Connecticut state Rep. Vincent Candelora is pushing back at comments made by Bridgewater Associates co-founder Ray Dalio and his wife, Barbara, that he bore responsibility for the collapse of the Partnership for Connecticut, a $300 million initiative to fund struggling public schools.
In an exclusive interview with the Business Journal, the North Branford Republican took umbrage with Barbara Dalio’s comments that he and state Rep. Themis Klarides “sought to sabotage the partnership” for partisan reasons.
“I think ‘sabotage’ is a strong word,” Candelora said. “From day one when that legislation passed, it was done sort of in the dark at night with no public hearing. I saw that it was exempting the organization from Freedom of Information Act and ethics laws, so I opposed the legislation on the House floor and spoke against it because I thought we need transparency in the process.”
Candelora noted that “many media sources had joined that that criticism of the lack of transparency” in contributing to the partnership’s demise. Ray Dalio blamed “some media folks who wanted to write sensationalistic stories” for the dissolution of the initiative. However, Candelora added his concerns were “the extent of my criticism of that organization” and he played no role in its collapse.
“Why it ultimately folded and what happens with the employees that work there?” he asked. “I have no knowledge what is going on with it. I think that the characterization of sabotage is not accurate. It was me speaking on the House floor representing my constituency.”
Candelora also challenged the Dalios to explain “what they mean by sabotage,” adding that he never had direct contact with them or any of the leadership of the Partnership for Connecticut regarding their operations and goals.
“I’ve been very clear about that position from day one,” he continued. “I have not interacted with that organization, I have never spoken to the director, I have never leaked any information or provided information to anybody. Once that organization began to operate, they operated in secret. So, to the extent that a reporter would call me and ask me my opinion: Yes, I was critical of the lack of transparency.”
Candelora defended Klarides from the Dalios’ blame – Ray Dalio called her “one bad Republican” – by stating, “I’ve worked with her for 14 years and I have the utmost respect for her.”
Barbara Dalio made her comments as part of a press release issued by Gov. Ned Lamont’s office announcing the shuttering of the partnership while Ray Dalio posted his comments on Twitter. The Dalios have yet to speak directly to the media regarding what occurred.