When I woke up this morning, Helaine looked at me and said, “Don’t expect a lot of time for weather tonight at 6:00.” The she said, “the Governor is resigning.”
Here’s the official press release, reformatted for this space with private phone numbers removed:
Monday, June 21, 2004
GOVERNOR ROWLAND TO ADDRESS THE STATE AT 6
Governor John G. Rowland will deliver a live television address to the State at 6 p.m. today.
The Governor will speak live from the Governor’s Residence, 990 Prospect Avenue, Hartford.
WVIT NBC 30 will provide live pool coverage from this location.
Please contact Producer Tim Leber, (office) 860-313-xxxx or (cell)
860-989-xxxx for additional information including satellite coordinates.
The Associated Press will serve as the pool still photographer. Photo editors
may contact Bob Childs, AP, 860-246-xxxx, for additional
I know a significant percentage of the people who read this blog aren’t in Connecticut, so let me summarize. Our Governor (the chief executive officer of this state, Connecticut) John G. Rowland, who has served for three terms, has been accused of being on the take.
Over the years there had been minor hints of trouble – accepting gifts, like tickets or vacations, which he then paid back when found out. He had also bought a small cottage, for a low price, with excellent financing, within a nature preserve area run by a non-profit foundation, in what many people felt was a deal that wouldn’t be available to just anyone.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the revelation that a hot tub at that cottage had been a gift from someone connected with state government. Unfortunately, Governor Rowland had originally said he bought it himself. The governor was caught in a lie.
He changed his story and admitted it was a gift, but by then his life was under intense scrutiny. The closer reporters looked, the more they found that, on the surface, seemed suspect.
The legislature held hearings, and though the evidence was circumstantial, it was damning. It seemed he was parceling out my tax dollars to his friends… and for pennies on the dollar. He took trips, bought clothes, smoked cigars and drank wine, paid for by people with something to gain from the state.
And, as I said, this morning word came out that he’d resign.
I am pleased and saddened.
Pleased because this process would seem to say that the system works. I am saddened because I really have no idea how deep the corruption was… or if there really was corruption (the evidence is circumstantial after all, and he has not been convicted of a crime). And, since he’s been governor for over a decade, and a U.S. Congressman before that, what else is waiting to be discovered.
There is something about our political system which often attracts men (mostly men) who are in it for themselves and what they can get. The job holds great power with minimal salary. It’s a job that requires immense self confidence to even consider a run. After all, you’re saying you can fix the problems of your constituents. And, a candidate must be ready for vicious attacks and immense scrutiny of anything and everything he’s ever said or done. Many of the best people for the job are scared away by that prospect alone.
Over the past few years we have lost two Connecticut mayors to scandal – one fiscal, the other depraved immorality of the worst kind. Now it looks like the governor is gone too.
I have heard it said, no matter how tight the times financially, there’s always money for graft.