Author Archives: Daniela Altimari

Foley Slammed for Skipping Debate

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

Five of the six Republicans running for governor came to the Mark Twain House for a debate Friday.


Tom Foley, who is the frontrunner according to several Quinnipiac University polls, chose not to attend the debate. His spokesman said he is focusing his efforts on delegates at this stage in the campaign. He intends to participate in debates after the Republican nominating convention next month.

But several of Foley’s opponents criticized him for skipping Friday’s forum, the first major televised debate of the 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

“It’s unfortunate one candidate opted not to attend today,” said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. “I think that the delegates that go to the convention next month, I think the people of Connecticut and the Republicans of Connecticut ought to be able to hear from all of us…that’s how you lead. You lead from the front, you don’t lead by hiding somewhere else in the state of Connecticut.”

After the debate, Boughton reiterated his point:

“Tom Foley should be here. Look, we have a responsibility as candidates to have a conversation with the public in Connecticut and when you duck your responsibility, when you don’t come…it’s not like he’s doing anything else today but hanging around the estate. The reality is, you have a duty to share with the Republican voters and later the general voters, where you stand on the issues of the day.”

State Sen. John McKinney echoed those comments:

“Listen, ambassador Foley should have been here today. There’s no other way to describe it. When you run for office, you have an obligation to tell the people who are going to hire you what your positions are. You need to listen to them and you need to respond to their questions. Not showing up for a debate I think shirks a fundamental responsible and obligation as a candidate for public office.”


Esty, Greenberg Tangle Over Ryan Budget

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Elizabeth Esty, Mark Greenberg Date:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty and her Republican challenger Mark Greenberg are sparring over Thursday’s budget vote in the House.

Esty, a freshman from Connecticut’s 5th District, voted no on the fiscal 2015 spending plan put forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. Ryan’s budget cuts federal spending by $5 trillion and includes sharp cuts to Medicaid and other health-care programs.

In a statement, Esty outlined her opposition to what she called Ryan’s “harmful, bad-faith budget.”

“It would break our commitments to seniors by ending Medicare’s guaranteed benefits and would increase out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and preventive care. The Ryan budget also slashes investment in education and limits our ability to improve our roads and rail infrastructure. And it keeps incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas while forcing middle-class families to pay more,” Esty said.

Greenberg lashed out at Esty, saying the Democratic spending plan she backs “continues [a] pattern of irresponsible spending and back-breaking tax increases.”

The Democrats’ plan would boost spending by $740 billion, Greenberg said in a press release. “Does Esty stand with her DC allies or the people in the 5th District who continue to suffer? I call on her to reject this type of tax and spend budget,” he added.

Asked which budget Greenberg would support, his campaign manager Bill Evans said: ” Mark is not a member of Congress and can’t commit to voting for a bill he has not read.  I can say that he wouldn’t support the plan being advanced by Esty’s colleagues because it raises taxes and balloons spending.”

Juvenile Sentencing Bill Clears the House–Again

by Categorized: Criminal Justice Date:

For the second year in a row, the state House of Representatives handily approved a bill that would give prisoners serving lengthy sentences for serious crimes they committed in youth a chance at freedom.

House Bill 5221 comes in response to several U.S. Supreme Court cases, including Miller v. Alabama, which holds that life sentences for offenders under 18 are unconstitutional and requires states to provide young prisoners with “a meaningful opportunity” to seek release.

“By no means is this intended to automatically grant release,” said Rep. Gerald Fox, co-chairman of the judiciary committee.

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Willis Will Receive National Honor for Sex Assault Prevention Efforts

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

roberta_willis_-_connecticut-webState Rep. Roberta Willis will receive a national award for her work to end sexual violence on college campuses.

The Visionary Voice Award, presented annually by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, recognizes individuals across the nation that have taken steps to help sexual assault victims and educate the public at the state and local levels.

Willis, a Democrat from the Lakeville section of Salisbury, is championing a bill this year that aims to strengthen colleges’ response to sexual assault victims. It would mandate that schools provide victims with a clear and concise written description of their rights and options as soon as an incident is reported. Under House Bill 5029, colleges would also be required to provide resources for students assaulted off campus.

Willis “has been a leader in advancing public policy to address campus sexual violence,” said Laura Cordes, executive director of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, which nominated Willis for the Visionary Voice Award.

In a press release announcing the award, Willis said she was honored. “Students and parents should expect a safe learning environment at college,” Willis said. “Preventing sexual assault on college campuses will take more than passing a law, it takes a community-wide commitment to changing the culture and conditions that allow violence to occur. And if a sexual assault does occur, students need to know that there is compassionate support available to them on campus.”

