Category Archives: Lowell Weicker

Senate President Don Williams Not Seeking Reelection This Fall

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Donald Williams, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford, John McKinney, John Rowland, Larry Cafero, Lowell Weicker, M. Jodi Rell Date:

Donald Williams, the longest-serving Senate president pro tem in state history, surprised his caucus today by announcing that he is not seeking reelection this fall.

Williams, 56, has served in the highest-ranking position in the state Senate for 10 years – surpassing all others in a position that dates back in the legislature to 1845.

At the center of the biggest issues of the day, Williams negotiated state budgets and crafted laws with the past three governors and the past four House Speakers – covering the biggest issues from the death penalty to gun control to improving education.

“It’s been a very difficult decision because I love the institution of the legislature and the Senate,’’ Williams said Wednesday in an exclusive interview with The Hartford Courant. “For a lot of reasons, I feel that this is the right time to move on to other challenges. There’s a little anxiety in that, on the one hand, but I also find that exciting.’’

After declining several times to say exactly what he will be doing, Williams flatly said “no’’ when asked if he would become a lobbyist like other previous lawmakers.

When asked if he would run for higher office, Williams said, “You should never rule something out for the future. I certainly will not be a candidate this fall’’ for any office.

“I’m not leaving this job to take a specific assignment,’’ Williams said. “I plan on exploring thoroughly what my next step will be.’’ Continue reading

Weicker, Dodd, Larson Honor The Late Tom D\’Amore; Liberals, GOP Chairs All Remember Former Political Aide

by Categorized: Chris Donovan, George Jepsen, Lowell Weicker Date:

WINSTED – For more than two decades, Tom D\’Amore served as the top political lieutenant to Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. as he skyrocketed onto the national stage while scoring major election victories as an outspoken U.S. Senator and independent Connecticut governor.

On Monday, Weicker hailed his former colleague as a visionary political operative who had helped him achieve those victories. D\’Amore, the former state Republican chairman and longtime independent political consultant, died last week at the age of 72 from a sudden heart attack.

Hundreds of friends of every political stripe gathered at the funeral Mass and a later reception for D\’Amore, a multifaceted Renaissance Man who worked with politicians on the left and the right for more than 40 years.

Using a walker on wheels, Weicker, 82, stood in front of the crowd at the reception hall and said he had been deeply moved by D\’Amore\’s death.

\”My problem for the last five or six days has been how to get my sense of humor back,\’\’ Weicker told the crowd.

\”Did you ever have one?\’\’ a Weicker friend exclaimed as the crowd laughed.

Weicker then went on to tell a story of his ill-fated and short-lived run to be President of the United States. As usual, Weicker sent D\’Amore to do much of the advance work for the campaign. This time, that involved sending D\’Amore to New Hampshire in order to pave the way for the nationally known Weicker to have an even bigger political stage.

Weicker recalled that a prominent New Hampshire editor, whom he did not name, was not particularly enamored with Weicker running for President and made sure that D\’Amore knew that.

\”Mr. D\’Amore, let me tell you something,\’\’ Weicker recalled the encounter. \”We got Communists here in New Hampshire, and believe me, our Communists don\’t even like your Communists.\’\’

Those at the catering hall laughed at Weicker\’s recollections.

\”Nobody was as wise as Tom when it came to politics,\’\’ Weicker said. \”We have a one-party state right now because there is nobody else [in the Republican Party] who thinks as Tom thought.\’\’

Weicker finished his remarks by saying, \”I loved the man.\’\’ Continue reading

Tom D\’Amore, Former State GOP Chairman And Longtime Adviser To Lowell Weicker and Others, Dies Suddenly

by Categorized: Lowell Weicker Date:

Tom D\’Amore, a straight-shooting former state Republican Party chairman and a key political adviser to Republican-turned-independent Lowell Weicker and Democrat Ned Lamont, died suddenly Tuesday of a heart attack.

D\’Amore was stricken at his New Hartford home and called 911 before being transported by ambulance to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, according to his friends.

