Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Comptroller Kevin Lembo to Endorse Chris Donovan for Congress (release)

Tomorrow at 11:00am, Chris Donovan will join Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Comptroller Kevin Lembo at a press conference at the Pulaski Club in New Britain where Merrill and Lembo will announce their official endorsement of Donovan's candidacy for Congress.

Murphy Rips TSA for Buying Chinese-Made Bracelets Commemorating 10th Anniversary of 9/11 (release)

Congressman Chris Murphy today sent a letter to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole, criticizing the agency's recent purchase of bracelets commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks that were made in China, and calling on the agency to clarify the legal authority by which the contract was awarded.
 On January 10th, Bloomberg News reported<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-10/sept-11-bracelets-come-from-china.html> that TSA had purchased the Chinese-made bracelets, which were "among as much as $84 billion in U.S. contracts awarded for foreign goods and services in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, mostly through exemptions from legislation designed to restrict such deals."
 As founder and co-chairman of the congressional Buy American Caucus, Murphy is leading the drive to strengthen federal procurement laws designed to keep U.S. tax dollars from being sent overseas and to support American jobs and manufacturers.
 "While your goal of commemorating the tragic events of that day is one we all share as Americans, this purchase could have, and should have, been done in a way that supports American jobs," Murphy wrote. "By awarding this contract to a company who imported the items from China – a country with questionable labor practices, a dismal record of human rights violations and a manipulated currency – your agency denied American workers the opportunity to manufacture these commemorative bracelets with pride here in the United States."

Full text of Rep. Murphy's letter:
 January 31, 2012

Administrator John Pistole
Transportation Security Administration

601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598

Dear Administrator Pistole,

I was frustrated to learn that your agency recently purchased 70,000 bracelets commemorating the 10 year anniversary of the September 11th 2001 attacks that were made in China.  These bracelets cost U.S. taxpayers $17,500, and was another poor decision in a long line of contracting awards throughout the federal government that have cost American jobs and sent American tax dollars to manufacturers overseas. While your goal of commemorating the tragic events of that day is one we all share as Americans, this purchase could have, and should have, been done in a way that supports American jobs.

Your agency contends that the four American firms that domestically manufacture the bracelets you required could not deliver the bracelets by your required delivery date. The 10 year anniversary of September 11th, 2001 was not something that should have taken TSA by surprise, and you should have solicited bids in a more timely fashion so that the American firms could have met your needs. If given the opportunity to compete on a level-playing field, I have no doubt that any of the four companies that produce these bracelets here in the United States could have met TSA's requirements.  By awarding this contract to a company who imported the items from China – a country with questionable labor practices, a dismal record of human rights violations and a manipulated currency – your agency denied American workers the opportunity to manufacture these commemorative bracelets with pride here in the United States.

As chairman of the congressional Buy American Caucus, I am also concerned about TSA's interpretation of the law governing this type of procurement. The Buy American Act requires that your agency purchase manufactured goods that are made in America except in certain extenuating circumstances, in which case a waiver to the Act may be granted. It does not appear that any of those conditions were met in this case. Please clarify the statutory authority by which you made this purchase, and whether a waiver was issued.

Furthermore, I ask that you work to correct this contracting decision and ones like it in the future; American manufacturers stand ready to help TSA achieve its goals. I thank you for your hard work in protecting our air transportation system and hope we can work together to support American jobs and make our country even stronger.


Member of Congress


Monday, January 30, 2012

Jepsen: Settlement with mortgage lenders is close

Attorney General George Jepsen, speaking at an event in Milford today, said a multi-state settlement with mortgage lenders is perhaps a week away.
The deal would do a few things for the 40 states involved in the litigation, should it be reached, including making $27 million available to Connecticut, "every penny" of which would go to pay for legal aid for underwater homeowners, Jepsen said. It would also, theoretically, help out some homeowners who the attorney general said were victims of the 2008 housing meltdown.
"There's going to be money available on a state-wide basis to provide relief to those who lost their homes" between 2008 and 2011, he said. "Everybody who lost their homes during that period were victims in one way or another."
Though he wouldn't go into greater detail, saying the terms of the agreement were still being hashed out, Jepsen said the also create a "national monitor," paid for by the banks, to enforce the standards of protocol set out by the settlement.
According to Bloomberg news, the proposed multi-state settlement will resolve investigations into predatory lending and foreclosure practices by the nation's five largest lending banks: Bank of America Corp.,JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Ally Financial.
Jepsen said that, because only those lenders are participating, it will only cover about 60 percent of the market, and only in participating states.
Nonetheless, the attorney general was confident that the terms of the settlement would be positive for states and borrowers.
"This should help move the Real Estate market in the right direction," he said.


Bernier Proposes Primary Pledge (release)

Justin Bernier, Republican candidate for U.S. Congress (CT-5), has proposed a pledge that could help the GOP avoid a contentious primary ahead of the 2012 elections.
Signers agree to drop out of their race for U.S. Congress, foregoing the option of collecting petition signatures to get onto the ballot, if they do not receive at least 15 percent of the vote at the state's Republican Party Convention on May 18th.
The pledge is voluntary and open to any Republican running for federal office in the State of Connecticut.
Bernier, 36, of Plainville, said he became convinced that the pledge could help the party while watching the Republican presidential primary unfold.
"The Republican presidential primary has become a bloodbath," said Bernier.  "The personal attacks being used will only help Barack Obama in the end.  I believe we are seeing this because there is a crowded field of candidates whose campaign managers and consultants play to a media that prefers to cover Republican infighting instead of the issues."
Bernier noted that many Republican candidates in Connecticut ran negative television and radio ads during the 2010 primaries.  Every Republican nominee for federal and statewide office went down to defeat in that year's general election.
"Primary elections should be about the issues and who is best suited to represent us," said Bernier.   "Republicans in Connecticut can't afford to eat their own."
Support for 15% Pledge
The pledge has already received significant support in Republican circles.
Jim Campbell, a former congressional candidate and current Chairman of the Republican Town Committee (RTC) in Greenwich, said, "The purpose of the petition option is to make sure that no candidate is denied access to the ballot by political bosses," said Campbell.  "But just because someone can primary, doesn't mean they should.   When there is no incumbent in the seat, a viable candidate for Congress should be able to get 15 percent of the delegates at the convention.  If that candidate doesn't reach 15 percent, then he or she probably doesn't have enough appeal and organization to be successful on Election Day anyway."
Jason Van Stone, Waterbury RTC Vice Chairman and member of the Board of Education, said, "As Republicans trying to turn the 5th district from 'blue' to 'red,' we need to avoid a bloody primary and focus our efforts on the Democratic opponent early and with a united front.  That's why I believe that candidates who do not get 15 percent of the vote at the convention in May should take themselves out of the running."
Bernier has sent the pledge to all Republican candidates for Congress in Connecticut for consideration.
The Primary Process
Under Connecticut law, candidates for federal office can get onto the primary ballot in one of two ways.
The first way a candidate can qualify for the primary is to win the support of 15 percent of the delegates to the party's nominating convention.  Republican delegates are selected from the towns according to local bylaws and party rules.
The second way onto the primary ballot is to collect petition signatures from two percent of registered Republican voters in the congressional district (in the case of congressional candidates) or the state (for senatorial candidates).
The Connecticut Republican Party has announced that it will hold the nominating conventions for U.S. Senate and Congress on May 18th.  The primary election is scheduled for August 14th, leaving Republican nominees with less than three months to campaign before the general election in November.
According to the Federal Election Commission in Washington, DC, Connecticut and Utah are the only two states that use a convention prior to a primary to nominate candidates for office.
The text of the pledge reads:
"To give the Republican Party the best chance of victory on Election Day, we, the undersigned candidates for federal office, agree to not seek petition signatures for the Primary Election ballot in the event that our candidacy fails to receive 15 percent of the vote at the 2012 Connecticut Republican Convention on May 18th."