Willis will be presented with the award on April 17, at the annual meeting of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services.



Daughter of Slain Sandy Hook Principal Feels Betrayed by Boughton’s Decision to Split from Anti Gun Group

by Categorized: Gun control, Mark Boughton, Sandy Hook Date:

Erica Lafferty, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Dawn Hochsprung, said politics prompted Mark Boughton to withdraw from Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

“My mom and my family have strong ties to Danbury – it was where my mother held her first school administration job and I know it is a place that was dear to her heart.  That’s why I feel betrayed to learn that Mayor Boughton is putting his personal political ambitions ahead of the safety of Connecticut families.  In fact, the tagline for his campaign is ‘People over Politics’ – but the only people that this decision serves are gun lobbyists,” Lafferty said in a statement.


“We need leaders who have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and who support common-sense reforms that respect rights while protecting people – that’s what Mayors Against Illegal Guns supports and fights for,” added Lafferty, who is an outreach associate for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

“Our state has been devastated by gun violence and we will remind voters of this betrayal of our trust when it comes time to cast votes,” she said.

Anti-Tobacco Activist Not Happy With Pre-K Funding Scheme

by Categorized: Beth Bye, Donald Williams, smoking Date:

A plan by Democratic legislative leaders to fund an expansion of pre-kindergarten programs with money from the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund is drawing blistering criticism from a leading anti-smoking activist.

Pat Checko, a member of the fund’s board of directors, said the money is “not a cookie jar for when [lawmakers] want to do something nice for someone.”

The early childhood education plan calls for the state to spend $200 million over ten years to provide pre-kindergarten classes for as many as 50,000 children. In addition to $10 million a year from the tobacco trust fund, the proposal also requires $10 million annually in bonding costs to pay for new classrooms and other capital improvements.

Checko, who leads the coalition Mobilizing Against Tobacco for Connecticut’s Health, or MATCH, said she supports the concept of expanded early-childhood education for the state’s children. But “raiding” the tobacco trust fund is not the way to do it, she said.

“It flies in the face for what this was intended to be,” Checko said Wednesday afternoon.

At a press conference outlining the pre-kindergarten plan, Senate President Donald Williams said it will yield incalculable benefits for a new generation for children. “We’re doing things that will be consequential not only in the short term but in the long term [and] will touch tens of thousands of lives,” he said.

He also defended the use of the tobacco settlement money.

“I don’t think there’s any greater investment in the health of our children, whether you’re talking about their intellectual and educational health or in fact their physical health than early childhood education,” said Williams, D-Brooklyn.

Sen. Toni Boucher, the ranking Republican on the legislature’s education committee, said she backs the goals outlined by Democrats. But she, too, questioned the funding scheme.

“I’m highly supportive of the concept,” said Boucher, R-Wilton. But she expressed concerns about both the use of the tobacco trust money and the notion of bonding to fund the proposal.

The Tobacco and Health Trust Fund was established after Connecticut and 45 other states sued the tobacco companies for billions of dollars as part of an effort to recoup the smoking-related medical costs of incurred by Medicaid patients. A settlement with Big Tobacco generated an income stream of more $100 million annually. The bulk of the money goes into the general fund, but roughly $10-$12 million is placed in the tobacco trust fund.

Checko said the trust fund money is supposed to be used for smoking cessation and other health-related programs. But under the plan put forth by Democratic lawmakers, $10 million a year will be used to fund operating expenses for the early childhood initiative.

At a press conference Wednesday, lawmakers touted the plan, saying it would help bridge the achievement gap between rich and poor students.

“We believe that this will improve the lives of thousands of children,” state Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford and co-chairwoman of the legislature’s appropriations committee.



Boughton Withdraws from Bloomberg Gun Control Group

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gun control, Mark Boughton Date:

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a Republican running for governor, announced Wednesday that he is withdrawing from Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a national gun control group formed by billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Boughton is well-known for his adept use of social media but, as of early afternoon, there was no mention of his decision on either his mayoral or campaign Twitter feeds. Nor did he mention it on Facebook.

The Boughton campaign tweeted the news Wednesday afternoon:

Boughton initially announced his withdrawal from the group in a brief statement posted on the news page of his campaign website. He later issued a press release.

“As a member of the Connecticut General Assembly, I was a strong supporter of the rights of law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen in Connecticut. This remains my position today,” Boughton said.

