Popularity eluded Malloy, a former New York City prosecutor and mayor of Stamford, Connecticut, early on. His election in 2010 was the closest Connecticut gubernatorial race in 56 years, and he was re-elected in 2014 without ever breaking 50 percent in any poll, according to the Connecticut Mirror.
But Malloy, the first Democrat to win a gubernatorial race in Connecticut in more than 20 years, wasn’t dismayed over his notable unpopularity, telling the Mirror late last year that he was not going to sit around “wondering when I’m going to be loved.”
“I purposely chose to be unpopular,” Malloy told the Mirror in December 2018. “I did every time I took up an issue that someone else had failed to take up. I knew what the response was going to be. And you haven’t talked to a politician who can answer that question in that way. I wasn’t afraid of it. It doesn’t mean I enjoyed it. But I was absolutely not afraid of it. That’s the difference.”
Malloy left Connecticut governor’s mansion on Jan. 9, 2019. He was succeeded by Democrat Ned Lamont.
Malloy infuriated the state’s teachers in February 2012 when he called on legislators to revamp how Connecticut awards tenure, saying “tenure is too easy to get and too hard to take away.”
“We’ve been too timid when the situation calls for boldness,” the Connecticut Mirror quoted Malloy as saying to a joint session of the General Assembly. “Now, I’m a Democrat. I’ve been told that I can’t, or shouldn’t, touch teacher tenure. … I do what I say I’m going to do, and do what I think is right for Connecticut, irrespective of the political consequences. So when I say it’s time we reform teacher tenure, I mean it.”
Malloy’s plan would have provided tenure two-and-a-half years only if teachers earned exemplary grades on two evaluations, based largely on student achievement, or in four years with three proficient evaluations, according to the Mirror. Teachers at the time automatically earned tenure after four years. The proposal drew strong pushback from unions and teachers, the Connecticut Post-Chronicle reports.