Category Archives: John Larson, D

CT Delegation Reacts: Give Snowden Clemency?

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Chris Murphy, Congress, Democrats, Elizabeth Esty, John B. Larson, John Larson, D, President Obama, Richard Blumenthal, Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Washington Date:

A majority of the members of Connecticut\’s congressional delegation say that Edward Snowden should not be given clemency.

This week, a New York Times editorial called for clemency and whistleblower status for Snowden, a former government contractor who has leaked detailed information about the National Security Agency\’s extensive domestic and international spying.

Sen. Chris Murphy and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, along with Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joe Courtney, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Jim Himes and Rep. John Larson all say Snowden must face felony charges. (I am still waiting for a response from Rep. John Larson.)

“Edward Snowden should come back to the United States and be held accountable for his actions,\’\’ Murphy said in a statement released by his office Friday. \”If Snowden truly cared about exposing illegal activity, he should have gone through proper channels using statutory whistleblower protections.  Instead, he stole untold amounts of sensitive, classified information, fled to China and Russia, and made these secrets available to countries with adversarial interests toward the United States.  Snowden\’s revelations have touched off an important debate, but this fact does not absolve him from responsibility for his crimes, especially when he had other avenues through which to raise these issues.”

But U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney suggested that a plea bargain might be a good idea. His spokesperson, Liz Donovan, said:

Congressman Courtney has consistently voted against giving sweeping powers to the NSA—including changes that  weakened FISA warrant standards in 2007 and extension of the Patriot Act without reform—for precisely the reasons that the Snowden revelations have highlighted. Congressman Courtney believes in the integrity America’s courts, and given that Mr. Snowden has been charged by federal prosecutors,  he should return to the U.S., where he can present an argument for his innocence or mitigating circumstances. Given the unique nature of this case, the Justice Department should make a bona fide attempt to negotiate a balanced path forward, which may include a plea bargain process that could reduce the severity of any punishment.

Congressman Courtney continues to support bipartisan efforts to reform our intelligence programs to increase oversight and accountability, strengthen protections for whistleblowers, and rebalance our security activities with the rights afforded to American citizens under the constitution. Continue reading

Larson Faces Complaints at Winsted Forum

by Categorized: John Larson, D, Uncategorized Date:

U.S. Rep. John Larson faced heckles at a forum in Winsted Thursday night, according to an account by reporter Mercy Quaye of the Register Citizen newspaper.

\”Larson received heckles from the crowd for little more than a half hour until Clare Nader stood and implored that everyone to listen and voice their concerns in a way that can further the conversation,\’\’ Quaye reported.

The forum drew a crowd of about 50 people to Northwestern Connecticut Community College. While the tenor of the gathering sounded a bit calmer than the raucous town halls Larson conducted on the healthcare overhaul in the summer of 2009, the Democratic congressman fielded constituent concerns on a number of issues.

You can read Quaye\’s full report on the meeting here.

Larson, Murphy Say Congress Needs to Sign Off on Obama\’s Syria Plan

by Categorized: John Larson, D Date:

\"murphySen. Chris Murphy and Rep. John Larson said President Obama should seek congressional authorization before using military force in Syria.

\”Before the United States commits troops on the ground or decides on the use of force in Syria the President needs to convene Congress and make the case to the American people,\’\’ Larson said in a written statement.

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\”Assad\’s assault on humanity deserves a response from the world community not just the United States. The Administration who has been making the case to the world community must make that case to Congress,\’\’ added Larson, a Democrat from the 1st District.

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Larson Says Ireland Trip Was \”Very Constructive\”

by Categorized: John Larson, D Date:

U.S. Rep. John Larson\’s recent free trip to Ireland raised some eyebrows, but the Democrat from Connecticut\’s 1st District says the journey was worthwhile.

\”I found it to be a very productive four days,\’\’ Larson said. He was referring to the Aug. 10-15 trip sponsored and paid for by the Ripon Society and the \"larsonFranklin Center for Global Policy Exchange.

Larson was accompanied on the journey by his teenage son, Ray, whose travel costs were also covered by the non-profit Franklin Center and Ripon Society. Together, the two submitted expenses of about $15,000, according to the travel disclosure form submitted by Larson.

\”I\’m on the ways and means committee and the subcommittee on taxes, revenue and trade…all of which are big issues both in Ireland and the state of Connecticut,\’\’ Larson said.

The trip was \”a great learning experience\” for his son, Larson said.

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Longtime Connecticut Veterans Commissioner Linda Schwartz Nominated For Federal Post By President Obama

by Categorized: John Larson, D Date:

Longtime veterans commissioner Linda S. Schwartz, who has served under three governors over the past decade, was nominated Friday by President Obama for a high-level position in Washington, D.C.