His death at 72 shocked D\’Amore\’s friends as they did not perceive any health problems when seeing him recently. D\’Amore, however, was a former Marlboro cigarette smoker who lived hard and suffered a heart attack more than 30 years ago before recovering to handle a full, robust political schedule with extensive travel around the country.

An affable insider who always seemed to be working on a new political campaign, D\’Amore specialized in people over political parties and ideas over organizations. He worked closely with high-profile independents, such as Weicker, who were known for rocking the boat.

A veteran storyteller and raconteur, D\’Amore enjoyed holding court and revealing tales about political deals.

In 2006, D\’Amore – the former Republican turned independent – worked closely with upstart Democrat Ned Lamont as the then-obscure cable TV entrepreneur ran on a liberal, anti-war platform to defeat U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in the famed August 2006 primary. Lamont later lost in the nationally watched general election, and Lieberman – who had defeated Weicker in an epic upset in 1988 – served another six years in the U.S. Senate. It was Weicker who brought D\’Amore and Lamont together for the battle against Lieberman.

\”It\’s a very sad day, believe me,\’\’ Weicker told Capitol Watch in a telephone interview from his home. \”My whole career was as successful as it was because of Tom D\’Amore. Tom took over all of my Senate campaigns, except the one I lost. I kid [longtime Capitol lobbyist] Jay Malcynsky because Malcynsky took over that campaign, and it was the only one I ever lost.\’\’

Weicker and his wife, Claudia, had seen D\’Amore just before Thanksgiving, and he looked in fine health. He had been scheduled to have dinner with the Weickers at their home in the coming week.

The two political allies had a personal friendship that lasted for more than 40 years.

\”He had great vision,\’\’ said Weicker, now 82. \”He had a great sense of humor. Very frankly, he was a big part of my life.\’\’

Continue reading

Prosecutors Appealing Skakel Retrial Decision; Seek To Block Any Bail For Michael Skakel In Moxley Murder

by Categorized: Lowell Weicker, Uncategorized Date:

State prosecutors will be appealing a judge\’s stunning decision to order a new trial for convicted killer Michael Skakel in the 1975 death of Greenwich teenager Martha Moxley.

A jury convicted Skakel in June 2002 after a lengthy, high-profile trial that generated attention around the country because Skakel is related to the Kennedy family. Skakel\’s aunt, Ethel, married Robert F. Kennedy in 1950 in her hometown of Greenwich – within miles of the murder scene.

But a veteran judge, Thomas A. Bishop, overturned the case Wednesday with a detailed, biting decision that said that Skakel\’s attorney, Mickey Sherman, performed so badly that Skakel deserves a new trial. Bishop is a veteran judge who was nominated for the Superior Court in 1994 by Gov. Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. and approved by the legislature before later becoming a member of the State Appellate Court.

The prosecution\’s appeal of the habeas corpus ruling will go to the Appellate Court, where a panel of judges will decide Skakel\’s fate. The state Supreme Court had previously upheld his conviction by the jury.

In another move, prosecutors will seek to block the defense\’s request for bail, which would allow Skakel to be released from prison for the first time in more than 10 years. Continue reading

House GOP Leader Larry Cafero Blasts Democratic Plan For Keno; \”What\’s Next? Cockfights and Jai Alai? Greyhound Racing?\’\’

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford, Larry Cafero, lottery, Lowell Weicker Date:

Four years ago, Democrats blasted Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell\’s proposal to generate state tax revenue by legalizing keno gambling.

\"cockToday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Democrats are considering the same idea, which would raise an estimated $28 million to help balance the second year of the state\’s two-year budget.

House Republican leader Larry Cafero blasted Malloy and Democrats on Thursday for pushing the idea without any public hearings or detailed studies.

\”They\’re desperate for revenue,\’\’ Cafero said in an interview. \”What\’s next? Cockfights and jai alai? Greyhound racing?\’\’

\”They\’re grabbing at straws here. This is not a budget. It\’s a compilation of numbers on a piece of paper that have to balance,\’\’ Cafero told Capitol Watch outside his office. \”They\’re throwing it out there because they\’re desperate for revenue. Their budget is falling apart by the second. … There is no budget. This is: make it up as you go along.\’\’ Continue reading

GOP Concerned About Potential Removal Of Independent Party of Connecticut

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford, Lowell Weicker Date:

Republicans were outraged Wednesday by a Democratic-written bill that would effectively eliminate the Independent Party of Connecticut.

