Thursday, October 25, 2012

List of write-in candidates includes six presidential hopefuls

Here’s a “didja know” — didja know there are six (count ‘em, six) write-in candidates for president this year? There are also six write-in candidates for vice president, seven write-in candidates for United States Senate, and two write-in candidates each for the 3rd and 5th Congressional Districts.  Plus, a number of write-in candidates running for various state House and Senate seats

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill released today the complete list of registered write-in candidates, though she noted the playing field is not quite the same for write-ins. The office they are running for is on the ballot, but the candidates themselves are not.

Write-in-candidates “do not appear on the ballot but voting machines are programmed to accept votes for write-ins if they are registered with the Secretary of the State,” Merrill said in a release issued Thursday.

“Barring any last-minute withdrawals, our list of candidates for the November 6th general election is now set,” Merrill said.  “I want to make sure voters are informed about every candidate eligible to receive votes on Nov. 6 whether their names appear on the ballot or not.  This is going to be a very high turnout election, so I urge anyone at all thinking about the very important issues facing your city or town, our state and our country – register to vote now while you still can so your voice can be heard in the Nov. 6 Presidential election!  The final day to register for the election is next Tuesday October 30th at your town or city hall.  Don’t sit this one out – we want to hear from you on Election Day Nov. 6.”

The following is a complete list of registered write-in candidates for political office in Connecticut in 2012:

Office                                                                                                                Candidate
President of the United States                                                               Stephen Durham
Vice Pres. of the United States                                                               Christina Lopez

President of the United States                                                               James E. Harris
Vice Pres. of the United States                                                               Maura Deluca

President of the United States                                                    Tom Hoefling
Vice Pres. of the United States                                                   Jonathan Ellis

President of the United States                                                               Raymond Sizemore
Vice Pres. of the United States                                                   Vicki Tomalin

President of the United States                                                    Jill Stein
Vice Pres. of the United States                                                    Cheri Honkala

President of the United States                                                    Gerald Warner
Vice Pres. of the United States                                               Ricky A. Hood
U.S. Senate                                                                                                     Michael D. Adams

U.S. Senate                                                                                                     Matthew Coleman

U.S. Senate                                                                                                     Rajat Hodja

U.S. Senate                                                                                                     Peter Rumbin

U.S. Senate                                                                                                     Jeff Russell

U.S. Senate                                                                                                     John Traceski

U.S. Senate                                                                                                     Michael Vasile

3rd Congressional District                                                                           Hector W. Concepcion, Jr.

3rd Congressional District                                                                           Stephen “Steve” Packard

5th Congressional District                                                                            Russ Jaeger
5th Congressional District                                                                               John Pistone
State Senate - District #7                                                                           Elizabeth Traceski

State Senate – District #21                                                                    John M. Dempsey

State Senate – District #26                                                                        Remy Chevalier

State Representative – District #24                                                       Ruslan Vasyliv

State Representative – District #34                                                       William “Bill” Devine

State Representative – District #43                                                       William B. Cutler

Registrar of Voters – Bridgeport                                                             David N. Moore

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Cafero blasts tuition hikes approved by Board of Regents

What follows is a press release from House Republican Leader Larry Cafero, of Norwalk, taking issue with the embattled Board of Regents' plan to go ahead with tuition hikes:

House Republican Leader Larry Cafero today questioned the timing of the vote by the Board of Regents to approve automatic annual student fee hikes to pay for building projects in light of the disastrous secret attempt to give eye-opening pay raises to higher education staff. The Board of Regents on Thursday signed off on a plan to hike student fees annually for the next 25 years to pay for new dorms and other facilities within the state university system. The Regents are also contemplating at least a 3.1 percent hike in tuition to fill a projected deficit.
 “The first thing they need to do is restore public confidence and support for higher education in the wake of this scandal that has led so far to two resignations within the system. The timing of this action could not have been worse,’’ Cafero said. “For weeks all the public has heard about the raises that had eventually to be rescinded and now learn that fees and tuition are going up again.’’ He added that before the Regents decide to raise fees and then tuition, “The public needs a full accounting of what led to this scandal. So far, that has not happened,’’ Cafero said. Cafero has repeatedly asked for a public hearing by the Higher Education Committee to examine the oversight and leadership of the system that educates half of the state’s college students.
 At least $262,000 in raises, including one for $48,000, were handed out by the former Board of Regents President Robert Kennedy to staff members without any scrutiny or public notice. Kennedy and the Board of Regents Executive Vice President Michael Meotti resigned last week and the raises were rescinded as the scandal broke.   