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Video: Malloy talking jobs in Davos

Courtesy of Reuters, here is our own Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in Davos talking jobs.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Bysiewicz Releases 4th Quarter Fundraising Total (release)

For the period of October 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012 the Bysiewicz for Senate Campaign raised over $273,000 and has cash on hand of about $890,000.
"We are clearly on track to have the resources that we need to communicate Susan's message of holding Wall Street, corporate special interests, and Washington accountable to the middle class," said Jonathan Ducote, Bysiewicz's campaign manager.

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Boughton, Caligiuri both mum on their 5th district faves

There’s no dearth of Republicans running for the 5th district. There are five GOP candidates — Justin Bernier, Mike Clark, Mark Greenberg, Andrew Roraback and Lisa Wilson-Foley — not to mention three Democratic candidates and an independent.
Each of the Republican candidates boast several, if not many endorsements. But two important endorsements are noticeably absent.
Quick quiz: Which city in the 5th district carries the most amount of Republican delegates?
If you answered “Danbury,” you are correct. That city’s Mayor Mark Boughton has yet to tag a favorite, and he may not.
“There are a lot of good candidates in the race,” he said. “I haven’t really made a determination yet if I’m going to endorse anyone.”
It’s not that he’s been silent or inactive. He was vocally opposed to a now failed GOP plan to move his city out of the 5th district, and he’s been meeting with and talking to the candidates. So far, he said he’s met with all but “one or two.”
Here’s another quick quiz: Who was the GOP nominee for 5th district last cycle?
If you answered “Sam Caligiuri,” you are correct again (aren’t you smart), and the former state senator, like Boughton, has yet to make an endorsement. But he may yet.
“Up to this point, I have not endorsed anyone,” he said. “That may change.”
Caligiuri has bowed out of politics since losing to Chris Murphy, now running for Senate, by eight percentage points. He has met with all the current GOP candidates, and has offered himself as “a resource.”
“I felt I would add the greatest value, to try to help us win this seat back,” he said.
And, after all, it’s still early.
“The race got off to an early start,” Caligiuri said. “Races have a way of unfolding over time.”
Caligiuri also refused to pick a horse in the Senate race, saying that both GOP front-runners, McMahon and Shays, were “very strong candidates.”
“I’m keeping my powder dry on that,” he said.

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And the winner is ...

A Twitter contest between Jim Himes and Chris Murphy came down to the wire. But the New Britain Spanish Speaking Center is the real winner.
Murphy knew he was behind (despite getting a re-tweet from Mia Farrow) and tweeted this:
5 minutes and counting! Call your mom! Shout to your neighbor! Need a few more followers to win bet for charity w Himes.
The prize is 10,000 cents (paid by the loser to a charity of the winner's choice) and competition was bitter. Well, sort of..
Last hours of my fight with Murphy for new followers. He's up by exactly 1 person. Help me bring 10k cents into CD4 with some new followers!
But in the end, Murphy won, by a fair shot.
Here were the standings on Monday.
Murphy: 3,052
Himes: 5,086

Today, the standings were...
Murphy: 3,494
Himes: 5,520

Which puts Murphy on top by eight followers, with 442 to Himes' 434. (Murphy's count was a bit different. He tweeted that he had won 452-430.) Congrats!
And the 10,000 cents go to... The New Britain Spanish Speaking Center.  And Himes concedes:
Reviewed hanging chads with FL, appealed to #SCOTUS, but for good of the country, I concede that @ChrisMurphyCT edges me out.#wellplayed
But wait! Controversy arises, courtesy of Wall Street Journal reporter Shelly Banjo:
Showing up on Promoted Twitter accounts is @ChrisMurphyCT, suggesting Mr. Murphy paid for the promotion @jahimes is that against the rules?
Murphy, though, solved the problem gracefully:
Fun contest w @jahimes. I'm donating 10,000 cts to @HabitatCFC anyway. Great cause. Join me athttp://www.habitatcfc.org."
To which Himes replied, "Me, too."

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lieberman, Blumenthal, Courtney statement opposing new round of BRAC (release)

Senators Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney – members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, respectively – today released the following statement after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta indicated that the President would request a new round of military Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC):
"There is sweeping bipartisan opposition to another round of BRAC at this time. Given that the process requires Congressional approval just to get off the ground, the proposal is dead on arrival. According to a 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the last BRAC round, which was completed in 2005, cost an 'unprecedented' $35 billion to implement – billions more than it is projected to save in the long run. Typically, the actual savings from BRAC come long after the costs of implementation; another round would do nothing to help the Pentagon hit the targets outlined in the Budget Control Act.
 "As such, we will strongly oppose this misguided proposal as Congress debates the FY2013 defense budget.
"As a delegation, since 2007, we have secured more than $80 million in new military construction SUBASE New London, shoring up its infrastructure and value to the Navy and our submarine fleet. We will continue to work with the Navy and community and base leaders to strengthen SUBASE and secure its future."
Since 2007, Lieberman and Courtney have secured approximately $85 million in new military construction projects at the base. This total includes: $9.3 million for a Submarine Learning Center, $11.9 million for a Waterfront Operations Center, $11 million for a new indoor firing range, $46 million to replace Pier 32 on the waterfront, and $6.6 million for a new MK-49 Torpedo Magazine. Further, the 2011 Military Construction appropriations bill included $12.93 million for the relocation of the Submarine Group Headquarters building, moving the command closer to the waterfront operations it oversees.

