Author Archives: Wes Duplantier

ICYMI: Braddock Gets 38 Months Behind Bars in Donovan Campaign Scandal

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A central character in the campaign finance scandal that rocked Connecticut politics last summer was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in federal prison.

Robert Braddock Jr., 34, was convicted in May of accepting fraudlent contributions to the congressional campaign of Chris Donovan. The former state House speaker was the clear frontrunner in last summer\’s Democratic primary race for the state\’s 5th District congressional seat when the scandal spilled into public light just after the party\’s convention.

Donovan lost the primary and Democrat Elizabeth Esty, who had served just a single term in the state House, went on to win the November election.

Braddock said nothing in court, but after being sentenced, he told reporter\’s that Donovan\’s one-time campaign manager was, a \”rat\” for agreeing to wear a wire and gather evidence on Braddock for federal investigators. Braddock will have to report to prison in mid-November.

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Another Day, Another Endorsement: Murphy Backs Harp in New Haven Race

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With two weeks to go before the city\’s Democratic primary, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy became the latest big name on Connecticut\’s political scene to back state Sen. Toni Harp in the New Haven mayoral race.

In a statement from Harp\’s campaign Tuesday afternoon, Murphy said Harp would be a \”fighter\” for the city. That\’s similar to other endorsements Harp has gotten from the governor, union groups and local firefighters, police officers and aldermen.

But Murphy said his \”fighter\” assessment came the time he spent with Harp in the state Senate. Harp has been there since 1993, while Murphy served in the chamber from 2003 to 2007.

\”I haven’t simply heard that,\” he said. \”I haven’t just read about it. I was there. I lived it.\”

McConnell Hits Bevin on MIT Claim in Kentucky Race

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Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell\’s campaign says that Republican rival Matt Bevin has made false claims about his educational accomplishments, the latest blow in a rough-and-tumble Senate race in that state.

Bevin currently owns the Bevin Bell Company in East Hampton. Last month, McConnell attacked Bevin for the company\’s past tax problems and the state aid it received after it burned down last year.

In its latest six-figure ad buy this month, McConnell\’s camp says Bevin has been lying about attending MIT:

Bevin\’s campaign has told The Associated Press that he attended the \”EO/MIT Entrepreneurial Masters Program,\” from 2006 to 2008 and received a certificate from it.

The program\’s website shows that it is organized by a private, Virginia-based networking group. The site says the program now takes place at MIT\’s Endicott House in Dedham, Mass. Another page of the website includes this disclaimer: *The Entrepreneurial Masters Program is not recognized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is not a MIT accredited or certified program.

Bevin\’s campaign website says that he attended Washington and Lee University in Virginia and graduated in 1989.

Courtney on the Real Story: Washington Should Take Harder Look at College Spending

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This weekend, Congressman Joe Courtney told Laurie Perez and Al Terzi that the federal government should do more to pare back the country\’s $1 trillion in student debt and he said he supports President Obama\’s proposal to start ranking colleges based on the fates of their students.

\”It\’s time that we start looking at the $150 billion we spend on student assistance and not sort of treating all colleges necesarrily the same,\” said Courtney, a Democrat from the eastern part of the state.

Congress is expected to debate major college financial aid legislation when it gets back to work this fall. Courtney has been a big player in the debate on college costs this year.

You might remember that he was looking right over Obama\’s shoulder as the president signed student loan compromise legislation earlier this summer.

Reliving the Dream: Connecticut Group Heads to D.C. for 50th Anniversary of March on Washington

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10:37 A.M., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, WASHINGTON– Keeping the Connecticut group on track and upbeat with a homemade drum, Rosendale N.Y. teaching artist Fre (pronounced \”free\”) Atlast talks about her instruments and the story behind her unique name.

10:17 A.M, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, WASHINGTON–That energy gave way to reflection and an emotional moment for many as they came to the monument that many had wanted to see for the first time.

