In his announcement Thursday morning, Pelto mentioned several issues he intends to run on:
"I am confident that we can utilize this opportunity to focus the electorate’s attention on a number of important issues such as a fair and equitable state tax system, adequate funding and support for our teachers, students, parents and public schools, and an economic development strategy that is focused on supporting small businesses and creating real jobs rather than on giving out millions of dollars in corporate welfare.”
Pelto represented Mansfield in the General Assembly for five terms from 1984 to 1993.
“As a third-party candidate for Governor, I recognize that the campaign system is rigged to make getting elected as difficult as possible," Pelto said, "but I see a clear path forward and I am indeed running to win.”
Pelto's candidacy is "a move that some party insiders fear could throw a close gubernatorial election to a Republican in November," the Hartford Courant reported.
Pelto says that since he started an exploratory committee weeks ago, he's found enough support across the state to give him a good chance at winning the race as a third-party candidate. The candidate says he has 100 volunteers helping, has 2,200 of the necessary 7,500 signatures he'll need to get on the November ballot.
Pelto is running on a ticket with Lt. Gov. candidate Ebony Murphy.
Murphy, a Hartford resident also known as Ebony Murphy-Root, is 31, a teacher at a private school, an inner-city volunteer and a blogger who has called herself an "uppity negress," according to a recent article in the Connecticut Post.
Hearst Newspapers reporter Neil Vigdor, in a blog post, said Pelto is known as "a relentless opponent of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education agenda" and a "political operative who is on the outs with the state Democratic Party machine, for which he once worked."
Back in 1993, the New York Times reviewed his career in state politics, which started early: "Pelto won his spurs as a certified wunderkind of Connecticut politics at age 23 when, as Gary Hart's state campaign manager, he led a kiddie corps of Hart zealots to a victory over Walter F. Mondale in the 1984 presidential primary."
Pelto's 'Key Issues'
Pelto described these as the top issues he intends to campaign on:
- Middle Income Tax Reform: Connecticut’s middle class are already overburdened with taxes and in order to close the projected $1.3 billion budget deficit and maintain vital services, the income tax must be made more progressive by increasing the income tax rate on those making more than $1 million.
- Ending Corporate Welfare: Connecticut must close corporate tax loopholes and end Governor Malloy’s “First Five” corporate welfare program that has given hundreds of millions of public funds to successful companies, essentially picking winners and losers in the private, free enterprise system.
- Supporting Connecticut’s Public Schools: Gov. Malloy’s 2012 education reform legislation proposed eliminating teacher tenure and unilaterally repealing collective bargaining for teachers in “turnaround” schools. Malloy’s decision to hand Connecticut’s public education system over to Charter School advocate, now Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, has ushered in an unprecedented attack on teachers, local school districts and the professionalism of the State Department of Education. Rather than attacking them, it is time that the state provides Connecticut’s public school students, families, teachers and administrators with the resources and training support that they need to ensure that all our children have an opportunity to receive a high quality education. This effort would include reaching a settlement on the CCEJF V. Rell School funding lawsuit rather than try to get it dismissed as the Malloy administration has done as this provides the best vehicle for adopting a fair school funding formula that provides public schools with the resources they need while reducing the burden on the local property tax.
- Rejection of Common Core and Common Core standardized testing scheme: Rather than placing further burdens on school systems, teachers and students brought on by the significant financial and time demands created by the implementation of the Common Core Standards and its Common Core standardized testing scheme, it is a time to devote greater time and energy to actual school work and instruction rather than teaching to the test.
- Restoring Support for Connecticut’s Public Colleges and Universities: Despite claims to the contrary, the Malloy Administration has pushed through the deepest budget cuts in state history at Connecticut’s public colleges and universities. At UConn, for example, prior to Malloy taking office, the Connecticut state budget accounted for 33% of the total cost required to operate the University of Connecticut. Three years into his term and after his record budget cuts at UConn, Connecticut State University and at the State’s Community Colleges, the state now only provides 27.9% of the amount necessary to keep UConn operating. As a direct result of Malloy’s budget cuts, the burden on students and their families have INCREASED by 17.3%. It is time for the state to restore its commitment to Connecticut students and families by supporting our public colleges and universities to make a high quality college education more affordable and accessible for everyone.
- Renewed Emphasis on Government Transparency: State government under the Malloy Administration has become increasingly secretive resulting in the loss of public accountability and an increase in the use of no-bid contracts. It is time to return Connecticut’ oversight commissions including the State Ethics Commission, the State Freedom of Information Commission and the State Elections Enforcement Commission to their independent status and provide them with the resources they need.