Still, even Republicans concede that Malloy has shown who is in charge.
"No matter how you feel about his programs and policies, you have to marvel at the way he has completely taken control of the political agenda," said Republican strategist Chris Healy, the former state party chairman. "He has basically had everything pretty much his way. He has done what chief executives -- successful ones -- do, and that is steamroll. In terms of controlling the agenda and the debate, he should be given a level of respect for that. ... The reality of the policies on taxation and spending, as we found out with the Moody's downgrade, is it's going to require working with Republicans and Democrats on spending cuts."
ON THE ROAD
In a tight time frame recently, Malloy traveled to Davos, Switzerland, for four days at the World Economic Forum, rubbing shoulders with top business and political officials from around the world as he tried to recruit corporations to move to Connecticut or expand here.
From Davos, he held conference calls with Hartford reporters before returning to Connecticut on Sunday. The next morning, he chaired the State Bond Commission meeting and then late Monday night he headed to Bradley International Airport to welcome Connecticut troops returning from Afghanistan.
On Tuesday morning, he flew to Washington, D.C., for a keynote speech at the National Press Club and an evening fundraiser for a political action committee that supports Democrats.
On Wednesday morning he testified at a congressional hearing on job creation, flew back to Connecticut in the afternoon and held a news conference on his plans for affordable housing at 5 p.m. in Hartford.
On Thursday, he made stops in Danbury and Stamford before holding an afternoon press conference in West Hartford to unveil his plan for early childhood education.
Some question why a governor from a small state should travel to Afghanistan to see the fighting forces, but Malloy said he was honored to visit the troops.
He has also traveled several times to events for the Democratic Governors Association, including a conference at a four-star Beverly Hills hotel less than 24 hours after a rare Sunday afternoon press conference to announce that some state employees had misrepresented their financial status to fraudulently qualify for emergency food stamp benefits following Tropical Storm Irene.
To date, four of those employees have been fired and another four have retired.
Malloy's travels represent a sharp contrast to Rell, a low-key leader who routinely avoided trips, even to the National Governors Association and the Republican political association.
"The man started off wanting to be -- not the anti-Rell, but diametrically different than Jodi Rell," Cafero said. "He wanted to be hands-on, active, quick decisions, constant motion, moving forward. Certainly with his words and actions, he put forth that image."
Lowell Weicker was criticized for his travels as governor, but that came from opponents who said he was spending too much time out of state on vacation -- including at his second home in the Virgin Islands.
They charged that he should have run for governor of St. Croix. Before Weicker, Gov. William A. O'Neill was known as a homebody who enjoyed spending time with his wife, Nikki, in East Hampton at their lakefront home.
Malloy has also visited Washington multiple times, meeting with Cabinet officials and attending President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address soon after taking office in 2011.
Compared to recent governors, Malloy appears at far more state events. In fact, organizers have said publicly at some meetings that they have not seen a governor at that particular event in years. Malloy usually nods, smiles and acknowledges that when he reaches the podium.
Between Christmas and New Year's, when most people were relaxing at year's end, Malloy made a campaign-style swing one day through four towns in eastern Connecticut to make economic development grant announcements.
Malloy wants to attend as many events as possible. At the top of his official Web page, a link says: "Invite Governor Malloy." The drop-down menu asks for the time, place and date of the event as well as Malloy's role. "For example, would you like him to serve as keynote speaker?" the official form asks. "Attend a groundbreaking? Take a tour? Meet with students?"
The governor is so available because he wants "to reconnect state government to the people who pay for it," said Roy Occhiogrosso, Malloy's senior adviser. "Every invitation gets the same review, whether it comes from a fourth-grader asking him to go to a school or an association that wants to give him an award."
Long Hours And Sharp Elbows
MALLOY'S ENERGETIC STYLE AND BUSTLING TRAVEL SCHEDULE EARN PRAISE FROM BACKERS, SCORN FROM CRITICS GOVERNOR'S FIRST YEAR
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