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sen. Looney honored by Connecticut Voices for Children

State Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, Hamden, was recognized this week by Connecticut Voices for Children at its 11th “First for Kids Awards” ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 17.  

Looney received the Legislative Leadership Award for his work on behalf of Connecticut families, particularly his efforts on behalf a state Earned Income Tax Credit and reform of the juvenile justice system.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the most effective anti-poverty measures available, putting cash back into the hands of working families who need it to meet their basic needs,” Sharon Langer, interim executive director of Connecticut Voices for Children, said in a release. “Connecticut families owe a debt of gratitude to Senator Looney for promoting the federal version of the tax credit and creating a new state version that will expand support for low-income families.”

Other recipients of Connecticut Voices for Children’s First for Kids Awards were Merva Jackson (Hartford) who was recognized posthumously, and African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities (AFCAMP), who jointly received the Citizen Advocacy Award; Peter Arakas (Farmington), who received Connecticut Voices for Children Founders’ Award; Barbara Edinberg (Bridgeport), who received the Community Advocacy Award; and The Connecticut Mirror, which received the Media Award.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Release: Phillip E. Austin named Interim President of the Board of Regents

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today released the following statement in response to a vote by the members of the Board of Regents on Friday afternoon recommending Phillip E. Austin to serve as Interim President of the Board of Regents.

“Dr. Austin is an outstanding choice by the Board of Regents.  His reputation is beyond reproach, and he will bring much needed stability to the Board of Regents central office the first day he walks in the door.  He’s also the right person to make sure the reforms that have started to be implemented continue.

“He has substantial higher education experience and is well-known in Connecticut for the leadership and vision he executed during his eleven-year tenure as President of the University of Connecticut.  He was instrumental in overseeing implementation of the UConn 2000 and 21st Century UConn programs, and most recently served with the leadership of the UConn Health Center during a period of transition.

“It’s worth noting that he led UConn at a time when it was undergoing a period of unprecedented academic growth and transformation, significantly growing the academic size and strength of the student body and leading the school to be consistently ranked as a top public university in New England.  Similar transformation efforts are underway at the Board of Regents, and Dr. Austin’s experience will be invaluable.

“It is on the strength of our state’s education system that we will build a skilled workforce, ensure that Connecticut is internationally recognized for the capabilities of its higher education institutions, and attract high-quality employers that will grow good-paying jobs with good benefits here at home.

“I’m confident Dr. Austin will work closely with each of the Board’s members, legislative leaders, and the faculty, staff and students at each of the schools so that credibility can be restored to the central office and a unified vision for the schools reinvigorated.

“Upon receiving formal notification from the Board on their recommendation, I intend to appoint him to serve in this role.”

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Kennedy resigns from Board of Regents

Here is a press release from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on the resignation of Dr. Robert A. Kennedy:

“Bob’s decision is the right one.

“There have been many accomplishments at the Board over the last year, and Bob deserves a lot of credit for those accomplishments. He's a smart, decent, thoughtful individual who has spent many years working to improve education systems. Our state universities, community and technical colleges are better off for Bob having spent the last year here in Connecticut, and I thank him for his service.

“It’s unfortunate that the events of the past week have damaged the credibility of the central office, but they have. And that credibility needs to be restored as quickly as possible.

“As I said yesterday, it is now time for the Board to step in and take whatever actions are necessary to restore confidence and credibility in the central office.”

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cafero calls for Kennedy to step down

State House Republican Leader Larry Cafero is calling for Robert Kennedy, the embattled president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, to step down,  in the wake of revelations over “secretive pay hikes for staff members,” “threatened dismissals of community college presidents” and “a previously undisclosed six-week leave from his office last summer.”

"Given the developments over the last two weeks, I believe it is in the best interests of the thousands of students that rely on our state's higher education system, and those who are responsible to taxpayers for how it is administered, that President Kennedy tender his resignation," Cafero said in a release issued Thursday.