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Malloy speaks from Davos on the role of governor

The Snow in Davos. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
Gov. Dannel Malloy, speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos with reporters on a conference call, opened up a bit about how frustrating the job of governor can be.
When asked whether he would take credit if there had been recent job losses instead of gains, Malloy said, well yes.
"You get blamed for anything that goes wrong, and frequently, you don't get credit for anything that goes right," he said.
The governor also lamented the weather in Switzerland, where he said there had been more snow than in the last 70 years.
"I'm having nightmares about the snow," he said.


Congressional Twitter contest gets serious; Murphy pulls out the big guns

On Monday, Congressmen Jim Himes and Chris Murphy began a friendly contest to see who could garner more Twitter followers within a five-day period.
With one day left, Murphy just kicked it up a notch.
For starters, check out this tweet from Murphy this afternoon:
My constituent @MiaFarrow: I'm in a contest with Rep. Himes for most new followers this wk. Need a RT to help the cause.
Really? Mia Farrow?
UPDATE: She re-tweeted it. to all of her 29,760 followers.
But before that, the 5th district congressman and Senatorial candidate sent out a letter to campaign supporters today directly intended to get more followers on Twitter. Here's a sample:
"If you're not already doing so, join me in the conversation and follow my @chrismurphyct account.
Here's a quick sample of the kind of tweets you can expect from me:
* Read my behind-the-scenes journal from my most recent trip to #Afghanistan http://bit.ly/kqQzae
* If CT has to recognize Texas's gun laws, I want them to recognize our marriage laws. #dontmesswithct
* #DADT repeal passes House. C'mon Senate - history bends only one way, and never forgets those who were on the wrong side."
On Monday, here's how the two lawmakers stacked up on Twitter:
Murphy: 3,052
Himes: 5,086

By today (as of this writing, at 1:07 p.m.), things have changed — well, somewhat:
Himes: 5,396
Murphy: 3,378

That means that Murphy is in the lead, by the slim margin of 16, having garnered 310 followers, while Murphy has tacked on an additional 326 Twitter followers. At this point, it's anybody's game. 
(And while we're doing some shameless promotion for the sake of Twitter followers, why not follow me on Twitter, too?)

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Participate in a live, online election forum

As Register reporter Angela Carter reports, the New Haven Register is conducting the first in a series of state-wide, online forums to discuss which issues matter in the races for Senate and Congress today, 5:30 p.m., at the New Haven Free Public Library’s main branch at 133 Elm St., in the Performing Arts area.
But you don't have to go there to take part. You don't even have to get up.
Below you'll find a live video stream of the event, and a chat window to get involved from the comfort of your own home.
Check it out:

Live video for mobile from Ustream

Senate candidates mapping the race

The state's Two Storm Panel wrote of the importance of good map data. It seems Senate candidates agree.
The two supposed frontrunners, Democrat Chris Murphy and Republican Linda McMahon are prominently featuring mapped data on their homepages.
The maps contain slightly different data, but the messages seem to be the same: "Look how widespread our support is. Wouldn't you like to be a part of this?"
Murphy is mapping both endorsements and donations (in the map below, red is for donations, blue is for endorsements). Though it's not interactive, Murphy does offer a super-high-res version.

McMahon is tracking just endorsements, but her map offers an interactive look what her supporters are saying. Which is nice. You can zoom down to street level.

What some may find interesting is how closely the maps' data resembles each other, at least at a cursory glance. Both show concentrations in Fairfield County, New Haven and Danbury. Both show (not surprisingly) less support in the less populated areas of the state.
A hard look at the actual data that produced those maps might be more revealing, but just the use of maps in this way demonstrates how important the concept of being "grassroots" has become. 
Look at who your neighbors support.  

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Is Susan on the attack?

In December, Susan Bysiewicz, former Secretary of the State and candidate for U.S. Senate, issued an extensive, detailed and nuanced plan for Congress.
By the end of January, she seems to have gone into attack mode.
This was sent out today:
“Congressman Chris Murphy’s excuse just doesn’t hold up. He has voted multiple times to increase the deficit but when the Democratic majority was on the verge of closing the carried interest loophole he suddenly was against more spending."
That statement came after Bysiewicz tried to tie Murphy to Romney, as Brian Lockhart reported, with the Murphy campaign arguing that the bill that the congressman could have signed would have added $54 billion to the deficit.
Murphy may still be considered the front-runner in the Democratic race for the Senate, but it's hard to argue that Susan isn't in attack mode, when she says stuff like this:
"It is no wonder that Congressman Chris Murphy has gone on to raise over $300,000 from Wall Street for his campaign for US Senate and is one of the top recipients of contributions from Hedge Funds.”
The change in tone may work for Bysiewicz. It may not. It will be interesting to see if the tone of the primary race in general changes as well.

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Blumenthal: State of the Union was 'powerful, compelling'

According to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, when President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address last night, the president was "moving and cogent and compelling" on what Blumenthal called the "central question" in the United States today: "How to preserve and enhance the middle class."
"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by," Obama said. "Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
Though this is an election year, Blumenthal, the soon-to-be senior senator from Connecticut, said Obama's speech went above mere politics.
""The president really reached above and beyond the Congress assembled before him in that chamber to reach the American people," Blumenthal said.
So, of all the pleas and proposals made by Obama during his hour-long speech, which does Blumenthal think will actually turn into action?
Well, the extension of the payroll tax deduction and unemployment benefits, which the senator called "vital," and the various veterans' proposals, among them a Veterans Job Corps, which the president said "will help our communities hire veterans as cops and firefighters."
"There was very strong response and applause for those two proposals," Blumenthal said. "They should reach his desk first."
What about Obama's support of a ban on insider trading by members of congress? It "could pass," according to the senator.
"I sat with Republican Bob Corker, from Tennessee," Blumenthal said. "He stood to applaud that proposal."
If there was one omission, from Blumenthal's point of view, it was in the area of military policy.
Blumenthal, a member of the Senate's Armed Services committee, said, "I regretted a bit that he did not outline specific strategic and military policy," which the senator called "integral to the reduction of debt" and military strength.
But, as the senator pointed out, the speech was primarily focused on domestic matters. Obama devoted about a paragraph to China, for example, what Blumenthal called a "major strategic threat."
But then, to Richard Blumenthal, the greatest threat to this country may not come from outside it's borders, and the president's goal, according to the senator, was to drive members of Congress to "a common purpose."
"We're threatened by our own divisions, as much as any outside danger, Blumenthal said.
Click here to read the full text of Obama's State of the Union address.
Click here to read the full text of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels' official GOP response.
Click here to read reactions from other Connecticut-based lawmakers.


