Category Archives: Richard Blumenthal

Hillary Clinton Draws Large Crowd To Madison Book Signing

by Categorized: Richard Blumenthal Date:

MADISON — Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and secretary of state who is said to be considering a run for president, drew hundreds of people who waited hours to meet her at a book signing Saturday.

“I shook your husband’s hand when he ran,” one woman told Clinton at the R.J. Julia Booksellers. “We will vote for you. Me, my husband, and my mother will vote for you.”

Clinton, without committing to a run for president in 2016, politely said, “Thank you.”

Clinton’s main focus was on her book “Hard Choices,” and she spent two hours greeting people and signing copies.

“It’s got a lot of inside accounts, and a lot of it is becoming newly relevant,” Clinton said, adding that she had been intimately involved with a number of now-evolving foreign policy matters, including the clashes between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“I negotiated a cease fire in Gaza, and now it’s broken,” she said.

Those who bought a ticket in advance received a copy of “Hard Choices” and waited in line for up to six hours before Clinton started signing. But many said they did not mind the wait.

“We need a woman in the White House to get this country moving again,” said one Clinton fan, Susan Uguccioni of Glastonbury, who added that she had been waiting for four hours. “We’re more than ready [to meet Clinton].” Continue reading

Blumenthal Weighs In On International Crises

by Categorized: Richard Blumenthal Date:

By Matthew Q. Clarida

On a major news day across the world, Capitol Watch got in touch with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who was about to board a plane for Texas, where he plans to tour border detention facilities.

Hours after Israeli forces launched a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip aimed at stopping rockets fired by Hamas, here’s what Blumenthal told Capitol Watch about his reaction to the invasion.

“The Israelis have no choice but to defend themselves against rocket assault by Hamas, which is a terrorist organization, and my hope is that there will be an end soon to the bloodshed on both sides,” Blumenthal said. “Israel was ready to accept a cease fire and Hamas rejected it, which certainly was disappointing, and Israel has been a firm, resolute, profoundly significant ally of the US in one of the most dangerous regions of the world, and it is undertaking a very limited action to stop the assault by Hamas.” Continue reading

Trinity Prof: Blumethal Need Not Say “Pretty Please” on Contraception Mandate

by Categorized: Richard Blumenthal Date:

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal made headlines earlier this week with his request that Hobby Lobby DEO David Green comply with Connecticut law and provide the company’s employees with contraception coverage–despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision saying it did not have to.

But according to Trinity College professor Mark Silk, the state’s senior senator did not need to ask so nicely.

“Connecticut is within its rights to demand that Green provide the full range of contraceptive services to his women employees” in the state, writes Silk, professor of religion in public life and director of Trinity’s Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life.

Read more on Silk’s blog, Spiritual Politics, which appears on the Religion News Service website.


Blumenthal To Hold a Press Conference Monday at the Hobby Lobby Store Under Construction in Manchester

by Categorized: Abortion, Richard Blumenthal Date:

Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts chain at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case over birth control and religious freedom, is expanding in Connecticut.

And with the Oklahoma-based business preparing to open three new stores in Connecticut later this year, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal has written to the firm’s CEO to ask that it provide full insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Blumenthal, who will hold a news conference Monday morning at the construction site of the Manchester Hobby Lobby store, said Connecticut law mandates that all health insurance coverage through group or individual policies must provide “coverage for prescription contraceptive methods approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.” During the press conference, he plans to release a letter he wrote to Hobby Lobby CEO David Green.

On June 30, in one of the most closely watched U.S. Supreme Court cases of the year, the court ruled 5-4 that closely held for-profit businesses have a right to exercise their religious beliefs. The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain are conservative Christians who believe certain types of birth control are immoral and, the company argued, providing employees access to such contraceptives would violate principles of religious freedom.

Blumenthal, a stauch defender of access to birth control and legal abortion, is cosponsoring legislation that overturn the Hobby Lobby decision and clarify “the intent of Congress to provide equal and broad health insurance coverage for all forms of FDA approved contraceptives.”

