Connecticut Governor-to-be Jodi Rell, interviewed in the Times, spends a lot of time talking about ethics rules and bipartisanship and public trust and doesn’t devote much attention to policy issues. But then again, it’s not like anyone in the media seems to be either:
Mrs. Rell, in a series of interviews on Tuesday, said she and Gov. John G. Rowland had a working relationship, not a personal one, and that she should not be held accountable for his conduct. “If I had known, I can assure you I would have spoken up and things would not have gone this far,” said Mrs. Rell, sitting at a small table in her usually quiet Capitol office, which was crowded with reporters, cameras and added security staff on Tuesday. “At least I hope they would not have.” Mrs. Rell said her staff members were so strict about their ethical standards that they did not exchange birthday or Christmas gifts, and she noted that the two times she or her family has come under scrutiny – once when her husband accepted free state military-surplus items, once when her son was found with a motorized water scooter that turned out to be stolen – investigators found “no wrongdoing.” “It is ‘case closed,’ ” she said.
…Mrs. Rell answered questions about topics ranging from her past accomplishments to her relationship with the governor to her plans for how state government can restore its image from the taint left by Mr. Rowland and members of his administration who have faced criminal investigations. “The first order of business right now is to restore faith, honor and confidence in state government,” she said. She offered no specific solutions beyond saying she would focus on streamlining state agencies, building bipartisan alliances and strengthening ethics and campaign finance laws…”It’s too early for a legislative agenda,” she said. “Let’s get through this first couple of weeks.”
…On the day that Mrs. Rell, a Republican, becomes governor, Kevin B. Sullivan, a Democrat who is the Senate president pro tempore, will replace her as lieutenant governor. The party divide between the two offices will be the first time in nearly 60 years that the major parties have shared the two highest executive offices. “Kevin and I actually have a good working relationship,” she said. “We need to come out working together.” But Mrs. Rell made clear that she does not expect to share power. She noted that Mr. Sullivan acknowledged in a radio interview on Tuesday that the state can have just one governor. “He’s absolutely correct,” she said, “and I appreciate that.”
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