Yo! Yo-yo master is coming to Hamden

It's not politics, I know, but this guy is coming to Thornton Wilder Hall on Feb. 4. All I can do is "walk the dog."

Malloy: East Haven mayor's comments were 'repugnant'

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today released the following statement in reaction to the racially insensitive comments by East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo:
“The comments by East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo are repugnant. They represent either a horrible lack of judgment or worse, an underlying insensitivity to our Latino community that is unacceptable. Being tired is no excuse. He owes an apology to the community, and more importantly, he needs to show what he’s going to do to repair the damage he’s done. And he needs to do it today.”
As Register reporter Susan Misur reported, Maturo, when asked what he would do for the Latino community in the wake of East Haven's racial profiling scandal, said “I might have tacos when I go home. I’m not quite sure yet.”

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Monday, January 23, 2012

USDA: 380,000 people getting food assistance in CT

As the state Office of Legislative Research reported on its blog, the USDA, which administers the SNAP program (what used to be called food stamps) recently released some data about the use of the program — and it's going up.
Nationwide, 45 million people use SNAP to obtain food, an increase of 70 percent from 2007.
And in Connecticut it's even worse.
In 2007, about 215,000 enrolled for SNAP benefits — in 2011, that number jumped to 380,000, an increase of 78 percent.
The USDA also broke it down by household, and the increase is even more startling using that rubric.
Nationwide, the number of households getting SNAP benefits jumped 79 percent to more than 21 million. In Connecticut, there has been an increase of 82 percent, a jump up to 205,000 households since 2007.

Fontana to run for state Senate

Former Rep. Steve Fontana will run for state Senate, against Leonard Fasano, CTMirror reports.

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Murphy and Himes compete for Twitter followers

Over the weekend, Congressmen Jim Himes of the 4th district and Chris Murphy of the 5th, also running for Senate, apparently decided to engage in a friendly battle for more Twitter followers.

This from Himes yesterday:
"I'm in. Bet is 10,000 cents. To a charity in winner's district"@ChrisMurphyCT: who gets more new followers next week, M-F. You in?"#bringit"
Then, Murphy weighed in today:
@Jahimes Got to BDL early for flight to DC - used time to sign up 27 people at Gate 9 as new followers.

Remember, the game is not who has more, but who gets more between now and Friday. Himes, you may be curious to know, has somewhat more followers than Murphy. Here are the standings so far.
Murphy: 3,052
Himes: 5,086

I should offer a bit of a disclaimer: I don't care who wins, and I am not suggesting that you should follow either of them on Twitter. I will, however, post something Friday about who wins, just in the interest if completeness. 

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Is Hyers leaving the state Democratic Party?

Rumors that Connecticut Democratic Party director Eric Hyers would be leaving his position are abounding right now, though no one will officially go on the record.
One source familiar with the state Democratic Party, who wished to remain nameless, said only that "I know he's leaving, but I don't know where he's going."
Jaclyn Falkowski, spokesperson for the party, when asked if Hyers is leaving, said she "can't confirm that at this time."
According to CTNewsJunkie, Hyers was one of 100 candidates who aimed for the job after Dan Kelly left his position as interim director.
And considering Hyers' resume, he could go anywhere.
Hyers, originally from Massachusetts, has worked on political campaigns in Rhode Island, New York, Iowa and Wyoming, CTNewsJunkie reported when, only 10 or so months ago, Hyers took the job.
He may be heading back to Rhode Island, where an NPR blogger has suggested Hyers will work again for Congressman David N. Cicilline's reelection campaign. Hyers was instrumental in Cicilline's initial bid for Congress, before coming to Connecticut, so it's possible.
Check this, from Ian Donnis' blog posting:
Footnote: Cicilline’s once and perhaps future campaign manager, Eric Hyers, is currently the executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Date set for Democratic senatorial debate

The Dems have agreed — three Democratic challengers for Senate will debate March 3 at the Norwich Free Academy.
The debate is sponsored by the Norwich Bulletin.
According to William Tong, "There are three candidates with very different life, professional, and legislative experiences, and voters deserve a chance to hear us explain why we want to represent them in the U.S. Senate."
Tong will debate Congressman Chris Murphy and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.
Lee Whitnum, a fourth Democratic challenger, will not, as of this moment, take part. 

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Malloy nominates six to Superior Court (release)

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced he has nominated six individuals to serve as judges on the Connecticut Superior Court, filling a portion of the 23 judicial vacancies on the court that currently exist due to retirements or elevations to higher courts.  The Governor selected the candidates based on their diverse experiences in various legal disciplines.
 "In selecting judicial nominees and reviewing the pool of candidates, it is necessary to choose individuals with the experience, temperament and skills to be thoughtful, reasoned and fair jurists," Governor Malloy said.  "With that in mind, it is also important that these individuals possess the qualities that mirror the residents of our state while also meeting the high principles and integrity our citizens deserve.  This group of nominees will serve the Superior Court and the citizens of Connecticut well in their capacities on the bench."
 Governor Malloy has nominated:
  *   Leeland J. Cole-Chu of Salem.  He is a partner with Cole-Chu & Cipparone in New London.  Cole-Chu received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in urban studies from Occidental College in California and a law degree from the University of San Francisco in 1978.  He formerly worked as Special Counsel to the City of Norwich, General Counsel to the Norwich Housing Authority, and as a State of Connecticut Mediator and Arbitrator representing the interests of the public in public school teacher and administrator contract disputes.
   *   Anna M. Ficeto of Wolcott.  She is Director of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority for the State of Connecticut.  Ficeto received a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1990.  She has held various leadership positions in state government, including within the Departments of Consumer Protection, Public Works and Administrative Services.  She also served as Chief Legal Counsel to Governor M. Jodi Rell.  Prior to her state service, Ficeto was an attorney with Jackson, O'Keefe & Phelan in Harford.
   *   Donna Nelson Heller of Riverside.  She is the senior partner in the Commercial Litigation Department of Finn Dixon & Herling in Stamford.  Heller received a Bachelor of Arts from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1980.  She formerly was associated with Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts in New York and Stamford.
   *   Raheem L. Mullins of Cromwell.  He is an Assistant State's Attorney in the appellate division of the Chief State's Attorney's Office.  Mullins received a Bachelor of Arts from Clark University and a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 2004.  He formerly was an Assistant Attorney General with the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General.
   *   Maureen McCabe Murphy of Middletown.  She is a partner with Murphy, Murphy & Nugent in New Haven.  Murphy received a Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary's College in Indiana, a Master of Science from Southern Connecticut State University, a law degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law in 1986 and a Master of Laws from New York University School of Law in 1990.  She formerly was an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law and an associate with Greenfield & Murphy.
   *   Kenneth B. Povodator of Fairfield.  He is an Assistant Corporation Counsel with the City of Stamford.  Povodator received a Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University in New York, a Master of Philosophy in chemistry from Yale University in New Haven, a law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1977 and a Master of Laws from the University of Bridgeport School of Law in 1985.  He formerly was an associate with Friedman, Mellitz & Newman in Fairfield and an associate with Zeldes, Needle & Cooper in Bridgeport.
 The Governor's nominees will receive legislative hearings in the Judiciary Committee before going to the full General Assembly for final confirmation votes.


