By SUSAN HAIGH
SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (AP) _ Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon on Tuesday began a statewide tour of businesses run by women _ a sign that Connecticut’s 2012 contest is gearing up.
McMahon, a former professional wrestling executive, kicked off the multi-day tour in the Plantsville section of Southington, marking Women-Owned Small Business Month. Later in the day, she held a roundtable discussion with women business owners who voiced concerns about the availability of capital and the stagnant economy.
“Clearly women in business have the same issues as men in business do, because they’re business issues. But I think women do have different approaches,” she said. “So I’m interested in hearing from all the women around the state as to what kind of issues they are having, what’s made them a success, what made them get into their companies and to let them know I’ve been there.”
McMahon is vying for the GOP nomination against former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, Hartford attorney Brian K. Hill and Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy. Several Democrats are running for their party’s backing, including U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and state Rep. William Tong. They are all hoping to fill the seat now held by the retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent.
Murphy, who represented Southington as a state representative, made an official appearance on Tuesday at the Touchpoints Skilled Nursing Facility in Farmington, where he discussed the importance of Medicaid and how it’s needed to keep the nursing home open.
Also this week, Tong released his third jobs proposal. He called for a federal home energy conservation program, which he’s calling Cash for Clean Energy, that would provide businesses and homeowners a chance to apply for a federal tax credit on energy conservation and efficiency investments they make. The credit would cover everything from appliances to insulation.
“This program will put thousands of manufacturers, retailers and contractors around the country back to work,” Tong said.
McMahon said one reason she started her business tour is because of a large increase in women-owned businesses in Connecticut, about double the national average over the last 13 years. She said those firms employ more than 92,000 people. Polls taken during McMahon’s last run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 showed her trailing now-U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal among female voters for former Sen. Christopher Dodd’s seat.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)