China may be an unusual destination for the governor of Connecticut, but Dannel P. Malloy says his recent 10-day visit to that country and dozens of other trips abroad and in the U.S. could lead to valuable business deals for the state, The Associated Press reports.
The Asia trip wrapped up earlier this week and came on the heels of Malloy's appearance at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
It was the most ambitious excursion yet for the first-term Democrat, who maintains his travels around the world and regularly to Washington are aimed at boosting Connecticut's clout and economic development.
But critics wonder whether he is trying to raise his profile for a possible bid for higher office, speculation Malloy steadfastly denies.
Since taking office in 2010, Malloy has made at least 30 trips, travel records obtained by The Associated Press show. His office has spent nearly $16,500 on some of these expeditions, a sum that includes travel costs for Malloy, some staff members and occasionally his wife. Some trips were paid for by others, such as the Democratic Governors Association, the University of Connecticut Foundation, and the Center for American Progress.
Malloy's destinations have included a visit to troops in Afghanistan and Kuwait; a World Economic Forum in Zurich, Switzerland; and the Hunt Institute Education Symposium in Raleigh, N.C.
In an interview this week with the AP, Malloy said he needs to beef up the state's political clout considering Connecticut will no longer have two veteran U.S. senators in Washington after Sen. Joe Lieberman retires this year. Former Sen. Chris Dodd retired in 2010. The governor points to recent federal grants awarded Connecticut, including $116 million to help create a health insurance exchange, as successful outcomes of his efforts.
''The reality is the seniority claim is gone. It's gone,'' Malloy said. ''So are we just supposed to accept that and try not to build relationships that will allow us to be successful? That makes no sense at all.''