On reproductive rights: The reader's perspective

Yesterday, I posted a letter sent by Congressional candidate Chris Donovan on the subject of reproductive rights. I asked what readers thought, and readers responded.
Below, you will find some of those responses, but I have put together an unscientific poll on the subject, and would love for readers to take the poll. If I get a few responses, I'll make the results of this poll available.

Here are some responses I received. The first is from fellow blogger Terry Cowgill, of CTEssentialPolitics.com, who graciously allowed me to use an email in this post.
"As the editor of a CT news site, I have my ears to the ground and I hear very few people complain about how reproductive freedoms are imperiled. It's on the radar screen for Donovan's left-wing base, but not the moderates he needs to win the 5th."

Here's one comment from an unidentified reader
"It's an issue he's addressing. It is far from the only issue. Thanks for the irrational distortion, Jordan."

This is from a comment sent by "Tessa Marquis"
"Women's reproductive rights are not a Democrat/Republican issue. Like all civil and human rights, it is non-partisan. Rather than looking for ways to be divisive, let's look for the common ground on this, and other, issues. PS Chris Donovan is not "pandering" - he is a lifelong supporter of women's reproductive rights and probably sent this email because Sunday is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade."

Here's a comment sent by "Sean Murphy"
"The Democrat Party is made up of an alliance of left leaning special interest groups: pro-abortion feminists, homosexuals, anti-gun confiscators, socialists, certain minority groups,... Any candidate on the Democrat side must pander to each of these groups."
This is from a comment from "Jaclyn"
"Donovan must be reading the tea leaves and hearing the whispers of MANY Democratic party insiders and veterans who are quite worried that his nomination will hand the open 5th district seat to the Republicans."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The small, small world of political fundraising

Follow this, if you can: A former campaign manager for Lisa Wilson-Foley now works for the firm that is doing Andrew Roraback's campaign fundraising.
Tiffany Romero Grossman, the first in what appears to be a series of four campaign managers, is now working on a contract basis for The PierceZappi Group, which counts Roraback as a client, though partner Robert Zappi said Grossman is in no way working on Roraback's campaign, saying she has "no responsibility, no input" — not that it would be illegal if she was, just unethical.
"It's good ethics, good values," he said.
After Grossman left the Wilson-Foley campaign for medical reasons (she couldn't devote the time that the campaign required, Zappi said), Chris Covucci was hired to run the campaign, but then he left to work on the Chris Coutu campaign in the 2nd district.
Coutu, by the way, also employs PierceZappi for his political fundraising.
Then, Courant blogger and columnist Rick Green reported that Chris Syrek, a veteran of the Tom Foley campaign (which also employed PierceZappi), was Wilson-Foley's new campaign manager.
Not quite true anymore.
Chris Healy, the one-time chief of the Connecticut Republican Party, and one-time head of Sebastian Giuliano's mayoral campaign in Middletown, when pressed, said he was the campaign manager for Wilson-Foley. And Syrek? He's the deputy campaign manager.
Follow all that?
"Typically, there are people who go from campaign to campaign," Zappi said.
Now, just to set the record straight, Zappi said his firm engages in fundraising and fundraising only.
"We're not doing any political consulting whatsoever," he said. "What a campaign manager would do, we don't provide that service."

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Donovan campaigns on protection of Roe v. Wade

Below is a letter sent by the Donovan campaign on women's "reproductive freedoms." The implication here — and I cite the following: "reproductive freedoms are at greater risk now than ever before" — is, vote for Donovan if you want to maintain your right to choose. I'd like to know what you think. 
This week is the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive freedoms are at greater risk now than ever before.
That’s why I’ve joined with Eric Griego from New Mexico and Ann McLane Kuster from New Hampshire, two other congressional candidates committed to protecting women's reproductive rights, to stand together in support of choice.
Help us deliver the message - click here to sign the open letter and then share it with your friends.Congressional Republicans have made clear their plan to attack women's health care and curtail women's reproductive freedoms. We need to win our election in November to ensure that we are represented by someone who will fight back against these attacks.
Here's my promise to you: I will never stop fighting to protect a woman’s freedom to choose and I will never stop fighting the radical Tea Party agenda.
Stand with me to protect a woman's right to choose - sign the letter today.Help us tell the Republican Congress that women's health care and reproductive freedoms are issues that we will fight for in 2012 - join us in standing up for women everywhere.
Thank you,
This might play very strongly with the electorate, but is it the issue Donovan should be addressing in the campaign? You tell me.

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Malloy and Blumenthal on the passing of Dr. Mel (releases)

Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman today released the following statement on the passing of Dr. Mel Goldstein.

“Dr. Mel was more than a meteorologist – with his charming character, warm smile and friendly personality, he became an icon in Connecticut and was loved by many. Over the years, he entered the homes of millions of residents and in many ways became a member of our own families. He dedicated his working life to ensuring that the residents of Connecticut were prepared for whatever tumultuous weather system may approach, and for that we are forever thankful. In true Dr. Mel fashion, he always handled himself with grace and dignity. We send our thoughts and condolences to his family, friends and staff at WTNH. He will be missed.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released the following statement today on the passing of Dr. Mel Goldstein:
“Dr. Mel was a dear friend and great public servant, who made every day brighter regardless of the weather. He committed his life to making others happier, and bringing sunshine into their lives through acts of kindness, small and large. He faced both life and death with profound and powerful grace, caring, and courage. I will miss him as a friend and model of humanity and humor.”