The bill, which is a working draft, says that the word \”independent\’\’ would be removed from any political party in Connecticut. The reason given is that \”independent\’\’ is often mistaken with the word \”unaffiliated,\’\’ which is how hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents are registered.

But the potential switch has huge political overtones in Connecticut because the Independent Party has most recently cross-endorsed Republican candidates, including Linda McMahon in her run for the U.S. Senate and conservative Republican Michael McLachlan in his three successful races for state Senate in Danbury and surrounding towns.

The bill, written without any Republican input, \”demonstrates the power and arrogance of the Democrat majority more than any bill I\’ve seen in now my 15th year in the General Assembly,\’\’ said Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield. 

McKinney added, \”It is a disgusting, arrogant power grab. It is unconstitutional, and it is something that all people of good conscience in this legislature should reject immediately.\’\’ Continue reading

The Long, Winding Journey Of Edith Prague: Hired, Fired, Then Re-hired 20 Years Later

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, John Larson, D, Lowell Weicker Date:

Edith Prague never gives up.

At 87, she came full circle Thursday in a remarkably improbable journey that saw her hired, fired, and then re-hired to the same position 20 years later.

An outspoken liberal Democrat, Prague was named by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as the commissioner of the newly reformed state Department on Aging. It was a complete 360-degree return for Prague, who had been fired as commissioner of the same department two decades earlier by then-Gov. Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. because she refused to cut her agency\’s budget and merge it into another department.

Prague stepped down last year as a state senator at the age of 86 after her doctors warned her that campaigning could affect her fragile health. She had suffered a mild stroke around Christmas 2011, and then a stress test showed that she had an irregular heartbeat. But she says she is now feeling well enough at 87 to take the fulltime, $120,000-per-year job.

\”You\’re right. My doctor did say, \’Don\’t get yourself into a stressful situation\’ when I said I was going to run for my seat,\’\’ Prague said at the Capitol. \”Both my doctor and my daughter didn\’t want me campaigning, running door to door. That was then, and this is now. I\’m healthier. I\’m drinking [high-calorie] Boost every day, so I\’ll stay healthy. And I\’m looking forward to the job.\’\’

Concerning her highly public dispute with Weicker, Prague said, \”We did not agree, and we fought bitterly.\’\’

When asked for his views about Prague\’s spat with a previous governor, Malloy responded, \”Yeah, I don\’t fight with her.\’\’ Continue reading

Radio Veteran Steve Kotchko Starts 40th Year At State Capitol; Interviewing Governors, Presidents

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lowell Weicker, Republicans, Richard Blumenthal Date:

S\"Steveteve Kotchko, the longtime dean of the state Capitol press corps, is marking a milestone as he starts his 40th year of covering Connecticut politics.

Kotchko\’s career goes back before the days of Governor Ella Grasso, and he is the only current member of the press corps who interviewed former U.S. Senator Thomas J. Dodd, the father of Sen. Christopher J. Dodd. The elder Dodd lost a memorable three-way race in 1970 to a little-known Republican from Greenwich named Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. The elder Dodd died in 1971. Continue reading

Senators McCain, Levin, Lautenberg, Blumenthal Reflect On Sen. Joe Lieberman\’s Career

by Categorized: Joe Lieberman, Lowell Weicker, Republicans, Richard Blumenthal Date:

After 24 years in the U.S. Senate, Joseph I. Lieberman will serve his final day on Thursday.

His successor, Democrat Christopher Murphy, will be sworn in at about noon on the Senate floor.

Murphy and a series of other elected officials have offered their thoughts recently on Lieberman\’s 42-year career, which dates back to his victory in 1970 when he ran for state Senate in his hometown of New Haven.

Murphy chatted recently upon getting off a plane in Washington, D.C. Continue reading