Fairfield County Businesswoman Launches Independent Bid For Governor

Fairfield County Businesswoman Launches Independent Bid For Governor

A Fairfield County real estate adviser entered the governor’s race Wednesday on an independent ticket, the latest dark horse candidate to vie for the state’s highest office with incumbent Gov. Dannel P. Malloy not seeking re-election.

Marisa Manley, a Westport resident and founder of Commercial Tenant Real Estate Representation, joins two other independent candidates in a race with more than two dozen hopefuls and no clear front-runner.

Manley said she would overhaul Connecticut’s pension system by switching public sector employees to a 401 (k) defined contribution model and offering lump sum buyouts to employees nearing retirement age, dismantle the estate and gift taxes with an eye toward eliminating the income tax and breathe new life into Connecticut’s historical industries of insurance, healthcare and aerospace.

When Manley, a Kansas native, moved to Connecticut in 1985, she embraced her adopted state for its lively cities, beautiful coastline and high quality of life. But the intervening decades, she said, have “completely hollowed out its economy.”

Manley called Wednesday for introducing “right to work” laws, which forbid unionized private sector workplaces from requiring employees to pay union dues, and loosening certification thresholds for health care facilities and service workers like cosmologists, which she said bar too many people from finding work. Manley also said she would create more charter schools, and open more community health centers to ease the patient loads at large hospitals.

Manley criticized the Malloy administration’s handling of infrastructure, saying they’ve spent too much on poorly-done work. Manley said she would not support tolls, calling instead for alternative forms of travel — “water taxis,” express commuter buses and scooter lanes — that could ease congestion and wear on Connecticut’s roads.

Manley, 61, buttressed her claim to the governor’s office with a 29-year real estate career, saying she’s handled billions in transactions and consulting jobs, and an Ivy League pedigree. Manley holds degrees from Cornell and Harvard Law.

Manley wrote her campaign a $50,000 personal check, according to an April 10 campaign finance filing. On Wednesday, she said she’d raised a little less than $10,000 in contributions. Manley expects to name a running mate by the end of May; once she chooses a candidate for lieutenant governor, she can begin collecting the roughly 7,500 signatures needed to appear on the ballot as an independent candidate.

Article originally published by the Hartford Courant by Matthew Ormseth

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