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DOE's Stefan Pryor proposes new positions

Connecticut Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor addressed the state Board of Education Wednesday, offering a new organization chart, with several new positions.
And the board unanimously approved it.
Pryor told the board that the new positions and organizational flow were in direct response to Gov. Dannel Malloy's six educational priorities. Malloy asked Pryer to prepare the groundwork for legislation that: creates more access for “high-quality early childhood education,” “authorizes the intensive interventions and enables the supports necessary to turn around” low performing school districts, “expands the availability of high-quality school models,” removes “red tape,” creates a “fair system that values skill and effectiveness over seniority and tenure” and “delivers more resources, targeted to districts with the greatest need.”
To that end, Pryor proposes creating new positions, among them a chief operating officer, to be tasked with coordinating between bureaus and across departments.
Immediately following the board's adoption of Pryor's revamped organizational structure, the commissioner proposed DOE Associate Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker for the position of chief operating officer, a proposal that drew applause from the board and was unanimously approved.
Pryor also proposes creating a new chief talent officer, a chief turnaround officer and a chief performance officer. 
The chief turnaround officer's job will be to "think all day" about how to help under-performing school districts, Pryor said.
"The majority of superintendents said we were not helping to close the achievement gap," Pryor told the board. "That has to change.
Though still a working title, the chief turnaround officer will be supported by a new bureau, called the Turnaround Team.
Also proposed is a merged certification and evaluation bureau, headed by the chief talent officer.
In total, there are nine bureaus or units being moved, two mergers and one new bureau creation — the Turnaround Team.
Pryor also said that the proposed reorganization will not cost taxpayers a dime extra.
"We are undertaking this reorganization under budget," he said.
Following Pryor's statements, board members by and large praised the organizational changes, member Stephen Wright saying that the plan went "beyond my wildest dreams."
Board member Joseph Vrabely Jr. said he in in favor of the proposals, but offered one concern.
"I like the plan, and I'm prepared to support this," Vrabely said. "But as we drive accountability, how do we measure accountability?"
Of course, it can't happen immediately. Pryor said a reorganization of this size would depend, to some degree, on the ability to find the right people for the proposed jobs.
"Implementation will require months, rather than weeks of work," he said.

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PURA will have to sign off on utilties merger

The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has decided — if Northeast Utilities and NSTAR want to merge, PURA will have to sign off on it first. 
A final decision issued Wednesday upholds a draft decision from Jan. 3. In it, PURA states that it is “legally obliged to review the proposed merger to ensure that after any resulting merger, Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) and Yankee (Yankee Gas Services Company) will have the qualifications and ability to provide safe, adequate, reliable and reasonably-priced services for Connecticut customers.” PURA ruled that “it must review and approve, with necessary or appropriate terms and conditions, or disapprove the proposed merger between NU and NSTAR.” 
According to a release:
The decision today reverses a previous PURA ruling which was under appeal by Connecticut’s Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC). In its decision, PURA cited new information provided by Connecticut’s Attorney General and the OCC as the reason for concluding it has jurisdiction to review the proposed utility company merger. This information was submitted as part of a proceeding (Docket Number 11-12-07) initiated by the NRG Companies that asked PURA to reconsider its previous ruling.
According to the decision, Attorney General George Jepsen also weighed in on the matter in PURA's favor.
Here's the rest of the release:
“The Authority (PURA) finds that all of these changes in management and ownership composition are changes that affect and impact the holding company corporate parent’s control and authority, including who makes the decisions concerning the policies and operations of CL&P and Yankee. Based on the foregoing, the Authority’s jurisdictional duty to review the proposed merger is triggered.”
In its decision, PURA said, “The Authority is mindful of certain milestones relating to the completion of the proposed merger and will dedicate all necessary staff resources to achieve a complete and thorough regulatory review consistent with that time schedule.” Upon receipt of an application concerning the merger, PURA will establish a docket and procedural schedule to expeditiously perform that review.
The full decision is below.
PURA NU Merger

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

McKinney: Reliance on tax revenue is the problem (release)

The below was sent as a response to Malloy's release on 4Q revenue:

State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield): "This is more proof that Governor Malloy's over reliance on tax increases was a failed approach to balancing the state budget in a responsible way.  When the largest tax increase in state history isn't enough to pay the bills, I hope everyone can agree that a significant reduction in the size and cost of government is in order."

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Malloy pledges to end the year 'in the black' (release)

In response to consensus revenue figures announced today by the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) and the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA), Governor Dannel P. Malloy directed OPM Secretary Ben Barnes to develop a budget management plan that will limit spending to available resources in FY12.<br>  "Last year at this time, we were staggering under the weight of a 3.5 billion dollar deficit," said Governor Malloy.  "As a result of the actions we took last year, we eliminated that deficit, and we did it honestly.  All today's announcement means is that, as is the case in other states with high wage earners, fourth quarter revenue is coming up short of expectations.  That's why today, I've instructed Secretary Barnes to pare back on current year expenses.  But let there be no confusion – we will end the current fiscal year in the black, and in a more stable fashion than this state has seen in many years."<br>  The agencies today announced an agreement on consensus revenue that shows a decline of $94.9 million in FY12 or one-half of one percent of the annual budget.  Additionally, the estimates for FY13 show a decline of $139 million or seven-tenths of a percent of the annual budget.<br>  According to OPM, the decline in revenue is almost entirely due to a decline in income tax revenue, particularly among higher income taxpayers that file quarterly returns, a trend that is occurring in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California.  The most likely explanation is that this is a result of taxpayers shifting capital gains and income as a result uncertainty at the federal level, specifically the uncertainty surrounding the extension of the Bush-Era tax cuts.  Declines in bonus levels in the financial service industry are also a contributing factor.<br>  The FY13 consensus revenues will be the basis for the Governor's mid-term adjustments, which will be announced on February 8. </p>

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Like This Page: Facebook 'likes' result in FEC complaint against Wilson-Foley

Could soliciting Facebook "likes" violate campaign finance law?
The Connecticut Conservative Coalition, operated, so its website says, by Sean Murphy, has apparently filed a complaint against Congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley, alleging that her campaign and her businesses have gotten a little too close for comfort.
According to Murphy,
"It seems that the actions of Wilson-Foley’s businesses have been giving something of value to the Lisa Wilson-Foley Congressional Campaign, as discussed in 114.1(a). The businesses have utilized Wilson-Foley in its advertisements, on its websites, and on its Facebook accounts."
The complaint goes on to talk about two commercials for Apple Rehab that feature the candidate. The commercials have been running on Fox News, which, as Murphy says, is known to be frequented by conservatives. Here are the videos:

And then there are the Facebook mentions. According to the complaint, Wilson-Foley is blending her personal, professional and political personas improperly on Facebook. The Facebook profile for one of her properties, Blue Fox Run Golf Course, posted this on its Facebook page, according to the complaint:
“If you get the chance please follow Lisa Wilson-Foley on her Facebook page wilsonfoley2012. She needs more friends.”
The social media question is perhaps the most interesting aspect. It's so easy to post the wrong thing to an account, seeing as many users have multiple profiles. Has the FEC made a determination on social media profile usage?