“Religious liberty is about the right to practice your own religion, not the right of bosses to impose religious beliefs on employees,” Blumenthal said. “I am calling on Hobby Lobby to do the right thing and provide full contraceptive coverage to its Connecticut employees. Connecticut residents have enjoyed a long history of respect for individual rights and I urge Hobby Lobby to comply with our state laws.”

Blumenthal will be joined at the press conference by Christian Miron, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, Christine Palm, communications director for the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, Victoria Veltri, state healthcare advocate, Susan Yolen, vice-president for public policy and advocacy at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

According to the Hobby Lobby website, the store on Buckland Street in Manchester is scheduled to open on Sept. 12. The chain is also planning to open a store on Farmington Avenue in Bristol on Oct. 3 and on the Boston Post Road in Milford on Oct. 10.



Blumenthal Leads Bipartisan Group of Senators Calling On DOJ to Investigate Criminal Wrongdoing At VA

by Categorized: Richard Blumenthal, Washington Date:

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. on Monday led a bipartisan group of senators who wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to investigate the VA for criminal wrongdoing following reports of inappropriate practices at the 150 medical facilities in the federally-run hospital network.

Blumenthal, who previously launched a number of investigations as attorney general of Connecticut, wrote to “urge that federal investigators and attorneys assume a leadership role to assure that anyone responsible for abuses is held accountable through criminal prosecution.”

The letter follows allegations that employees at a VA facility in Phoenix, Ariz. and elsewhere manipulated records in order to mask the lengthy delays veterans faced while seeking care, which were detailed in a report released last month by the Inspector General’s office.

“The revelations…highlight the urgency of involvement by the Department of Justice,” the senators said.  “This challenge requires resources that only the Department of Justice can provide in developing and assessing evidence, pursuing leads, and initiating active prosecutions aggressively if warranted.

Blumenthal, Courtney, Murphy on Gen. Shinseki’s Departure

by Categorized: Chris Murphy, Joe Courtney, Richard Blumenthal Date:

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney says the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki provides an opportunity to change the culture at the VA and repair what he he called “tragic mismanagement.”

“General Shinseki’s departure will provide the opportunity to inject in a new team to address the [Inspector General's] findings while the audit process continues, implement their recommendations, and change the culture that allowed this outrageous problem to develop in the first place,” Courtney said.

The VA has been rocked by revelations of long waits at VA hospitals around the country, sometimes with deadly consequences.

Sen. Chris Murphy said Shinseki’s resignation won’t solve the VA’s problems. “There are big problems at the VA, and I made it clear to both the Secretary and the Department that I expect them to follow through on plans to continue to reduce wait times and address reports of fraud in local VA facilities,” Murphy said in a statement. But, he said he was encouraged by a recent audit of Connecticut’s VA facilities. “Connecticut’s VA can always be better, but compared to VAs in other parts of the country, ours is on the right track,” Murphy said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, in a separate statement, said he respects Shinseki’s decision to resign after concluding that continuing on in the job would be “a distraction from the urgent and necessary overhaul from top to bottom of a health care system that is failing our veterans.”

Blumenthal said the immediate challenge facing the VA is “fixing what is desperately wrong.” Shinseki’s replacement “needs to show the American people a sense of urgency and passion with specific decisive action to correct decades-old delay and failings in health care delivery,” the senator added.

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Blumenthal, Esty Push for New E-Cigarette Regulations

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty, Richard Blumenthal Date:

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty came to the state Capitol complex Monday morning to press for new regulations on electronic cigarettes.


Specifically, the two Democrats from Connecticut are pressing for passage of legislation that would prohibit advertising and marketing e-cigarettes to children and adolescents. They were joined by representatives from several public health non-profit groups, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Lung Association.

“E-cigarettes are simply the device du jour for nicotine delivery by Big Tobacco,” Blumenthal said. “They are very simply, for young people, a gateway to tobacco smoking.”

E-cigarettes are battery-operated, smoke-free devices, some of which deliver nicotine in the form of an inhaled aerosol.

