Category Archives: Jonathan Pelto

Pelto Works the Starbucks Circuit

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Jonathan Pelto Date:

Jonathan Pelto, the liberal Democrat who is running for governor with the Education and Democracy Party (which he created), is barnstorming parts of the state this week in an effort to collect the signatures he needs to earn a place on the November ballot.

Pelto, who calls himself a “Starbucks addict,” to the Courant’s Matthew Clarida that he plans to hit several of the Seattle chain’s Connecticut outlets. He’s also planning to stop at Bean and Leaf, an independent coffeeshop in New London.

Pelto said that he thinks he has the 7,500 signatures already and is working on getting about 2,000 more for a “buffer” in case signatures are thrown out by the secretary of the state.

The list of Pelto’s potential stops is after the jump.

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Hillary Clinton’s UConn Speech Continues to Draw Criticism

by Categorized: Jonathan Pelto, Tom Foley, UConn Date:

Hillary Clinton’s April speech at the University of Connecticut is continuing to spark controversy, with two candidates for governor slamming the school for paying the former senator and secretary of state more than $250,000 for the 30-minute talk.

UConn officials say Clinton’s visit was hosted not by the university but by University of Connecticut Foundation, a private group. The program was funded by a grant from the Fusco family of New Haven, which underwrites speeches by scholars, authors and policymakers.

The UConn foundation, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from private donors for the school in recent years, operates largely in secret: the group is exempt from the state’s Freedom of Information laws.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley and independent candidate Jonathan Pelto both criticized the foundation.

“Misappropriating funds contributed for one purpose to another purpose is a violation of the trust contributors and students should have in the foundation board, the President of UCONN, and the Governor, all of whom have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the foundation’s assets,” Foley said.

“Diverting funds meant to benefit UCONN students to political purposes is a particularly egregious violation of the public trust,” Foley added. “If the foundation was used to launder money so the cost of Hillary’s speech is tax deductible to a sponsor that is an inappropriate use of the foundation, too. When I am governor, contributors to the UCONN Foundation, students, faculty, administrators, and alumni will rest better at night knowing the foundation isn’t being used as a slush-fund and tax-dodge by the governor and his political allies.”

Pelto, a longtime critic of the UConn foundation, said the university’s assertion that no tax dollars were used to fund the Clinton speech is misleading.

“In a long standing deal between the University of Connecticut and its foundation, UConn uses taxpayer and students funds so subsidize the foundation so that it will look more successful,” Pelto said. “This year approximately $9 million will be shifted from UConn’s taxpayer and student-funded Operating Fund to the foundation. To suggest that none of that money helped pay for Hillary Clinton’s fee and visit to UConn is simply wrong.”

“Although Connecticut taxpayers, students and their families are unaware of the deal between UConn and its foundation, more than $86 million in taxpayer and student tuition fees have been given to the UConn Foundation over the past decade. The money has been used to subsidize a variety of activities that shouldn’t utilize public funding such as a 5,000 square-foot house for UConn’s president in West Hartford (even though she has one in Storrs), Governor Malloy’s trip to Davos, Switzerland and China and the $251,000 for Hillary Clinton,” Pelto added.

“It is truly outrageous that UConn and its foundation would then divert scarce resources away from instructional costs to pay $251,000 for a speaker,” he added.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was among the Democratic politicians who attended the Clinton speech. A spokesman did not respond to a request seeking comment.



Lieberman Compares Pelto To Ralph Nader As 3rd Party Candidate

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto Date:

Former U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman compared liberal Democrat Jonathan Pelto to former presidential candidate Ralph Nader on Tuesday while discussing this year’s competitive race for Connecticut governor.

Lieberman said he had not been following the governor’s race very closely, but he spoke about Nader as a third-party challenger for president 14 years ago.

“If I can be probably more direct than I should – you’re looking at someone who was part of a ticket in 2000 that got a half million more votes than the other ticket nationally,” Lieberman told reporters Tuesday at the state Capitol complex. “One of the reasons that was so close in Florida, I believe, was that there was a third-party candidate named Ralph Nader. Arguably, if Ralph had not been in the race, Al Gore and I would have won more clearly in Florida. What I’m saying is third-party candidates can affect the outcome of elections. That’s the point of it.”

“I’ve heard people argue quite convincingly, who seem to be the kind of analysts who know, that the majority of the Nader votes would have gone to Al Gore and me,” Lieberman said. “But who will ever know?”

Lieberman, who served for 24 years in the U.S. Senate, added, “But that’s history. But we had a good time, didn’t we? Until election night, we had a great time in that campaign.”

Some Democrats fear that Pelto, a former state legislator who represented Storrs, could peal off enough Democratic votes from Malloy that a Republican could win the election in a tight race in November. Malloy is currently tied with Greenwich business executive Tom Foley in the latest Quinnipiac University poll at 43 percent each. A race against Foley would be a rematch of the 2010 battle, which Malloy won by 6,400 votes in the closest gubernatorial election in Connecticut in more than 50 years. Continue reading

Pelto Says He Witnessed Tate George’s Famous NCAA Shot in 1990

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Jonathan Pelto Date:

Gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Pelto says he witnessed the most famous shot in UConn basketball history.

