Author Archives: Daniela Altimari

Larson Says Congress Should Come Back to Work to Address Crisis in Iraq

by Categorized: John B. Larson Date:

With U.S. poised to once again ramp up its involvement in Iraq, Rep. John Larson is calling on Congress to abandon the rest of its recess and return to work.

““The extreme violence and latest political unrest witnessed in Iraq has brought to light old and new questions about the region,” Larson said in a statement issued Tuesday. “As President Obama’s administration weighs several options, Congress should be fully engaged.

“Rather than remaining at home second guessing and criticizing the President’s every move, Congress should be back in Washington and fully briefed. It remains unclear with regard to strikes in Syria whether the President needs Congressional authority. It is Congress’s duty to weigh in and clarify. As this serious situation continues to evolve, Congress has the responsibility to examine the issues and potentially vote on authorizing military force,” Larson said.

His statement comes a day after Sen. Tim Kane of Virginia renewed his call for a roll call vote on U.S. military action in Iraq.

Larson said it is important for Congress to address the issue. “There is no question that Americans are weary of war,” the Democrat from Connecticut’s 1st District said. Given the gravity of the situation, their elected Representatives should be in Washington, working through these issues.”


Dem Mayor Implies Foley Sold His “Soul to the Devil”

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Gun control, Tom Foley Date:

As part of their continued quest to portray Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley as an enemy of gun control, Connecticut Democrats arranged a conference call Tuesday to allow Democratic mayors and first selectmen to speak out.

Throughout the half-hour call, speakers praised Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as “courageous” for his willingness to take on gun rights groups after the 2012 Newtown school shootings. By contrast, they criticized Foley, who they say would repeal the state’s sweeping new gun control law.

“It’s unconscionable to me that Tom Foley would sell his soul to the devil,” East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said.

Leclerc and others on the call criticized Foley for his alliance with the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, a statewide fun owners group. She cited news reports that the CCDL would endorse Foley because he supports repealing the gun laws.

“If he’s making these type of promises, I can’t imagine what kind of promises he’d make [if] he has the keys to the governor’s mansion,” Leclerc said. “For Tom Foley to say he would veto the gun law….[that] should make every single person think about what else he would do.”

Chris Cooper, a spokesman for the Foley campaign, said the Democrats’ relentless focus on the gun issue is a an attempt to change the subject from Malloy’s economic record.

“This is another distraction by desperate Dan Malloy who does not want to talk about his record of Connecticut’s largest tax increase, unusually slow job growth and budget gimmicks. Tom Foley has never said he would seek to repeal the gun bill,” Cooper said.

Foley has not advocated for repeal of the gun bill. However, when asked about it at a

CCDL meeting in January, Foley said: “If the legislature was so inclined — the chances of that happening this year is probably the definition of zero — if I were governor and the legislature put in front of me legislation that would reduce the burden on law-abiding gun owners, I would sign it.”

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Esty Release First Ad of 2014 Cycle

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Elizabeth Esty Date:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty of the 5th District has released her first ad of the 2014 cycle. It’s a warm and fuzzy spot that features a Danbury veteran who praises Esty’s constituent service.

Esty is locked in a tough reelection battle with Republican Mark Greenberg in the 5th, which is widely seen as the most conservative of Connecticut’s congressional districts.

The National Republican Congressional Committee called the ad “nothing short of deceptive.” Matt Gorman, director of rapid response for the NRCC, says Esty voted against a bill that would have reduced the backlog at VA hospitals “while voting to allow members of Congress, like herself, taxpayer-funded healthcare for life.”

Greenberg’s spokesman Bill Evans also released a statement: “In a campaign ad, we wouldn’t expect Elizabeth Esty to lay out how bad her record is on veterans’ issues. But the reality is that she was silent for months during the VA scandal, never called for Shinseki’s resignation and remained silent — until she voted against helping reduce the backlog of disabled veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Between now and November, Esty will hopefully explain her poor record on veterans’ issues to the voters in discussions longer than 30-second ads,” Evans said.

Ready for Warren House Party in Torrington

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

INBOX: Democratic State Central Committee Member Audrey Blondin of Torrington is hosting a “Ready for Warren” house party.

“This event is one of approximately 25 events being held throughout the country on Thursday evening to bring together supporters of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for President 2016 and encourage Senator Warren to run,” according to an email sent by Blondin last week.

