GWCH for Make-A-Wish CT

    2014.09.20
     @ SoulCycle

    Make-A-Wish Connecticut is thrilled to be partnering with SoulCycle's Greenwich location for a charity ride on Saturday, September 20th!...

  • Wall Street Tennis Challenge

    2014.09.20
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    The goal of The Wall Street Tennis Challenge is to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts while spreading awareness...

  • Nam Cho Trunk Show

    2014.09.20
     @ Richards

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...


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