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9:36 A.M., World War II Memorial, WASHINGTON–As the Connecticut group walked toward the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, they were joined by thousands of people in toward for the march, ranging from singers to drummers to people hawking memorabilia at every street corner. The weather was  beautiful, in the 70s and sunny, with Washington\’s typical August humidity absent for much of the day. While gathering up the group, some members started a spontaneous musical rally:

9:17 A.M., Constitution Avenue NW, WASHINGTON– Two students in the group, Janievette Correa and Jacqueline Starks, both from Hartford, share their thoughts on the day:

8:02 A.M., FAIRFAX, Va. — Students from Connecticut gather on the mall this morning before the big day:

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6:08 A.M., Aug. 24: Hartford remembers the 1963 March on Washington: 

Surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people in the sweltering Washington heat of August 1963, Thirman Milner wasn\’t sure what to expect as he looked up to the podium where the Rev.Martin Luther King Jr. was about to speak.

… Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream …

For Milner, who had traveled overnight from Connecticut by train and who would one day become Hartford\’s first black mayor, the moment was transformative.

\”I think his speech was an awakening call for all of us,\” he said during an interview last week. \”It sort of brought into focus what the march was really about.\”

\”It was huge, it was overwhelming,\” said Brian Steinberg, who is now a professor at Westfield State University, near Springfield, but who was a 21-year-old student and a member of a popular Hartford band, the Downbeats, in 1963. \”I don\’t think we really registered what the \’I Have a Dream\’ speech would be. We knew it was good, but we didn\’t realize how good.\”

Read more about Greater Hartford\’s memories of the march

10:07 P.M. FAIRFAX, Va.–The day\’s trip saw Connecticut\’s group hit major traffic delays at a few points and arrived later than planned. But Victoria Christgau, the group\’s leader and the executive director of the Connecticut Center for Non-Violence, encouraged the marchers not to be discouraged.

Then the marchers\’ voices began ringing out through the first floor of their hotel as they started to sing, just hours before they will march in the nation\’s capital, as you can see below:

9:23 P.M. FAIRFAX, Va.– Ten hours after they started, the Connecticut group arrived in Fairfax, a Virginia suburb of Washington where they\’ll stay overnight before marching tomorrow. After everyone got off the bus and got something to eat for dinner, Hartford resident Wanda Correa talked about what it\’s like to be here with her daughter, Janievette, who is in high school.

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Fairfield Republican Lawmaker Charged in Weekend Dispute

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State Rep. Brenda Kupchick was charged with disorderly conduct and third-degree assault after an incident at her house this weekend, Fairfield police said Monday. 

Police said that Kupchick\’s sister, 42-year-old Lisa J. Fabrizi, of Trumbull, called them after suffering a scratch on her face. Officers responded at about 8:09 p.m. Saturday.

Police said the sisters were involved in a \”minor physical confrontation\” in which Kupchick scratched her sister’s face \”while attempting to prevent a family matter from escalating.\” Kupchick told police that she scratched her sister accidentally.

Fabrizi was also charged with disorderly conduct. Both women were released at the scene and no booking photos were taken. They are both due to appear in court on Sept. 11.

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Kupchick, a Republican, was elected to the legislature in 2010 and represents Fairfield and Southport.

Here\’s what she acknowledged her arrest in a statement on Monday.

\”Every family has occasional disagreements,\” said Kupchick, 48. \”My sister and I had a personal disagreement as she was leaving my house on Saturday, following a family picnic. I will always put the best interests of my family and my family\’s children first. We are appreciative of the professionalism and discretion of the Fairfield police department (sic) and are working through this as a family, and we hope everyone will respect our privacy.”

Malloy Walks The Beat in Newhallville

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Capitol Bureau Chief Chris Keating is down in New Haven today, where Gov. Dannel Malloy is holding a roundtable on urban violence and is touring the Newhallville neighborhood with city police.

He sends this video, in which 18-year-old Sierra Taylor, of New Haven, talks about her friends who were victims of shootings. A recent graduate of Hillhouse High School, Taylor met the governor briefly during his walk in the working-class neighborhood earlier today.

He also sends photos from the neighborhood, which you can see after the jump.

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