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Malloy Weaves Tale Of His Childhood Struggles At Democratic Convention

Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks Monday evening at the Democratic National Convention.
Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks Monday evening at the Democratic National Convention. Video Credit: Democratic National Convention
Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks Monday evening at the Democratic National Convention. Photo Credit: C-SPAN Screenshot

PHILADELPHIA — It was a personal moment for Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as he took center stage at the Democratic National Convention early Monday evening at the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.

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Malloy, a 61-year-old Stamford native, was speaking as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, but most of his speech, televised to a national audience, was about his own personal struggles.

"I'm here today to tell you a story of hope, a story of why we are stronger together," Malloy began. "It's a story of a young boy with physical and severe learning disabilities. A child for whom reading and writing were almost impossible. A child thought to be, as the term was used in the early 1960s, mentally retarded as late as the fourth grade. A boy who could not tie his shoes or button his shirt until the fifth grade.

"Someone who knew the harsh words of bullies on the playground and discrimination in the classroom," he said.

"But that boy had great teachers and a mother who believed deeply in giving him the opportunities for success. He had a support system that believed we are strong together when we lift up those who fall behind." 

Malloy, a second-term governor, went on to say that the boy "was lifted up" and went on to be successful in college and law school.

"And today, that boy has now grown up and is standing before you as the governor of the state of Connecticut and proud to be addressing the Democratic National Convention," Malloy said. 

"This is my story — a story of why we are stronger together!" 

Malloy went on to tie together his own fight with the reasons why he is a Democrat, and as he said, "Proud to support Hillary Clinton for president of the United States." 

Malloy praised the Hillary Clinton-Tim Kaine ticket for offering hope while blasting the Republican ticket of Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence as bullies.

Trump “has insulted anyone who doesn't agree with him or doesn't look like him: Women, Mexican-Americans, veterans, Muslim-Americans, the LGBT community and people with disabilities. You name 'em, Donald Trump has bullied them,” Malloy said. “I know something about bullies. And I know why we must stand up to them.”

Malloy called out the Trump-Pence ticket, calling it a "contest to see who can discriminate more." 

The Connecticut governor reminded the crowd that Connecticut had welcomed a Syrian refugee family that Pence, his counterpart in Indiana, had turned away from the Hoosier state. Malloy also reminded that Pence turned away federal money for low-income preschoolers and signed a law in 2015 that would "discriminate against people for who they love."

"That law cost the Indiana economy $60 million in lost business," Malloy said of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed businesses to deny services to individuals or groups if it is a burden on strongly held religious beliefs and was widely seen as discriminatory and targeted against LGBT people.

At the time, Malloy called the law, which was later stricken down, "disturbing, disgraceful and downright discriminatory."

Malloy was part of the early lineup of speakers, who endorsed the Clinton-Kaine ticket as a warm-up for the evening's big draws: Bernie Sanders and First Lady Michelle Obama. 

He headed to the microphone just after Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. During all the early speeches, the restless delegates were milling about, with some cheers from the crowd, but with lots of chattering as well.

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