Cafero also renewed his call for a public inquiry by the Higher Education Committee into the recent controversies that have called into question the leadership of the newly merged college system.

Cafero said three separate incidents over the last two weeks led to his decision to call for Kennedy’s dismissal:

According to reports, a member of Kennedy's central office told the 12 community college presidents they had until Oct. 31 to accept early "buy-out" proposals or face dismissal by June of 2013. Conflicting allegations and accusations followed, leading to a chaotic situation.

Kennedy reportedly approved $250,000 in undisclosed pay increases for his staff members without Board of Regents approval as required by state law, including a $49,000 hike for Executive Vice President Michael Meotti. The Meotti pay hike was rescinded after it became public.

On Wednesday Kennedy, in response to a reporter’s question, said that he spent six weeks away from his office last summer, “working remotely” at his Minnesota vacation home.

"I have never been one to jump to conclusions when it comes to allegations that affect someone's livelihood," Cafero said. "But I think we have ample evidence that warrants a change in the leadership of state college system.”


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Meningitis outbreak sparks DeLauro to introduce legislation to oversee pharmacies

Rosa DeLauro has announced her intention to introduce legislation that she said will "ensure the safety of drugs from compounding pharmacies." 

According to a release issued by DeLauro, compounding pharmacies are "at the root of the current fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed 11 people and sickened 119 in nine states." Compounding pharmacies create customized versions of medicine for specific patients, such as the estimated 17,000 steroid injections tied to the outbreak. 

According to the release, such pharmacies are licensed and overseen by a patchwork of state agencies and the FDA’s guidance to states on licensing such pharmacies was last updated in 2002.  The pharmacy that produced the potentially contaminated drug responsible for the current outbreak has surrendered its license to the Massachusetts State Board of Pharmacy and all compounds from the facility have been recalled.

DeLauro also sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting information about the gaps in our drug safety system posed by compounded products and the need to better protect patients, including those enrolled in Medicare. “I believe this outbreak and corresponding recall make clear that strong Federal authority is needed over these large scale compounding pharmacies to ensure that patients receive safe and effective drugs, that we better monitor adverse events associated with these drugs, and that there is a single entity responsible for verifying appropriate marketing and safe drug production,” she wrote.  “It is also critical that Federal and State partners responsible for this oversight have the resources and capacity needed to complete this work.”

DeLauro is a senior Democrat on the House of Representatives committee that funds the FDA and a longtime champion for strengthening oversight responsibilities and increased funding for the agency. Details on the recall may be found here and information on the fungal meningitis outbreak may be found here.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Call John Henry Decker Maybe

It's too cute to be believed.

John Henry Decker, the Republican candidate trying to unseat 1st District Congressman John Larson, posted a video of his daughter and some of her friends singing the now infamous Carly Rae Jepsen song "Call Me Maybe," with a, ahem, hidden message.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

SOTS Merrill looks at the role of women in Connecticut elections

Here is Secretary of the State Denise Merrill talking about Connecticut's voting rights history.

One interesting note — Merrill points out that "women in New Haven were allowed to serve on their local Board of Education until 1897, when the right was taken away from them."

"It's still a difficult path to statewide office," she says.


Rosa DeLauro named a "Champion for Children"

According to a release issued by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro,  First Focus Campaign for Children has named her a “Champion for Children.”

“Investing in our children is really investing in our future,” DeLauro said in a release. “Pre-K education, Pell Grants, the National School Lunch Program, access to affordable child care and the Child Tax Credit make a real difference in the lives of millions of children and their parents. We should continue to enhance these kinds of targeted efforts that make a lifetime of difference and provide better opportunities for children. I want to thank the First Focus Campaign for Children for this recognition and all the great work they do advocating for children across this nation.”

First Focus, a “national, bipartisan children’s advocacy group,” said that DeLauro was one of only 50 members of Congress “whose extraordinary efforts to protect and improve the future of America’s next generation earned them recognition as a champion.”

To choose their champions, First Focus looked at sponsored or co-sponsored legislation and “considered members who demonstrated extraordinary initiative by spearheading activities such as sponsoring hearings or garnering the support of their colleagues to improve the health and well-being of children.”

