Prasad Srinivasan has two words for people who wonder what kind of governor he’d be: Ronald Reagan.
Prasad, a Glastonbury state legislator and pediatrician and allergist, is running hard to win the Republican Party’s nomination for governor in 2018. Asked for his model elected official, he named the late Republican President and Gov. Ronald Reagan.
He also invoked Reagan when asked how he will pitch his candidacy to New Haven — a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 16-1 and last chose a Republican in a contested citywide election in 1951.
Reagan was known as the “Great Communicator.” He was also known for being able to compromise with the opposing party, accepting much rather than all of his demands and declaring victory. He projected optimism.
“My pitch when I go into the cities: In what way am I different than your conventional Republican? I look different. That’s right off the bat,” Srinivasan, who said he immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1975 with $7.50 in his pocket, remarked during an interview on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program.
“But it’s not about that,” he said. “It’s about communication. As a physician, as a person who’s been in private practice, always in conversation, always having the opportunity to relate to patients, I know I have the skill sets to listen. I have the skill sets to be able to communicate.
“For me to come to New Haven, for me to go to Bridgeport and Hartford and New Britain, [I can say]: ‘Hey what is it that is on your mind? Let me listen to that.’ You need to be an effective communicator. You need to be able to be a good negotiator. You need to be able to say, ‘Can I get all that I want? Of course not!’”
Prasad also cited Reagan’s optimism and his penchant for cutting taxes. Connecticut, with its financial problems and drain of young people out of the state, is in “dark” days, Srinivasan repeatedly stated. He spoke of how he made a conscious decision to settle in Connecticut with his family after his medical residency because of the quality of the public schools and the state’s overall quality of life. He promised to borrow from the Reagan playbook to return to those days.
Reagan “had the vision of what American should look like,” he said. “He had it in him. He knew our best days are ahead of us. He talked about living in the shining city. I firmly believe that, yes, we are living in our darkest days in Connecticut. But remember it’s always darkest before dawn. We have a bright future in our state. I have the vision to accomplish that.”
Reagan also famously portrayed government as the problem, not the solution, to our challenges. So did Srinivasan, on his campaign website, in the WNHH interview.
Srinivasan, who is 67, did not support Donald Trump for president; his candidate was Republican John Kasich. He said he supports the “presidency,” supports some of President Trump’s policies, disagrees with others.
In the interview, he agreed with the Trump administration’s opposition to “sanctuary cities” like New Haven that choose not to work alongside federal immigration agents’ deportation efforts: “You’ve got to follow law! Law and order. If you and I decide to say, ‘I’m going to follow this law because it suits me,’ it’s going to be chaos.”
He took an agnostic stance on legalizing recreational marijuana (he wants to see data on how legalization has affected public safety in other states) and on whether to institute tolls on interstate highways at Connecticut borders. “The devil is in the details,” he said about tolls. He would not support any toll plan that did not always include a “lockbox” that guarantees spending the collected revenue on transportation.
Srinivasan said his campaign has succeeded in raising more than $250,000 in small donations and therefore hopes to qualify for Connecticut’s public-financing program. He said he would support eliminating the program. “Right now we can’t afford that,” he said. However, as long as the program exists and other candidates can access the money, he intends to participate in order to maintain a “level playing field.”
Click on or download the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear the full interview with Prasad Srinivasan on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven.”
Click on the above audio file or the Facebook Live video below to hear a previous WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven"interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Obsitnik. Click here to read a story about that interview.
Click on or download the above audio file to hear a previous WNHH FM “Dateline New Haven” interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Ganim. Click here for a story about that interview.
Click on or download the above audio file to a previous WNHH “Dateline New Haven” interview with GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Boughton on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program; and click here to read a story about that interview.
Click on or download the above audio file to hear a previous WNHH “Dateline New Haven” interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Drew; and click here to read a story about the interview.