The event, which will run from 7:30 to 9 p.m., will be held at Blondin’s law office, 379 Prospect St., Torrington. The public is invited.

Esty Receives Backing of National Veterans Group

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty Date:

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s reelection effort is a getting a boost from a non-partisan national veterans publication.



Veterans Vision, which is published by the Center for American Homeless Veterans, cited Esty’s advocacy on behalf of veterans. The Democrat seeking a second term will face Republican businessman Mark Greenberg in November.

Major Brian Hampton, founder of Center For the American Homeless Veteran, called Esty “a true champion for our American veterans.” UPDATE: As noted on CT Capitol Report, the group was ranked number 40 on the Tampa Bay Times list of America’s worst charities, based on the amount of money spent on solicitation.

Earlier this year, Esty, along with U.S. Reps. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island and Mike Michaud of Me., introduced legislation that would increase access to services for caregivers of veterans and members of the military.

Esty was also part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who worked to ensure veterans receive medical care in the aftermath of disclosure of problems at VA medical facilities.

“I am honored today to receive the endorsement of Veterans’ Vision,” Esty said. “As a daughter of a Navy veteran, one of the greatest honors I have is the opportunity to serve those who have sacrificed so much for our country. I’m proud to have led successful efforts in Congress to ensure that veterans have access to the medical care and services they deserve, and I’m committed to doing all I can for our veterans who bravely served and selflessly sacrificed in defense our great nation.”

Foley On Biden’s Visit

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Tom Foley Date:

Vice President Joe Biden in Connecticut to raise money and boost Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s reelection campaign, his Republican rival said he doesn’t think visits from high-profile surrogates will play a role in the governor’s race.

foley over


“Listen I think that people are either with Gov. Malloy and they think he’s doing a good job or they think he’s had his chance and things haven’t worked out very well and they’re going to vote for me,” Tom Foley told reporters in Watertown Tuesday night.

“And I don’t think people are going to be swayed [by] other politicians, even prominent politicians, who come in from out of state,” Foley said.

“A governor’s race is kind of a unique race. A Senate race, a congressional race, if a president comes in or a vice president comes in and says, ‘I need your vote to help me run the federal government’ that’s a very different arguement from somebody coming in and saying, ‘We need a Democrat governor in Connecticut.’

“So I don’t really think it will mean a whole lot in the outcome of the race,” Foley added.


Visconti Officially Qualifies for the November Ballot

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Joe Visconti, Jonathan Pelto Date:

Gubernatorial candidate Joe Visconti has qualified for the November ballot.

visconti pic

Visconti, a former member of the West Hartford town council, was notified by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill this afternoon.

Visconti started out as a Republican but petitioned his way onto the ballot by collecting 7,500 signatures.

No word yet on whether former state legislator Jonathan Pelto, another petitioning candidate, has qualified.



Stefan Pryor Won’t Serve Second Term As Education Chief

by Categorized: Education Date:

StefanPryorStefan Pryor, the controversial state education commissioner, will leave his post and is “actively seeking new professional opportunities,” according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office.

Pryor informed the governor Monday that he will not serve a second term. “Having served for nearly three fulfilling years as commissioner, I have decided to conclude my tenure by the end of this administration’s current term and to pursue new professional opportunities,” Pryor said. “Because I believe it’s important to communicate my decision proactively to the governor and the public, I am doing so now.”

The announcement indicated that Pryor’s move was his own choice. But a prominent Malloy critic said the truth is that Malloy has decided to “send…Pryor packing” — in an election-year attempt to distance the governor from Pryor, and reconcile with public school teachers alienated by both Pryor and the Malloy administration’s education policies.

“It’s a late and overdue political maneuver to try desperately to convince teachers ,parents and public school advocates to vote for him,” said the critic, Jonathan Pelto, an independent candidate for governor who is trying to petition his way onto the November ballot.

Pelto said the move won’t win back any votes for Malloy from disaffected teachers and parents, “because Pryor is but one piece of a broader, anti-public-schools agenda.”

Pryor has become a political liability for Malloy, with the Republican leader in the state Senate — John McKinney — calling for his removal. A champion of charter schools, Pryor was also criticized by some education union officials. That criticism was turned up after a series of embarrassing revelations involving a charter school operator that he had once embraced.

