Straight from the Emerald City, in came Oz this morning.
That's Oz Griebel, a Republican who is running for governor. I wondered how come he didn't introduce himself as "the great and powerful wizard of Connecticut" and he just laughed. Then he told me I could feel free to call him that in my story.
In my story for The Bristol Press (http://www.bristolpress.com/) I didn't call him that, but on Extra B.S., I can. Who knows if he is really a wizard, but Connecticut sure needs one with the fix we're in.
He did one of those chamber coffee chats this morning (thanks to the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce for organizing all these) and as usual, it was interesting to meet and listen to someone who wants to have a go at turning the state around from financial disaster into economic prosperity.
He talked a lot about thinking outside the box. My impression is that if he's governor, just about everything might be up for grabs, with nothing assumed. He questioned whether we need two state university systems, whether we really need all the hospitals we have operating independently, whether towns and the state could considate and regionalize to save money and make things work better. He seemed open to ideas and full of energy.
He supports the New Britain to Hartford busway project, which didn't go over well. He said he'd be open to discussing it, but definitely did not waver in his support. That set him apart from several of the Democrats who have been in town, each saying to various degrees that they don't like the idea.
I had to ask how he got the name Oz, which is pretty cool, if you think about it, especially for a candidate. It's certainly memorable. He said he got it when he was a kid because his middle name was Nelson. It came from the old TV show, "Ozzie and Harriet."
I found things to like both personally and philosophically about every one of the candidates who have visited Bristol so far. Many of them had similar messages (how many times can you say we need to get our fiscal house in order, anyway?).
The state party conventions are next month. It'll be interesting to see if the Republicans recruit the man behind the curtain.