This is the Campaign for Children’s third year choosing “Champions for Children.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal and 1st District U.S. Rep. John Larson were named not “champions,” but “Defenders of Children,” legislators who “supported efforts to advance policies to improve the well-being of America's children.”

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Lieberman gets a "C" on inequality report card

How does Connecticut’s Congressional delegation rate when it comes to equality? Pretty good, on the whole.

The only federal lawmakers from Connecticut to receive lower than an B on The Institute for Policy Studies’ new Congressional Report Card on inequality were Sen. Joe Lieberman, who received a “C” grade, and John Larson, who got a “D.”

As a release issued Wednesday detailed, “the overall “GPA” for Connecticut is 3.3, which is a ‘B+.’ Connecticut ranks as the 46th “most 1 percent friendly” state. In national studies, Connecticut also ranks as the 46th poorest state and, at the same time, the second most unequal state.”

The study looked at 40 different pieces of legislation: The bills considered for the report card ranged from legislation to establish a ‘Buffett Rule’ minimum tax rate that all wealthy Americans must pay to a measure that would raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation.”

“Members of Congress have the capacity to make sure all Americans, not just a privileged few, share in the wealth that we all together create,” study co-author Scott Klinger, associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies said in a release. “With this new report card, voters can see for themselves how well their elected lawmakers are meeting that responsibility.”

So how did the state’s other members of Congress do? Chris Murphy, outgoing 5th District representative and senate candidate received a “B,” 3rd District Rep. Rosa DeLauro and 2nd District Rep. Joe Courtney both received an “A-,” which Sen. Richard Blumenthal got an “A.”

The full results are below. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Haven has 4th largest population of Hispanic voters in Connecticut

According to the Secretary of the State, there are more than 176,000 Hispanic voters in Connecticut and, perhaps no surprise, they are, by and large, Democrats.

Denise Merrill sent out a release Tuesday detailing Hispanic voter registration -- 9 percent of all voters, and 7,500 more than in 2011. The cities with the highest number of voters of Hispanic origin are, in order, Bridgeport, Hartford, Waterbury and New Haven.

Of those 176,000 Hispanic voters, 90,012 are registered as Democrats, while 71,488 are registered as unaffiliated voters, and 14,449 are registered Republicans, Merrill said.

“These numbers clearly show us that Connecticut is becoming more diverse every day, and nearly one in ten citizens registered to vote in our state is Hispanic American,” Merrill said. “I think those of us in public service should learn very quickly that it would be wise to listen to the voices of our Hispanic voters in Connecticut.  At the same time, we also know that a significant gap exists between our Hispanic citizens who are registered to vote and those who actually cast ballots.  This is a gap I am committed to closing by making our elections more accessible to all voters in Connecticut, and I will continue to reach out to all communities in our state with the message of why it is important to vote.”

But the news from Merrill wasn’t all good: According to her release, the Secretary of the State’s 2011 Civic Health Index Report found that although 46 percent of Hispanic citizens in Connecticut are registered to vote, just 23 percent actually cast ballots.

Werner Oyanadel, acting executive director of the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, said, “I am delighted to learn that the majority of Hispanic U.S. Citizens that are within the voting age in our state are registered to vote.  I remain confident that more than half of the Hispanic registered voters in Connecticut will exercise their right to vote in the next elections and in turn help our community increase our voice for equal rights in the halls of power.”

Secretary Merrill estimates that party affiliation for registered Hispanic voters in Connecticut is as follows:

Concerned Citizens40
Connecticut for Lieberman7
Realistic Balance2
Working Families21
We the People9

The 20 municipalities in Connecticut with the highest estimated number of registered Hispanic voters in Connecticut are, listed in descending order:

  1. Bridgeport

  1. Hartford

  1. Waterbury

  1. New Haven

  1. New Britain

  1. Meriden

  1. East Hartford

  1. Stamford

  1. Norwalk

  1. Danbury

  1. Willimantic/Windham

  1. West Haven

  1. Stratford

  1. Manchester

  1. New London

  1. West Hartford

  1. Bristol

  1. Middletown

  1. Naugatuck

  1. Windsor

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