A state legislator from Storrs at the time, Pelto says he was at the game when Tate George caught an in-bounds pass, spun around in one motion, and sank a buzzer-beater to defeat Clemson in the NCAA tournament in 1990. Ever since, the highly improbable game-winner has been known simply as The Shot.

“I was there for The Shot,” Pelto told Capitol Watch on Friday. “That was back when legislators could be given tickets. I was putting my coat on.”

Pelto admits that he was getting ready to leave the Meadowlands in New Jersey because there was only one second left in the game and UConn was down by one point. He figured the team would lose and that the season would end.

But George became an instant hero when he caught the pass from Scott Burrell and won the game in the Sweet Sixteen.

“That is the greatest sports moment I have ever seen,’’ Pelto said.

George, a first-round NBA draft pick, has been back in the news lately because he was scheduled to be sentenced this week after a federal jury found him guilty of four felony counts of wire fraud in an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Prosecutors charged that George never repaid multiple investors in various real estate projects that he touted that were never built. Continue reading

As Expected, Labor Group Backs Malloy

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto, Labor, Tom Foley Date:


As expected, the Connecticut branch of the AFL-CIO endorsed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, at the federation’s political convention in New Haven Tuesday morning.

“We’re proud to stand with candidates that stand with working people,” Lori Pelletier, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the labor group, said in a statement. “From minimum wage to paid sick days to strengthening collective bargaining, Gov. Malloy has supported workers and middle class jobs in our state. The labor movement is happy to stand with him today.”

While the Malloy/Wyman ticket was considered a near shoe-in for the endorsement, the
federation also invited Republican Tom Foley, who won the GOP endorsement at a party convention last month, though he faces a primary on Aug. 12 against two other Republican candidates, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and state Sen. John McKinney.

But unlike Malloy, who spent much of his address basking in standing ovations and loud cheers, Foley entered to no applause and spent much of his 15-minute speech trying to convince the union delegates in attendance that he would not introduce Scott Walker-inspired collective bargaining restrictions if elected. At one point, as Foley tried to clarify comments about a “Wisconsin moment” in Connecticut, much of the crowd started laughing, appearing to catch the Greenwich businessman off guard.

Foley is used to competing without the official support of the state’s labor unions.
In 2010, he received a tepid reception at the federation’s convention but went on to mount a major challenge to Malloy, losing by fewer than 7,000 votes.

The Connecticut AFL-CIO is the state’s largest labor organization. Also on the program Monday was State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, a Republican candidate for Lieutenant
Governor. Left off was the liberal Democrat Jonathan Pelto, who has said he will run in November’s race with affiliation to the Education Democracy Party, which he recently created. Pelto has complained about not being invited to speak on Monday and said that he would have used the address to point out weaknesses in Malloy’s union record.

Pelto Bummed by AFL-CIO Refusal to Hear Him At Union Convention

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto Date:

NEW HAVEN – Jonathan Pelto, a harsh liberal critic of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s policies and now a third-party candidate for governor, is furious that AFL-CIO leaders have refused to let him speak at the union’s state convention today.

“To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement,” Pelto said in a news release about the AFL-CIO event in New Haven.

Jonathan Pelto

Jonathan Pelto

He said the union leadership’s “decision to refuse to allow me to speak to the delegates responsible for endorsing a candidate for governor is insulting and flies in the face of the democratic principles that are purported to be among the core values of unions.”

Pelto still needs to collect and submit the signatures of more than 7,000 registered Connecticut voters in order to be assured of a spot on the November ballot. Many experts believe that Pelto, a former political director for the Connecticut Democratic Party, is likely succeed in his petition effort.

“I am an announced and active candidate for governor,” Pelto added. “I am a life-long supporter of unions and the rights of workers to collectively bargain..”

He pointed out that the union group has invited Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor to speak today, as well  as the Democratic ticket of Malloy and incumbent Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

Few state union leaders are expected to back Pelto’s third-party challenge, primarily because they fear his presence on the ballot in November could siphon off enough liberal votes to insure that Malloy loses to the GOP candidate.

“The decision to prevent me from addressing the union delegates is simply unfair and undemocratic,” Pelto said.

The AFL-CIO’s leader, Lori Pelletier, said that only the endorsed candidates from the two major political parties were invited to speak.

“There are a lot of third-party candidates,” Pelletier told Capitol Watch in an interview in New Haven. “There’s like 11 of them. … I don’t like that we have a two-party system. I wish it were different. But the playing field is what it is.” Continue reading

Pelto Responds To Malloy Response

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto Date:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has largely ignored fellow Democrat Jonathan Pelto, but now that is changing as both of them are running for governor and talking extensively about public education.

On Thursday, three reporters asked Malloy questions about Pelto after Malloy attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the Ojakian Commons complex in northern Simsbury. Malloy said that he didn’t need to respond to Pelto – before saying that he will defend his educational record that Pelto has constantly criticized.

On Friday, Pelto responded to Malloy’s response.

