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From the Mic to the Aqua Turf:
Colin McEnroe and Laurence Cohen
artford Courant "To Wit" colum-
nist and NPR personality Colin
McEnroe, perhaps best known
for his long-running WTIC leftwing radio
show, squared off against Hartford
Courant "Irreconcilable Differences"
columnist Laurence Cohen in a spirited
debate moderated by CSCPA Past
President John Turgeon.
Everything was on the table, including
Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed
budget and concessions (which Cohen
deemed "docile" and "theater"), health-
care, and Connecticut's challenge
retaining young people.
McEnroe started off by remarking that
recent political activities have moved
him closer to an independent voter
standpoint which he hoped wouldn't
make for a boring debate with conser-
vative Cohen.
One area in which the two columnists
drastically differed, however, was
healthcare and the role it plays in
retaining young people.
McEnroe predicted that Vermont, which
currently has a plan signed into law by
Governor Peter Shumlin to create the
nation's first state-run single-payer
healthcare system, will see an influx in
young people in the years to come.
"Who would [a single-payer healthcare
system] attract?" he asked. "Young
people and small businesses who are
just buffaloed right now by healthcare."
Cohen thought the exact opposite.
"If I'm young and healthy, why would I
want to move to Vermont and take care
of all the sick people?"
Drawing those young people to
Connecticut may be a difficult task, but
one that both panelists deemed possi-
ble with some strategic planning and
tough questions.
"What is the state we want?" McEnroe
posed. "We want a diverse, functioning
state, a state with better public trans-
portation, we want to keep more young
people ... If this is a `sick' Connecticut,
what's the `well' Connecticut look like?"
The answer, in his mind, comes down
to improving public transportation and
embracing the arts, culture, and
beautiful landscape that Connecticut
has and needs to improve upon to
bolster tourism.
Connecticut needs to "stop pretending
we're something we're not ... Send a
signal we're not as goofy as we seem
to be," Cohen laughed.
In addition to fixing the bipartisan poli-
tics that has played such a large role in
this year's budget process, the privati-
zation advocate believes that "We
need to encourage towns to look at
themselves. It took Portland and
Middletown three and a half years to
merge their dog pound. You'd think
they were negotiating the end of the
Iraq War!"
With some time and tough decisions by
the legislature, the state employees,
and all of Connecticut's taxpayers, the
panel concluded that while Connecticut
is at a crossroads, it is not at the end of
the road.
Moderator John Turgeon asks McEnroe and Cohen how to attract and retain young people in Connecticut.
Colin McEnroe
Laurence Cohen