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George Jepsen Seeking Reelection As Attorney General

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Richard Blumenthal Date:

George Jepsen, the former legislator and former state Democratic chairman, announced Monday that he is seeking reelection to a second term as the state attorney general.

Jepsen won the position more than three years ago after longtime Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ran for the U.S. Senate – opening the job for the first time in 20 years and breaking a political logjam that set off a scramble for elected positions.

Standing with his wife, Diana, in the lower press room at the state Capitol, Jepsen said he hopes to continue the tone that he has set over the past 3 1/2 years.

He said he believes that “mediation and arbitration is preferable over litigation” as he oversees a huge staff of about 200 lawyers that handles a wide variety of lawsuits from environmental protection to consumer issues.

Jepsen’s next task will be raising $75,000 in small contributions with a maximum of $100 by the deadline of August 19. That means he would need 750 supporters to contribute $100 each. If the average was $50, then the number of supporters needed would rise to 1,500 contributors.

“I think I can raise the qualifying money pretty quickly,” he said. “It’s challenging for anybody.”

In the fall, Jepsen could be facing Republican attorney Kie Westby of Southbury, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate nomination that eventually went to wrestling entrepreneur Linda McMahon when she defeated former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays in a primary in August 2012.

When asked by an online reporter why he waited so long to announce for reelection, Jepsen responded, “If you’ve never run for public office, you wouldn’t understand.”

He explained that the attorney general’s job is a 24 – 7 position, and he would rather concentrate on the office instead of being involved in a political campaign. Continue reading

Blumenthal Urges Navy Secretary to Ban the Sale of Cigarettes on Ships, Bases

by Categorized: Richard Blumenthal Date:

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and four of his Democratic colleagues are urging Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to ban the sale of tobacco products at naval bases and aboard ships.

\”[W]e applaud your ongoing efforts to help our sailors and Marines break nicotine addiction and avoid the life-long health complications and deaths associated with tobacco use,\’\’ states the senators said in a letter to Mabus. \”We urge you to do everything in your capacity to address this issue for our military men and women, including moving forward with the proposal to stop the sale of tobacco aboard all naval bases and ships.\”

In addition to Blumenthal, the signatories are Sens. Richard Durbin of Illinois, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

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CT Mourns Passing of Lou Rell, Husband of Former Governor Jodi Rell

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Nancy Wyman, Richard Blumenthal Date:

Lawmakers and state officials are mourning the death of Louis R. Rell, the retired airline pilot and husband of former Gov. M. Jodi Rell for more than 45 years. He was 73.

Rell was an unassuming, low-key supporter of his wife who largely stayed out of the public spotlight during her 6 1/2 years as governor. But behind the scenes, Mr. Rell was a sharp student of politics who understood the nuances of the political game in the state of Connecticut.

Rell had surgery in November 2007 to remove a small, cancerous growth on his esophagus.

Rell had been diagnosed with Barrett\’s Disease – a chronic reflux disease characterized by inflammation of the esophagus. After a hospital stay, he returned to his Brookfield home and later started making regular appearances at the governor\’s mansion and other locations as his health was restored.

\”Healthwise, he\’s great,\’\’ the governor told reporters after the surgery more than six years ago. \”He gets tired easily. Like most men, he thinks when you say, \’take it easy, rest,\’ that that doesn\’t apply to him.\’\’

Rell had the same cancer and surgery as former House Speaker James Amann – leading to detailed conversations between the two about the disease and a variety of issues.

State Republican chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. said, “As a pilot in the U.S. Navy and as Connecticut’s first spouse, Lou’s life was dedicated to the support of others. He served our state and our nation with a silent humility that commanded the admiration of all who met him. His humor and his charm will be greatly missed.\’\’

He added, “Lou Rell\’s service to our state, our nation, and our party will not soon be forgotten.\’\’

Labriola\’s counterpart, state Democratic chairwoman Nancy DiNardo, described Rell as \”a great man who served his state and his country.” Continue reading