“He doesn’t need to respond to what I say,” Pelto said. “In fact, as is his style, Malloy doesn’t need to respond to what anyone says – at least not until the voters have had their say in November. But that said, when it comes to Malloy’s anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-corporate education reform industry record, the issues that we are raising are legitimate and the need for policy change is clear.”

Pelto added, “If the corporate executives and hedge fund managers who support charter schools really want to create alternatives to the public schools system, then they should use their wealth to set up private schools and stop diverting taxpayer funds to schools that do not adhere to the standards and principles of our public schools. But as Malloy told reporters yesterday, ‘I don’t need to respond to what Jonathan says.’ And that is exactly one of the reasons I’m taking my message directly to the voters of Connecticut.”

At the Simsbury event, Malloy strongly defended his education record under a white tent that had been erected at a groundbreaking ceremony as a light rain fell.

“I don’t need to respond to what Jonathan says,’’ Malloy told reporters. “I have to tell you, however, that I’m very proud that the state has seen a 4 ½ percent increase in graduation since I’ve been governor. … I’m also proud that we’ve funded [1,020] additional pre-kindergarten spots. … I’m more than happy to have my record in education measured by results. So I’m very proud of the record. Thank you.’’ Continue reading

AFT Endorses Malloy/Wyman

by Categorized: Education, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto, Labor, Uncategorized Date:

While some Connecticut educators have expressed sharp criticism of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a union representing tens of thousands of public school teachers has endorsed the incumbent for a second term.

The AFT-Connecticut, a union representing about 29,000 teachers, nurses and support employees, announced its endorsement Friday afternoon. The union is also backing the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation and its constitutional officers, who are also all Democrats.

“We have chosen to support candidates who will act to prevent a ‘Wisconsin moment’ here in Connecticut,” said Stephen McKeever, a former Middletown High School science teacher who is AFT Connecticut’s first vice-president. “We need leaders committed to preserving the rights of all workers to collectively bargain and not gutting union members’ benefits to score political points.”

Malloy’s vigorous advocacy for reforming the teacher tenure system shortly after taking office, along with his education commissioner’s embrace of charter schools, has drawn the wrath of some educators.

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Gov. Malloy Defends Public Education Record Vs. Democrat Jon Pelto

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Jonathan Pelto Date:

SIMSBURY – Until now, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has largely ignored Jonathan Pelto, a harsh critic who has bashed Malloy on his education policies in a blog that is read by some teachers and liberal Democrats.

But now that Pelto is a publicly declared candidate for governor, Malloy was asked by reporters four times Thursday to address one of his outspoken rivals. Malloy largely avoided talking about Pelto before saying that he is “very proud’’ of his education record that Pelto has criticized by describing Malloy as the “most anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter school Democratic governor in the nation.’’

A liberal Democrat, Pelto, 53, is a former state legislator who Democrats fear could pull votes away from Malloy in a close election in November. Malloy won narrowly in 2010 over Greenwich Republican Tom Foley in the closest gubernatorial election in Connecticut in more than 50 years.

When asked if Pelto could pull key votes away from him, Malloy responded, “Listen, this is a process. I’m really concentrating on being governor. … Other people have the right to do what they want to do, including perhaps Mr. Visconti running. It is a process, and it’s going to rage on between now and November.’’

Both Pelto and former West Hartford town council member Joseph Visconti are trying to collect 7,500 signatures from registered voters by August 6 in order to gain a spot as an independent on the November ballot. Visconti dropped out of the Republican primary, which will be held August 12 between Foley, Senate minority leader John McKinney of Fairfield and Danbury mayor Mark Boughton. Continue reading

Visconti Drops Republican Primary Plan; Seeking General Election Signatures

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Joe Visconti, Jonathan Pelto, Mark Lauretti Date:

Former West Hartford town council member Joe Visconti has dropped his attempt at running in the Republican gubernatorial primary in August and is instead looking toward the general election for governor.

Like liberal Democrat Jonathan Pelto, Visconti intends to collect 7,500 signatures in an attempt to gain a spot on the November ballot. The deadline is August 6 for the unaffiliated petitioning candidates.

Visconti had originally said he would try to obtain signatures for the August 12 GOP primary, but that requires 8,190 signatures by the deadline of 4 p.m. next Tuesday, June 10 – a more difficult task than collecting petitions over the next two months. The GOP primary requires signatures from registered Republicans only, but the general election petition requires signatures from any registered voter from any political party – a much easier task.

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti is working to get the signatures by 4 p.m. Tuesday to qualify for a run for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary, but Av Harris, a spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, says it could take a week to 10 days for the local registrars of voters to verify those signatures.

Visconti appeared in a Republican debate at the Mark Twain House in Hartford and at the party convention in May at the Mohegan Sun casino, but he will now be bypassing the party debates. He has blasted the Common Core curriculum as “the Obamacare of education.”

“The Common Core Initiative has no opponent in the present Republican or Democratic field of candidates,” Visconti said. “I intend to be the voice that represents children and parents who do not want to participate in synthetically engineered and corporately monopolized education. I will also be the lone candidate in the race for governor who will actively seek to restore our Second Amendment rights so that law-abiding gun owners do not have to suffer under the latest infringement signed into law by Governor Malloy.” Continue reading