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Lieutenant governor candidates echo running mates in first debate

September 28, 2018

ROCKY HILL — A day after unaffiliated candidate Oz Griebel injected himself into the conversation about the governor’s race, his running mate Monte Frank did the same.

Frank, who is Griebel’s choice for lieutenant governor, took the stage between former Democratic secretary of state Susan Bysiewicz and Republican Joe Markley, a state Senator, during the first lieutenant governor’s debate at the WFSB Studios Thursday.

Bysiewicz and Markley echoed their running mates attacking each other at every opportunity and disagreeing on everything from parental notification for abortions to immigration and the economy.

Frank, meanwhile, highlighted his experience as a lawyer and president of the Connecticut Bar Association as well as the work he’s done to help with legislation.

“A major difference between our ticket and our opponents ... my opponents here today have experience in the legislature but is that what people want? Are they part of the problem or part of the solution?” Frank said.

Bysiewicz repeatedly pointed to Markley’s conservative votes in the legislature, particularly his stance on parental notification. She continually referenced the landmark Roe v. Wade case that protects a woman’s right to choose.

“We also want the voters of Connecticut to know that we stand strongly and firmly in support of a woman’s right to reproductive health care,” Bysiewicz said in response to a question that was not about Roe vs. Wade or health care. “We will stand up for our Roe vs. Wade law in Connecticut and Mr. Markley has tried to decimate it every opportunity that he has had.”

Markley, like his running mate Bob Stefanowski, argued the upcoming election is not about social issues, but the economy.

“I think Susan Bysiewicz is trying to bring up a decisive issue that really doesn’t have anything to do with what the core of this campaign is about, which is about taxes, spending and the destruction Dan Malloy has caused,” Markley said. “On those issues Bob Stefanowski and I are in lockstep.”

But, Markley said, if elected he would not feel pressured to side with Stefanowski on every issue. The state’s lieutenant governor is tasked with casting a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, if necessary.

“I believe I have to cast a vote just as I do as a senator, based on what I believe is in the best interest of the state of Connecticut and that would always be my priority,” Markley said.

Bysiewicz said she and Ned Lamont “agree on virtually everything.” Frank said he too agrees with Griebel on all points in their campaign.

“Oz and I have been running together as a true partnership,” Frank said. “We came together by choice.”

Frank took at jab at the Republican ticket’s core platform issue: eliminating the state income tax.

“The notion that you’re going to eliminate the income tax is ludicrous,” Frank said. “Oz and I have put forward a detailed plan and we’re the only ticket that has put out a plan that can deal with these significant issues.”

Markley strayed from Stefanowski when asked if Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed in light of three allegations of sexual assault against him. Stefanowski took a pass on the question at a debate hosted by WFSB Wednesday, while Markley said he thinks the allegations should be investigated.

“But as a jurist I like him,” Markley said.

The lieutenant governor candidates, though on separate tickets in the primary, are not elected separate from the governor in the general election.

kkrasselt@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2563; @kaitlynkrasselt

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