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

  • Harvest Fair and Gift Show

    2014.11.01
     @ Second Congregational Church

    Event Will Include Hay Mazes, Games, Crafts, Food, Holiday Shopping The community is invited to a Harvest Fair and Gift Show on Saturday, Nov....

  • New Fitness Class: SalsaTone

    2014.11.01
     @ Latin Moves Dance Studio

    Starting November 1st ~ Every Saturday morning 10 to 11 AM Instructor: Melissa Lopez Start your weekend off right with this exciting cardio...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • 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...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Lynne Scalo Design Opening

    2014.11.05

    Please join Lynne Scalo, Greenwich Magazine and athome Magazine to celebrate the Greenwich showroom opening of Lynne Scalo Design Cocktails...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show

    2014.11.06
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Breast Cancer Alliance to Host Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure 19th Annual Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show: November 6,...

  • Free Screening of Documentary ' Children of the Inquisition'

    2014.11.06
     @ Bush-Holley House

    Join filmmaker Joseph Lovett as he presents his documentary film and multi-platform project of personal exploration and...

  • P.A.L.S. 2nd Annual Soarin' Soiree~ November 7, 2014

    2014.11.07
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    You are invited to join our State Senator, L. Scott Frantz and our First Selectman, Peter J. Tesei, for an awe-inspiring evening to benefit Patient...

  • John Hardy Event

    2014.11.08
     @ Bloomingdale's

    John Hardy One of a kind. One at a time. Each by hand. Bloomingdale's is inviting YOU to meet the head designer Guy Bedarida as he presents...

  • Olivine Gabbro Opening

    2014.11.08

    Olivine Gabbro invites you to join them for their Opening Party! DJ | Cocktails | H'Orderves | Gift Bags Made to Measure Beautifully...

  • Meet Joshua Safran, Author of "Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid"

    2014.11.11
     @ YWCA Greenwich

    Meet the author of this powerful memoir. Joshua Safran is an author, attorney, occasional rabbi, and nationally recognized advocate for...

  • Markham Roberts: Decorating the Way I See It

    2014.11.13
     @ Belle Haven Club

    Join us as Interior Designer Markham Roberts shares coveted design insights, key to creating the perfect home. The program will include...

  • AGAPANTHUS RISING

    2014.11.18
     @ Greenwich Water Club

    Like the Agapanthus flower, which starts as just a seed, we all have something to share with the world.  Sadly, we don't always nurture...

  • The Enchanted Forest

    2014.11.21
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Junior League of Greenwich presents 2014 Enchanted Forest! Holiday Boutiques Gingerbeard Workshops Santa's Breakfast...

  • Junior League of Greenwich The Enchanted Forest

    2014.11.21
     @ Junior League of Greenwich

    The Junior League of Greenwich (JLG) will host its annual holiday fundraiser, The Enchanted Forest on Friday, November 21 through Sunday, November...


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