CT views Supreme Court decision as business opportunity



There really is no other way to shorten it — Governor Ned Lamont is marketing Connecticut as an abortion sanctuary state.

It is reminiscent of former Texas Governor Rick Perry when he first visited Connecticut to try to lure gun makers in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy nearly a decade ago.

By seizing defining moments in history as business opportunities, governors reaffirm the essence of what their states stand for. Connecticut’s shade of blue deepened when Roe v. Wade was canceled last month. Of course, this also has the potential to drive away some residents and businesses.

Lamont sticks to his dependable attitude, sleeves rolled up, “aw, shucks” in a video pitch to businesses. He begins by reaffirming that his state will not back down in supporting the right to choose, “not as long as I am governor.”

“So maybe now is the time for you to think about taking a look at Connecticut as a place to relocate your business.”

Next, the governor counts the reasons out-of-state businesses might agree to move to Connecticut.

“A place where maybe your employees feel more at home. Maybe you feel more at home. Your customers can better identify with our values.

This is not fancy advertising. There is more dignity in the language of the open letter that Lamont co-wrote with Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz.

“If you are looking to relocate to a state that supports women’s rights and whose actions and laws are steadfast in favor of tolerance and inclusivity, Connecticut is the place for you,” they wrote.

Governor’s spokesman Max Reiss said “if this sparks a conversation in places like Texas, Florida or Missouri, we think it’s a good thing for Connecticut.”

Lamont’s Republican rival Bob Stefanowski dismissed the likelihood that the issue would move the needle for companies considering a move. He and others point to persistent obstacles such as labor costs, taxes and energy expenses.

Others said it was already having an impact. Peter Denious, managing director of Advance CT, said a female business owner in Ohio inquired about Connecticut saying “we’re out of here.”

Fran Pastore, chief executive of the Women’s Business Development Council in Stamford, said women entrepreneurs are expressing interest in getting started in Connecticut.

If there is a business opportunity here, it rests with the next generation of companies and employees.

Millennials and Gen Z have done an admirable job of defining themselves as champions on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Stefanowski may be right that being a pro-choice state may not be enough to attract established businesses.

But it will matter to members of a younger workforce who consider social justice in making minor and major life decisions. Many of them think about it when choosing where to eat, where to shop, where to live and where to work.

To be defined by the principles of tolerance is not a strategy; this is the right course. Connecticut is right to invite others to stand up for what this represents.

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