“I joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) because I believe enforcement of existing gun laws is preferable to creating new gun laws,” Boughton said. “It is clear in recent months however that Bloomberg’s mission has changed from law enforcement to simply increasing gun regulations. As a result, today I have ended my affiliation with Bloomberg’s group.”

Boughton, one of six Republicans running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, has endured considerable criticism from gun-control opponents for his membership in Bloomberg’s group.

“Gun owners in Connecticut are not going to accept or vote for candidates that support gun control; especially ones seeking the highest of State offices,” Scott Wilson, president of Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said in January.

“Mayor Boughton is a coalition member of an active anti-2nd Amendment organization that claims to support sensible gun reforms,” Wilson added. “In reality the group, ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns‘ continually works to infringe on the rights of law abiding gun owners. The Mayor’s statements about the recently passed gun laws, are also very troubling to gun owners in Connecticut.”

Asked last year by Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie whether he would have signed the sweeping gun control bill enacted by the legislature after the Newtown school shootings, Boughton hedged.

“I believe and have believed that those people deserved a legislative response,” Boughton told Stuart. “I don’t know if the legislature got it right. I think in many, many ways they didn’t get it right. Particularly when it relates to school safety. To only put $15 million to harden our school sites in the entire state of Connecticut is absolutely bizarre.

Boughton’s decision to withdraw from Mayors Against Illegal Guns drew a sharp rebuke from Democratic state Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.

“After trying to position himself as a moderate, middle of the road guy, Mark Boughton is now so worried about his political future that he’s decided it’s time to pander to the NRA,” DiNardo said in a statement. “Was he spooked by seeing Tom Foley and Martha Dean at last week’s rally? Who knows? Whatever his reasoning – and spare me the rhetoric in his press release; it’s absurd – he’s now shown that when it comes to common sense gun control, Mark Boughton stands against the people of Connecticut.”

CT-5 Candidate Sal Lilienthal Releases Web Video

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

Sal Lilienthal, a Republican running for Congress in the 5th District, released a new web ad highlighting his background.

Lilienthal talks about his family — who came to America to escape the Nazis — his experiences living abroad in Sri Lanka and western Europe and his work alongside Lance Armstrong and other top cyclists at the Tour de France. He is an Eagle Scout and the author of two books on the American Revolution.

In the video, Lilienthal, who runs a bicycle tour company, lays out his three priorities as a candidate: strengthening the economy, protecting the Constitution and defending the homeland.

He also voiced his strong support for the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms.

“Everyone should have the ability to ability to protect our country, our state our homes and our families,” Lilienthal said in the video. “I think it’s pretty simple.”

Watch the entire 4 minute and 28 second spot here:

UConn Parade Set for Sunday Afternoon in Hartford

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, UConn Date:

A parade celebrating the UConn’s double NCAA basketball championships will be held Sunday at 4 p.m. in Hartford, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday.

“I am proud that we can strike while the iron’s hot,” Malloy told reporters at a pres conference. “I urge everyone to come to Hartford and support our amazing national champions…It has been a remarkable run. I attended a lot of the games myself in person during the regular season.”

Later, the governor’s office released details about the parade. It will begin at the state Capitol at 4:00 p.m. The route will continue north on Trinity Street, take a right on Jewell Street, bear left at Gold Street, turn right onto Main Street and then make a right onto Capitol Avenue before returning to the Capitol.

Immediately afterward, there will be a victory rally on the north steps of the building. Parade and rally organizers are relying on private donations to finance both events, which are being produced by the Hartford Business Improvement District in collaboration with the City of Hartford and the State of Connecticut, and a number of civic and business organizations.

Corporate sponsors are also helping to underwrite the cost of the celebration. Companies can choose from several sponsorship levels ranging from $10,000 to $2,500 or less.

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Lumaj Hires Political Director

by Categorized: Peter Lumaj Date:

Peter Lumaj, a Republican running for Secretary of the State, has hired a former Romney campaign staffer as his political director.

Jennifer Krantz worked on several campaigns in Texas and Virginia in addition to Mitt Romney’s Florida field operation. “Jennifer brings a wealth of experience to our campaign,” Lumaj said in a press release announcing the hire. “I look forward to working with her in the coming months, as we work to return honesty and integrity back to the Secretary of the State’s office.”

Krantz comes to Connecticut fresh off a big victory in Texas, where she helped tea party challenger Don Huffines unseat a Republican state senator who had served in the Texas legislature for 24 years. Before her work in Texas, Krantz served as a regional field director for the Republican Party of Virginia.

She joins the Lumaj campaign in May.