Professor Lieberman

by Categorized: Education, Joe Lieberman Date:

Napolitano, Mueller Testify At Senate Homeland Security Committee HearingBY MATTHEW Q. CLARIDA

Former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman will teach a course this academic year at Yeshiva University in New York.

Lieberman has been appointed to an endowed teaching chair named for him, and will give three public lectures in addition to teaching one undergraduate course. The university said that the lectures will be on topics “ranging from Judaism to public service and the Middle East.”

Lieberman’s chair was endowed by a gift from two major supporters of the school, Ira and Ingeborg Rennert.

“I am very honored that Yeshiva University is establishing this Chair, deeply grateful that Ira and Ingeborg Rennert are making it possible, and personally surprised that YU and the Rennerts have asked me to be the first occupant of the chair,” Lieberman said in the press release. “I am excited about working with the students at YU to engage and inform their interest in public policy and public service.”

Lieberman spent 24 years representing the state in the U.S. Senate and served in the state Senate for 10 years and as the state attorney general for six years. He sought the vice presidency in 2000, running with Albert A. Gore, and lost after a controversial recount in Florida and a divided ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Murphy: Re-Authorize Export-Import Bank

by Categorized: Banks, Chris Murphy, Trade Date:


Sen. Chris Murphy toured a factory in Bristol on Friday and called on congressional colleagues to reauthorize the recently controversial Export-Import Bank.

Murphy, a Democrat, said that, if necessary, he will move for a temporary re-authorization of the bank, but that he prefers a long-term agreement in order to insure that the bank can make long-term deals and commitments. Some Republicans, particularly in the House, have challenged the bank’s purpose and appear poised to oppose re-authorization.

The Ex-Im bank provides financing to support international transactions involving American businesses. The bank has come under fire for its support of major corporations, such as Boeing Inc., which has received financing assistance to sell planes to foreign carriers, angering at least one American airline, Delta. But proponents of the bank point out that the majority of the bank’s transactions — though not necessarily the majority of its funds — involve small businesses.

In a press conference call before touring Bauer Inc., a Bristol company that manufactures aircraft parts, Murphy said that the Em-Im bank is good for Connecticut businesses.

“The benefit doesn’t just flow to GE and Sikorsky,” Murphy said. “Sikorsky has a network of hundreds of suppliers all throughout the state who benefit from that financing as well.”

While some have argued that economic theory does not support the mission of the Ex-Im bank — these people claim that the bank simply finances projects that the private sector would probably support otherwise — Murphy tried to give the issue more context.

“We need to live in the real world, and the real world involves all of our competitors offering similar types of financing and guarantees,” he said. “The reality is the advantage that the Ex-Im bank gives in providing relatively low rates of finance is necessary because the same advantage is available to our competitors.”

Penny Pritzker, the federal commerce secretary, was also on the call. She said that the Ex-Im bank gives small businesses a chance when the private sector may not.

“If I’m a small business dealing with a more local or regionalized bank, it’s very difficult for that loan office to get their arms around the credit risk that they’re taking,” she said. “[The Ex-Im bank] is a really critical piece of the financing chain.”

Candidates On The Outs

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Chris Christie, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy agrees with Republican rival Tom Foley that Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, who is challenging Foley in the GOP’s Aug. 12 gubernatorial primary, should drop out of the race.

Thing is, Malloy also wants Foley out.

“I did note that Mr. Foley called on Mr. McKinney to get out of the race,” Malloy said Thursday with a grin. “I want to join Mr. Foley and call on both of them to get out of the race.”

It is unlikely that Foley, who came within 6,404 votes of defeating Malloy in 2010, will take up the governor’s offer. So on Friday, Malloy took a minute to throw a jab at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who visited the state this week to stump and raise money for Foley.

“Let me point something out: Republicans brought Gov. Christie into our state, and just so you know, New Jersey has no dollars in the rainy day fund, we’re shortly going to be bouncing up to about $400 million,” Malloy said, ticking off a list of areas where, he says, Connecticut is superior to New Jersey, including bond ratings and pension funding.

There is little love lost between Christie and Malloy, who have sparred on the cable television circuit and in their public statements since Malloy took office in 2011.

More From Malloy On Migrant Children

by Categorized: Children and Families, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Immigration Date:


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Friday that the federal government has not made new requests for Connecticut to house immigrant children in state facilities.

Malloy, who earlier this month rejected a federal request to put up undocumented children at the Southbury Training School, said that while the state has examined a former Gateway Community College facility in New Haven, that evaluation was purely exploratory. It revealed, Malloy said, that the building lacks a sprinkler system and has other issues and is not suitable to house children.