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Murphy announces more than $700,000 raised in 4th quarter

Below is the text of a release issued by the Murphy campaign today:
Because of your support in the final days of the fundraising quarter, we eclipsed our third quarter numbers and ended the year in perfect position to drive towards the convention, primary, and general election.
But, as I always stress, the amount of money we've raised is only the beginning of the story. Some of the most important numbers lie beneath the surface.

* $720,000 raised in the fourth quarter
* 82% of contributors from Connecticut
* 80% of contributions were $250 or less
* 1,200 new contributors

Take a look at our high resolution, street-level map of contributors and personal endorsers. It's an impressive view of the grassroots foundation that will carry our campaign to victory.
You can see the map here:
Since we launched, well over 10,000 people from Connecticut have joined the campaign as contributors or personal endorsers. That means an average of more than 30 people a day are signing up to get involved as part of Team Murphy.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dirty politics becomes clean campaigning

So, let’s get this cleared up, straight away. Brian K. Hill is not a Muslim. I think he’s a Presbeterian. He’s certainly Christian.
But the unfortunate and sad tale of journalistic woe that led to me writing that first paragraph seems to have a happy ending: A cleaner election.
The blogger known only as “The King” started it all. In his blog, The King’s View, the unnamed and obvious Tea Party supporter wrote the following. I hesitate to include the graph, but will, in the interest of completeness:
“I attended a political event a few days ago, and one of Linda McMahon's campaign staffers (no, I'm not going to print her name here) was asked what she thought of Brian K. Hill's entry into the U.S. Senate Race.  The McMahon staffer went on a sarcastic tirade about this and that (mostly making comments about Hill's "inexperience" - go figure on that one), and then in the end made the trite comment... "and he's [Hill] a Muslim anyway."  My jaw dropped to the floor. The other people standing around just sort of went silent.”

That graph was republished (and tweeted) several times and, at the behest of the McMahon campaign, removed from Courant blogger Rick Green’s site (the mobile version is still available). I went ahead and asked Hill about it, and he laughed.
Then, Hill sent an email, saying that he received a call from McMahon, with whom he is battling for the GOP Senate nom, and the McMahon had “expressed concern” over the incident.
She assured me that no such event happened and further went on to say that she would not campaign in that fashion. I take Mrs. McMahon at her word, and appreciate her calling me,” Hill wrote. “We have agreed to run a positive, spirited, issues-oriented debate in the primary, and I look forward to that debate.”
And just so you know, dear reader, McMahon’s campaign staff has confirmed the above. Yes, Linda did call Hill, yes she assured him that no member of her staff would have said such a thing and, yes, they have agreed to run a clean campaign.
Of course, we’ll see on that last one. But it’s nice to know that what appeared to be the dirtiest of politics has turned into what appears to be the best of intentions.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Lesser considering senate run

Matt Lesser, state rep and active Twitter user, is considering a run for the state senate, so says the Middletown press.

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Malloy: Like it or not, online gambling is coming to Connecticut

Online gambling is coming, whether or not Connecticut wants it to.
That was the message Gov. Dannel Malloy attempted to get across during an impromptu press conference on the subject Monday.
And Malloy was not shy about his distaste for gambling in general.
“I grew up in an America where there was one place to gamble,” Malloy said. “And I kinfd of like that America.”
But, like it or not, online gambling is on its way. Malloy said there is no indication that Congress will try to block a recent legal opinion on the wire act made by the Department of Justice that opens the door to gambling online, be it lottery or online poker.
“Internet gaming is coming to Connecticut,” Malloy said. “We’re going to have Internet gambling … in all 50 states. You don’t stop the Internet at any state’s borders.”
Both of the state’s two casinos have been getting into the fray, suggesting that they might want a piece of the pie. Should the state want to tax it, or limit it, though, the compact with the tribes that guarantees them exclusivity (and a 25 percent cut on all video slots) will most likely have to be reopened.
So the question might be if Internet poker is considered akin to video slots, which could lead to a court case, similar to the case that, under the Weicker administration, created the compact in the first place.
But, whatever happens, it’s gotta happen soon, Malloy said. New Jersey may be on the verge of passing legislation, and the governor said his own recommendations on the subject won’t be too far behind, though he declined to give any details.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Response from Malloy administration on "the will of the people"

Andrew Doba, spokesperson for Gov. Dannel Malloy, sent the following statement in response to Sen. Joe Markley's call in this post:
“Information relating to state vendors has always been publicly available under our freedom of information laws. The names, addresses and payment information relating to state vendors, such as personal care attendants, cannot be withheld. In fact, every year the Yankee Institute requests it, and republishes it on an online database.
“Is the Senator recommending that we keep secret how the state spends taxpayer money?”
As background, Doba offers the following link:

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Delegation to Governor Malloy: Stop Ignoring the Will of the People (release)

Hartford, CT - Senators Joe Markley, Jason Welch and Representative Rob Sampson urge the Administration to not hand over private Personal Care Attendant (PCA) lists to SEIU.
"The Governor has created working groups and a council to look into how best to structure collective bargaining rights and relationships for personal care attendants. But what we see now is the intent was simply to provide a rubber stamped road map to unionize these workers," said Senator Markley. "None of the groups have even had the chance to examine the issue carefully and yet the unionization process has begun."
At a recent Personal Care Attendant and Quality Homecare Workforce Council meeting it was clear the group was not comfortable with the Executive Order language stating private information of PCA's be released to the union.
 "Despite the obvious conflicts with federal and state laws regarding who constitutes an employer, the employer/employee relationship, community of interest, the unionization process and collective bargaining, as well as the clear lack of executive authority for any of it, this process continues to march forward," said Rep. Sampson. "This week we have learned the Governor is handing over the names of more than 8,000 Personal Care Attendants to SEIU.   It's clear that this is just simply part of a nationwide effort to create more dues-paying members. " added Representative Sampson.
This type of coordination has been attempted in fifteen states. Some have resisted it successfully; the delegation says they will continue to fight it here in Connecticut.
"The process has been suspect from the start, beginning with Governor Malloy's executive order, which ignored the will and the authority of the legislature," remarked Senator Markley. "Now the administration is turning its back on PCA's and disabled residents, who have traveled to the Capitol numerous times in the last few weeks to testify before the working groups and council – pleading with members to leave the intimate working relationship between PCA's and the disabled and elderly alone."
Senator Welch says, "Handing over these private PCA names and addresses is ignoring the will of the people. It's a predestined decision: pay dues to a union, and accept the deal negotiated no matter if you want to be in a union or not."
Cathy Ludlum, from Manchester knows all too well the how this Executive Order will affect the quality of life for so many. "Money and benefits are important, of course, but attracting and retaining QUALITY workers involves so much more.  I should know.  Due to a severe physical disability, I have only the use of three fingers, my five senses, my voice, and my brain; I use a power wheelchair.  Yet I have been living independently with the support of my personal assistants since 1992," said Ludlum.
"I have a staff of approximately 12: eight part-time assistants per week and four backups.  Their average time with me is about three years because they graduate or move on to accomplish other dreams, but some have stayed for close to a decade.  No one here feels trapped," she added.
"I offer perks such as training, experience, and access to a network full of opportunities.  I make sure I always have enough support so that people can have time off whenever they need it."  Ludlum concluded by saying, "We celebrate each other's successes; we mourn one another's losses.  We work as a team and we function like a family."
If there is a movement for unionization, the delegation believes it should come from the people in the industry, not be imposed by the Governor in league with SEIU.

