GOP Gubernatorial Hopeful in Conn. Would Keep Common Core for Bad Schools

McKinney also played up his role as the representative for Newtown – the site of the 2013 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School – saying that he had no interest in changing or repealing the firearm reforms that were signed into law following the catastrophe.

“I don’t think anybody as the state senator of Newtown would have done anything differently,” he said. “… [Foley] sat on the sidelines and criticized and has yet to offer one specific plan as to what he would do.”

Foley called the Newtown tragedy a symptom of the larger mental health and gun violence problems in the state. He briefly discussed his personal experience with mental health issues, acknowledging a sister that has been under his care for 40 years. Foley said the firearms bill championed by McKinney had done nothing to address an underlying issue of mass gun violence – mental health.

“The resources simply aren’t there for families that have mental health challenges… most of these tragedies with multiple murders are the result of mental health issues,” Foley said. “The state of Connecticut and other states simply don’t offer enough for families … to provide what the families need.”

Foley said that there was parity in terms of insurance coverage for those with mental health issues and that, as governor, he would support measures that would include coverage for early identification tests and try to fight the stigma that prevents the larger conversation about mental health.

The candidates each accused Malloy of having too many friends in the insurance industry to be able to make any real changes to the industry, citing his vetoing of a bill that would have required insurance companies to release data related to mental health care treatment.

A June 19 Quinnipiac poll prior to the debate showed Foley leading McKinney 36 percent to 11 percent as the favorite for the Republican nod. In that poll Foley was also ahead of Malloy in the hypothetical governor’s race, 43 percent to 40 percent.

(For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)