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Connecticut Governor: The Candidates

John Rowland (R) | Barbara Kennelly (D)

Gov. John Rowland (R), incumbent
Rowland, who hails from a political family in Waterbury, entered politics at age 23 when he won a seat in the state House of Representatives. In 1984 he upset Democratic incumbent Jim Cohen to win Connecticut's 5th District U.S. House seat. Rowland lost his 1990 gubernatorial bid to Republican Lowell Weicker, but won in 1994, becoming the youngest governor in the history of Connecticut and the youngest state chief executive in the country. Though he did not make good on his campaign promise to eliminate the state income tax, Connecticut did enact welfare reform that limited benefits to 21 months and offered work incentives during his tenure. In addition, the state passed a new death penalty law, passed "Megan's Law" requiring sex offenders to register with local police and reformed the state child protection system. Tax cuts likely will be a major campaign theme in 1998.
Campaign Web site

Rep. Barbara Kennelly (D)
Kennelly is a moderate Democrat widely regarded as a formidable fund-raiser with the political skills to mount a formidable challenge to Rowland. Kennelly comes from a political family; her father was a Democratic political boss and her late husband was speaker of the Connecticut House. First elected to Connecticut's 1st District U.S. House seat in 1982, she has a reputation as a party unifier. Party leaders both statewide and nationally support Kennelly's gubernatorial run, and both of Connecticut's U.S. senators, Christopher J. Dodd (D) and Joseph Lieberman (D) have offered their blessings.
Campaign Web site

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