Still, the governor reiterated that the federal government has not made a new request for housing assistance.

“[The federal government is] not asking us to do anything, so I don’t have any plans with respect to the use of that building,” Malloy said of the Gateway facility. He also emphasized his belief that “I don’t think we should be warehousing children.”

Instead, Malloy supports the placing of children in family settings. He reported on Thursday that the federal government has made 325 such placements in Connecticut.

“Those are placements by the federal government, so those are not placements that we are involved with,” he said, adding that the state has “communicated and will continue to communicate with the federal government should they need our assistance.”

In a 20-minute press conference after a meeting of the State Bond Commission, Malloy spent most of his time answering questions about immigration, which has become a national issue as federal authorities have asked states to take in, on a temporary basis, some of the thousands of children who have streamed across the southwestern border since Jan. 1.

Malloy insisted that while he wants to help the federal government, he is determined to keep state resources flowing to Connecticut residents.

“We have [our own] children that we need to place in foster facilities,” he said. “[The federal effort] mirrors what we are doing and it doesn’t take away [from the state’s responsibilities].”


Fedele Endorses Walker For Lieutenant Governor

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Connecticut, David Walker Date:


Former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele today endorsed David M. Walker, the Republican who hopes to be the next occupant of the third-floor office now occupied by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

Fedele photo_QB63322.jpgFedele served under Gov. M. Jodi Rell from 2007 to 2010 and ran unsuccessfully for the Republican gubernatorial nomination against Tom Foley in 2010. He announced the endorsement Thursday morning at Stamford Old Town Hall, three weeks after endorsing Foley for governor.

“Dave will bring bold change and real leadership to the Capitol,” Fedele said. “Dave has over 40 years of public, private and non-profit-sector leadership, including 10 years as comptroller general of the United States, which makes him by far the most qualified candidate to help create a comeback in Connecticut.  Dave can work with the next governor to help grow the economy, create jobs and put our state’s finances in order.”

Walker accepted the praise in stride, and returned it.

Fedele “knows first-hand the type of person Connecticut needs to serve as lieutenant governor in these challenging times,” Walker said.

Walker has not been shy about his experience at the federal level. In June, he told the Working Families Party that he wasn’t simply chasing the honor of being called “lieutenant governor” “because I’ve had better titles.”

The three candidates for the GOP’s nomination for lieutenant governor are Walker, former Groton Mayor Heather Somers and Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, R-Stafford. The trio will be in West Hartford tonight for a debate-style segment with NBC Connecticut, scheduled to air on Sunday.

Walker has pooled funds with Republican gubernatorial hopeful John McKinney, the Republican senator from Fairfield who is considered an underdog against Tom Foley. In Connecticut, there is no official “ticketing” in the primary round, meaning Walker and McKinney won’t appear together on the ballot.

Fedele is now CEO of Pinnacle Group, an information technology company he founded.


Money Slated For Walk Bridge Repairs

by Categorized: Bridge Repairs, Transportation Date:


The State Bond Commission is expected to approve $3 million in funds on Friday for immediate repairs to the faulty Walk Railroad Bridge that carries the Northeast Corridor rail line over the Norwalk River.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who chairs the commission, announced the docketing of the money in a release on Thursday afternoon. Once placed on the committee’s agenda, requests approved by the governor usually pass.

The funds come after a rough summer over the Norwalk River. Metro-North trains were significantly delayed on two occasions in two weeks because of malfunctions of the 118-year-old bridge, which uses an antiquated swing system to allow high-clearance craft to pass through.

“The New Haven Line is the busiest commuter rail line in America and one malfunctioning bridge can disrupt the entire Northeast Corridor. Because our customers – and our economy – rely on this system every day, we are implementing these fixes to increase reliability in the near term until the full replacement of the Walk Bridge can begin,” Malloy said in the release.

Accompanying the announcement was a report that documented the failures of the span and recommended short- and medium-term fixes. In April, Malloy asked the federal government for $360 million to replace the bridge.

James P. Redeker, the state’s transportation commissioner, said that the money will fund a number of fixes, including electronic switches for the tracks on the bridge, a readjustment of poorly aligned gears and shafts, and the replacement of some of the rollers on which the span pivots.

The State Bond Commission meets Friday at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building and is expected to approve more than $700 million in docketed bonding requests.

Connecticut Science Center Launching New Expansion Plan With $4 Million State Grant

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Just five years after it opened, the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford is scheduled to get an additional $4 million state grant this week to launch an ambitious 10-year plan to expand and upgrade the center’s exhibits and facilities.