Letter to Gov on Exec Order 10

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Roraback wants probe of D-SNAP investigation

HARTFORD — Three state senators have written a letter to Gov. Dannel Malloy, formally asking that the administration's investigation into alleged food stamp fraud be handled by a third-party investigator.
State Sen. Andrew Roraback, also running for a seat in the state’s 5th Congressional district, Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, and Sen. Kevin C. Kelley sent a letter to Malloy Thursday calling for a probe into how the Malloy administration has been handling its investigation into alleged food stamp fraud.
Attorney Rich Rochlin, who says he represents some of the 44 state employees currently accused of defrauding the state’s D-SNAP program after Tropical Storm Irene, said names and Social Security numbers of about 90 workers in a state subpoena processed by the bank were released to other state workers.
"We write to encourage you to refer this matter as soon as possible to the chief State's Attorney's Office," the letter from Roraback and Markley says. "We make this request out of our strong belief that public confidence as to the integrity of any investigation can only be secured if the investigation is undertaken by an independent, third party law enforcement entity."
In an interview earlier this week with radio host Dan Lovallo, Roraback, R-Goshen, said if the allegations made by Rochlin are true — “the governor has committed a grave disservice.  People may have broken the law and they should be held accountable, but that doesn’t give the government the right to publicly disclose a personal number.”
Roraback said the investigation should be taken out of the hands of the governor, the Department of Social Services and the state police, and be put squarely in the lap of the chief’s state’s attorney’s office.

Roraback Markley Letter

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Roraback: "Hundreds" of individuals have donated from the 5th

Sen. Andrew Roraback announced his candidacy rather late in the game — in mid-October — so the financial disclosure he, and other candidates are preparing for the Jan. 31 deadline is his first.
Go on to the Federal Election Commission website and you'll see it: A big fat zero next to Roraback's name. 
But, according to Roraback, that's not going to be the case much longer.
"I've been raising lots of money," Roraback said, though he declined to give specifics. It's also worth noting that no candidate it likely to say that fundraising is going terribly. 
Nonetheless, it's a fair comparison to look at Roraback's Republican contenders and, in particular, Lisa Wilson-Foley. She posted receipts totaling $613,361, with $457,031 cash on hand. Of course, 49.14 percent of it came from her own personal account. (She also posted $300,000 of debt.)
Mark Greenberg posted considerably less that Wilson-Foley, so far $234,739 in receipts and $100,284 cash on hand (with $100,000 of debt), 14.97 percent of which came from his own pockets.
Justin Bernier, as of the last filing, posted $381,765 in receipts (so says the FEC) and $191,216 cash on hand, with only $7,501 — that puts him at the top of the fundraising ladder, having out-raised other Republican candidates in the last quarter, according to his campaign staff.
If Roraback is right, it's clear that once the next report is filed, the fundraising game for Republicans in the 5th district could change.
"When the report is released I think people will learn that I have been able to secure the very generous support of hundreds of people throughout the 5th district," he said. "It will reveal that I've met with a great deal of success."

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Bysiewicz on video: Her plan for reform

Former secretary of the state and current Senate candidate Susan Bysiewicz has posted a video, outlining her plan to "reform" Washington, which as we knew, dealt with the role of lobbyists.
According to a release, " In 2010, there were 12,951 registered federal lobbyists – that’s almost 25 per member of Congress. 370 of them are former members of Congress themselves. Combined, lobbyists spent $3.51 Billion to influence Congress. It is no surprise that the same year, Congress created 9,129 earmarks costing taxpayers $16.5 Billion."
Her plan also addresses a permanent ban on earmarks; public disclosure of all meetings with lobbyists; a five-year ban on Members of Congress and staff from becoming lobbyists; a constitutional amendment to prevent campaign donations from corporations; independent commissions to draw Congressional districts; and a ban on campaign-style mail financed by taxpayers.

Susan Bysiewicz: Real Reform In Washington from Susan's Plan on Vimeo.

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Connecticut, as seen from the air

Posted a few days ago, the below videos show a trip in a small plane from Bridgeport to Oxford.
Flying over Connecticut. Here's a link to the user's Youtube channel. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Violence against teachers

CEA, the state's largest teachers' union, unveiled a plan for education reform today. Many were perhaps surprised to find proposals that would, at least on their face, ramp up teacher accountability and make it easier to fire under-performing teachers.
It also seeks to protect them, and not from prosecution or dismissal, but from physical violence.
Citing statistics that say, in Connecticut, violence against school staff is happening more often than nationally,
"In 2009-10, there were 836 reported incidents of physical altercations, fighting, or battery directed against certified school staff. In 2010-11, the number grew to 1,021. In addition, there were 507 reports of physical aggression against other, non-certified staff, including substitute teachers during that same school year."
the report suggests strengthening existing penalties for principals who do not report incidents of violence to the police, in defiance of state law, and offer teachers the same legal protections afforded to nurses, social workers and bus drivers.
The law, you see, "does not have any enforcement mechanism, and thus it is often ignored by administrators, leaving teachers without any real recourse," the report says, and the teachers — sometimes good ones, who feel threatened and fear repercussions, choose to leave the profession rather than address the issue with police.

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Chris Murphy has a G+ page

Most — if not all — candidates have a Facebook page. Most — if not all — candidates have a Twitter feed.
But, to my knowledge, Chris Murphy is the only candidate to have a page on Google+, though he hasn't been posting very much to it.
If I'm wrong, and you know of another candidate using Google+, let me know.
Analyst Paul Allen said that there will be 400 million people on the social networking site by the end of 2012, but if that will held Murphy in his bid for the U.S. Senate remains to be seen.
(Oh, and by the way, I have a Google+ page, too.)

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