On Monday, Malloy publicly praised Pryor. “Commissioner Pryor has worked hard and well on behalf of Connecticut students. In the three years he’s led the department, we’ve taken tremendous steps forward to improve education, with a particular focus on the districts that have long needed the most help. We needed someone who could act as a change agent, and Stefan fulfilled that role admirably. And we’re seeing strong results. Graduation rates have gone up each of the last four years, national high school tests show that Connecticut students are leading among participating states in reading and math, and that we are making real progress in closing the achievement gap.

“It has been a pleasure working with Stefan,” Malloy said. “His energy, intellect, and work ethic are exemplary. I wish him well in his next endeavor, and I want to thank him for his service.”

However, Pelto — whose petition forms are now being examined by election officials to determine if he has the 7,500 signatures from registered voters required to get on the ballot — issued a statement saying:

Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s decision to send Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor packing is long overdue, but it is still great news for Connecticut’s  public school students, parents, teachers and taxpayers.

 As a leading proponent of the corporate education reform industry, Stefan Pryor and his team of anti-teacher, pro-standardized testing, privatization zealots have done immeasurable harm to Connecticut’s public education system.

 While Governor Malloy remains the only Democratic governor in the nation to propose doing away with teacher tenure and repealing collective bargaining for teachers in so called ‘turnaround schools,” one would hope that he is finally recognizing that his anti-teacher, pro-charter school, pro-Common Core agenda is bad news for Connecticut public schools or, at the very least, a political disaster for him has he aspires to a second term in office.

When it comes to actually supporting Connecticut’s public schools, Malloy’s true intentions remain unknown, but Pryor’s departure is a small step in the right direction.

A Battle is Brewing for Independent Party Nomination

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Jonathan Pelto, Tom Foley Date:

A potentially bitter battle is brewing for the right to run for governor on the Independent Party line.

Republican nominee Tom Foley and Trinity professor John Mertens, a newcomer to the race, are likely to seek the party’s endorsement, said Mike Telesca of Waterbury, chairman of one the factions of the Independent Party. The nominee will be decided Tuesday night at a caucus in Watertown.

“I’m not sure who is going to win the caucus,” Telesca said. “I just want to make sure there’s a fair process.”


The backing of the third party is important to Foley because having his name on a second line on the November ballot could strengthen his position against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, whose own name will appear twice, under the Democratic and Working Families lines.

A cross-endorsement from the Independent Party could also give Foley a boost among unaffiliated voters and some Democrats, who may feel more comfortable voting for him on the Independent line than the Republican one.


Mertens ran for U.S. Senate in 2010 on the Connecticut for Lieberman line. He is a member of the Independent Party and he has tapped another party official as his running mate.

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Malloy Promotes Promotes Tax-Free Week, Shops for Jeans

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy Date:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy went to a Berlin footwear and clothing shop Friday afternoon to promote the state’s upcoming tax holiday; he wound up shopping for jeans.

Malloy boasted to reporters about the size of his pants. “For a 59-year-old guy, a 32-inch waist is not too bad,” he quipped.


Malloy held a press conference at Mickey Finn’s on the Berlin Turnpike to highlight Connecticut’s annual back to school tax-free week, which runs from Aug. 17-23. During that time, the 6.35-percent tax on most clothing and shoe purchases under $300 will be waived.

Afterward, Malloy browsed for jeans, trying on two pairs of T.K. Axel Jeans, which are produced by Jade Marketing of West Hartford.

His first selection–dark-washed and slim-cut, with a 33-inch waist–was too big. Then he tried on a pair with a 32-inch waist, which fit better but were rejected as too short. “I don’t like seeing my socks,” he said.

Malloy said he’s been “a Levis guy for most of his life,” but he was sold on the Axel Jeans. He said he plans to return to the store with his son and buy a pair once tax-free week starts. The pants sell for $39.99, or two for $70.

Sean Connelly, who works in Jade Marketing’s men’s division, said he was pleased the governor liked his product. He told Malloy the company employs 75 people in West Hartford, “and thanks to you, we’re hiring.”

Before leaving the store, the increasingly lean Democrat was asked about his exercise regimen.

“My normal run is 2.3 miles and then I walk up and down a hill for two miles and then I do 300 sit ups, 300 toe touches, 300 side to sides, 300 kick and twists, 300 lift and twists and 50 rotations around the waist,” Malloy responded.