State officials said some of the center’s expansion plans include creating more educational lab space, transforming one portion of the existing building into a greenhouse and butterfly conservatory, and paying off debts relating to the center’s heating, cooling and ventilation systems.

Connecticut Science Center photo.

Connecticut Science Center photo.

The additional funding for the heating and cooling system drew questions from two Republican senators, L. Scott Franz of Greenwich and Rob Kane of Watertown. They wrote to Gov. Dannel Malloy this week asking for more information about why money was needed for a heating and cooling system that was only five years old.

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Bacchiochi Abruptly Fires Campaign Aide Over Statement on ‘White Privilege’

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Chris Christie Date:


Lt. Gov. candidate Penny Bacchiochi, whose campaign has been involved in various controversies, fired a paid campaign consultant Thursday after she made comments on Facebook.

The issue arose when another candidate, Heather Bond Somers, called upon Bacchiochi to disavow the “defamatory comments’’ by consultant Regina V. Ross Roundtree that involved “outrageous assertions about Heather Somers and her campaign.’’

Roundtree was still employed Thursday as the urban affairs coordinator for Republican Tom Foley’s campaign for governor.

Penny Bacchiochi campaign photo.

Penny Bacchiochi campaign photo.

“While a Republican primary may become very heated over the discussion of a candidate’s record and vision there is no place for the personal, divisive and defamatory assertions which are becoming common from the Bacchiochi camp,’’ said a statement released by Jon Conradi, the Somers campaign manager. “The Heather Somers campaign calls on Bacchiochi to immediately disavow herself of these divisive comments which have no place in the Republican Party or in public discourse.’’

In a posting under her name that has since been taken down from Facebook, Roundtree wrote, “People think what they think but help the party out and don’t plaster your complete sense of privilege. This is an example of what is sometimes phrased as “white privilege.’’ The way Heather talks. The arrogance and belittlement of Penny’s and her family’s feelings or any other person who has experienced racism. Our feelings or the fact that we may say something is an embarrassment to the party.’’

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Political Tweeting Wars

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:


Dave Walker, a Republican hopeful for lieutenant governor, was caught in traffic on Wednesday night. Like most frustrated drivers, he wanted someone to blame.

“Sitting at a dead stop on I-95 in #CT at 10:00 PM,” Walker wrote. “It’s time to fire #Malloy!” Yes, that Malloy.

David Walker, Hartford Courant photo.

David Walker, Hartford Courant photo.

If you don’t follow Walker, don’t worry: the people at the Connecticut Democratic Party are on top of it. About an hour later, the CT Dems, account tweeted back at Walker, questioning his judgment for using his cell phone while behind the wheel.

“Kind of reckless to be tweeting while driving, no?”

After Walker insisted that he had been “at a dead stop,” the Dems responded with a link to the state’s cell phone laws, which don’t list being stopped as an exemption to the regulation prohibiting cell phone use behind the wheel.

“You might want to review this when you are not behind the wheel,” the Dems wrote.

You can read the whole conversation here:

The Twitter chain drew over a dozen responses from figures including veteran Capitol reporter Ken Dixon of the Connecticut Post, who advised Walker to follow the DOT on Twitter for construction updates.

“Thanks but it is evident that #DOT is grossly mismanaged in #CT. Many times there are few, if any, people working,” Walker wrote, adding later: “If you drove I-95 regularly, studied #CT’s financials, and were aware of the state of our infrastructure, you would know.”

Capitol Watch has reached out to the Connecticut DOT for comment. We’ll let you know when we hear back

McKinney: “We Are Not Leaving This Race.”

by Categorized: 2014 Election, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:

Republican John McKinney says he is not leaving the governor’s race, despite a call from his GOP rival Tom Foley to drop out.

Foley, who won the endorsement of Republican insiders at the state party convention in May, said McKinney should abandon his quest to win the party’s nomination. “I think the right thing for John to do is to drop out of the race and endorse me, and I hope he does it,” Foley told The Day of New London’s editorial board.


McKinney flatly rejected Foley’s call.

“Obviously, Tom Foley’s polling is telling him the same thing ours is telling us: this race is now competitive,” McKinney said. “After a disastrous debate performance and an unwillingness to give voters a straight answer on any important issue, voters are turning toward our plan for spending reductions and real tax relief.

“I appreciate that having taken over the state party machine, Tom would like to dictate the outcome of this primary instead of engaging me on the issues.

“We are not leaving this race.”