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If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Schwartz will be taking her next step as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Policy and Planning at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Schwartz, 69, has served in Connecticut for more than 10 years – starting in May 2003 under then-Gov. John G. Rowland as the first woman to hold the position. She continued in her position as veterans commissioner under Governors M. Jodi Rell and Dannel P. Malloy.

Schwartz, a U.S. Air Force nurse during the Vietnam War who received a doctorate in public health in 1998 from the Yale School of Medicine, has strong support from the state\’s Congressional delegation.

\”Having had the opportunity to work closely with Commissioner Schwartz, both as a member of Congress, and when I served in the State House,  I have the highest respect for her dedication to our veterans and for her understanding of their needs – both those who served decades ago and those returning today,\’\’ U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty said in a statement. \”We have been extremely fortunate in Connecticut to have someone of her caliber, passion, and commitment helping veterans at the state level, and we are fortunate that she is willing to continue her service now as a voice for veterans across the country.” Continue reading

Exclusive: Gun Lobby Withdraws Support For Coltsville National Park, Saying CT Delegation Is Hypocritical

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Democrats, Federalism, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Gun control, Hartford, Joe Courtney, John B. Larson, John Larson, D, John Rowland Date:

Saying that anti-gun legislators are hypocrites, a prominent gun lobby has withdrawn support for a federal bill that would establish the Coltsville National Historical Park in Hartford.

\"coltsville2\"The National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gun manufacturers that include Colt\’s Manufacturing Company, issued a letter to members of the all-Democratic Connecticut Congressional delegation and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that says it is hypocritical to support the national park and gun-control laws at the same time.

\”Our industry is offended by the hypocrisy of our elected officials in Congress and the state government that simultaneously advocate for legislation that pays homage to our industry\’s heritage and legacy in Connecticut by establishing a national park on the site of the legendary, iconic Colt factory, while at the same time pursue gun control legislation,\’\’ said a two-page letter signed by Larry Keane, the foundation\’s general counsel.

\”As major contributors to the state\’s economy, we find it unacceptable for lawmakers to propose banning our products and hindering the ability of Connecticut companies to grow their businesses, create more good-paying manufacturing jobs, and contribute hundreds of millions in taxes,\’\’ the letter states. \”Our Connecticut members are unwilling to trade valuable manufacturing jobs for ticket-taker jobs at a national park.\’\’

Read the letter about Colt Park here. And here\’s another letter to Rep. John B. Larson, the proposed park\’s chief champion, when the gun manufacturers were in a better mood in 2010. Continue reading

Larson, Esty, Courtney, Blumenthal and Others to Talk Transportation in Hartford, Barring Mishaps

by Categorized: Busway, Congress, Connecticut, Democrats, Economy, Federal budget, Hartford, John Larson, D, MetroNorth, Transportation Date:
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Even as wind and rain from Tropical Storm Andrea closes in on Hartford, most of Connecticut\’s Congressional delegation and other transportation bigwigs are scheduled to to come to the state\’s capital city to talk transportation in a Saturday forum.

The forum is planned for 10 a.m. at the Boathouse in Riverside Park near downtown Hartford. Democrats John Larson, Joe Courtney, Elizabeth Esty and Richard Blumenthal are scheduled be there, as is the state\’s Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. Shuster represents southwestern Pennsylvania and is the chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Staffers for Larson say there will also be someone there from the city and the construction industry.

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CT Delegation Expresses Outrage Over IRS

by Categorized: John Larson, D, Richard Blumenthal Date:

Several members of Connecticut\’s all-Democratic congressional delegation expressed anger and disappointment Monday over revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups.

\"blumenthalU.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (in an interview): \”There absolutely needs to be an investigation as promptly and effectively as possible. I say that as a former federal prosecutor who jealously protected the neutrality and confidentiality of the IRS.

\”These allegations, if true, are clearly repugnant and reprehensible…and they violate the core ethos of the Internal Revenue Service.\”

The incident \”takes us back to the Nixonian days of politicized IRS functions, which were put behind us with strong legal protections to individual taxpayers. We need to make sure we zealously safeguard the credibility and trust that the IRS has.\” Continue reading

Disaster Relief Funds For Federal Parks, Refuges in Connecticut Finally OK-ed

by Categorized: John Larson, D, Richard Blumenthal Date:

Remember the national wildlife parks and refuges off the Connecticut coast that were damaged by Storm Sandy and later embroiled in a funding fight between the state\’s congressional delegation and a tea party congressman from Louisiana?

Well, $6 million in disaster relief funds needed to pay for the repairs have now been released by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Connecticut will also receive a portion of a $12.7 million allocation to be divided among all states impacted by Sandy.

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The funds include $5 million for the preservation and restoration of historic properties damaged during the storm, as well as more than $1 million to remove debris and restore safe public access to the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, a collection of 10 units of land stretching from Greenwich to Westbrook.

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