Category Archives: Richard Blumenthal

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.

Continue reading

George Jepsen Seeking Reelection As Attorney General

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Chris Shays, George Jepsen, Kie Westby, Linda McMahon, 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.

Continue reading

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

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, M. Jodi Rell, Nancy DiNardo, 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

Blumenthal, Murphy Announce Plan To Combat Heroin Epidemic

by Categorized: Chris Murphy, Richard Blumenthal Date:

Sens. Blumenthal and Murphy on Monday put weight behind efforts to counter heroin use in Connecticut in nationwide, and announced a five-point plan they say will reduce overdoses.

Leaders in recent weeks have been calling the high rate of heroin overdose deaths – which spiked significantly in Connecticut last year – a public health crisis, and the Sens. joined with representatives from law enforcement and the medical field to outline steps they say are necessary to address the crisis.

They have proposed:

1. Increasing funding for treatment

2. Increasing support for law enforcement to crack down on heroin trafficking

3. Allowing federal funds currently reserved for preventing prescription drug abuse to also be used for heroin abuse

4. Expanding access to Narcan, and urging state leaders to pass a measure that would do so

5. Promoting collaboration between law enforcement personnel, medical professionals, and policymakers

Military Sex Assault Bill Pushed By Blumenthal Falls Short

by Categorized: Military, Richard Blumenthal Date:

A bill Sen. Blumenthal cosponsored to change the way military sexual assaults are prosecuted met defeat in the Senate Thursday.

The measure, introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, would remove the prosecution of sexual assaults and other crimes punishable of up to more than a year from the military chain of command. Blumenthal has been driving efforts to overhaul the military justice system, and earlier this year invited Staff. Sgt. Sandra Lee, an Iraq War veteran and assault victim from Manchester, to Washington as his State of the Union guest. Supporters of the measure point to statistics that indicate sex assaults in the military are increasing but fewer are being reported. Continue reading

Blumenthal Proposes College Loan Relief

by Categorized: 2014 Election, 2016 Presidential election, College, Richard Blumenthal Date:

\"blumenthalSaying that he\’s leading effort to help students drowning in college debt, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal announced Tuesday that he was writing college presidents to ask for their help.

Blumenthal, in a letter released by his office, told college presidents he wants to give students a \”refinancing option\” so they can find lower rates, much like homeowners do. He said he was also \”developing an initiative to reduce student loan principal for borrowers who pursue teaching, policing, health care service and similar professions.\”

Blumenthal said he would be convening a series of meetings with college leaders to discuss his ideas further.


Conservation Group Gives Connecticut Delegation Top Marks

by Categorized: Chris Murphy, Congress, Environment, Richard Blumenthal, Uncategorized Date:

As far as the League of Conservation Voters is concerned, Connecticut\’s congressional delegation is almost perfect.

In the group\’s annual rankings of conservation-related voting in Congress, Connecticut was right at the top in both the U.S. Senate and House.

This state\’s U.S. Senators, Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, got a combined 100 percent League rating. Connecticut\’s five Democratic U.S. House members racked up a 96 percent positive conservation voting record, according to the League\’s system.

In case you were wondering, Wyoming\’s Senate and House members came in at the very bottom in the group\’s estimation, scoring zero in both chambers.

The League\’s rating system is based on how members of congress voted on key conservation issues, such as federal funding to repair Hurricane Sandy damage to the McKinney Wildlife Refuge along the Connecticut shoreline. (Not exactly a tough vote for any lawmaker from this state.) Other issues on the League\’s watch list included the Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline, military biofuels, the Farm Bill, and toxic air pollution.

Blumenthal to Pharmacies: Follow CVS On Tobacco

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Richard Blumenthal Date:

\"blumenthalU.S. Senator Blumenthal is calling on other pharmacies and drug stores to join CVS and ban the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Last week, CVS Pharmacy announced that it would halt the sale of cigarettes and other related tobacco products in more than 7,600 of their U.S. stores.

\”Put your stores truly at the corner of happy and healthy, not death and addiction. Instead of spreading the scourge of smoking, promote cessation. Selling cigarettes may be legal, but it’s not right,” Blumenthal said, picking up on an CVS advertising slogan

\"cvs\"According to the Center for Disease and Control Prevention, cigarette smoking is responsible for 480,000 deaths a year and annual smoking attributable economic costs in the U.S. were estimated to be $289 billion for 2009-2012. Costs included at least $133 billion for direct medical care of adults and over $156 billion in lost productivity, in some cases due to the exposure of second hand smoke alone. Continue reading

Connecticut Senators Vote Against Farm Bill

by Categorized: Chris Murphy, Richard Blumenthal Date:

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy were among just nine Democrats who voted against the farm bill, which cleared the Senate Tuesday and now goes to the president\’s desk.

The five-year, $1 trillion package funds a variety of agriculture and nutrition programs, including crop insurance, farm subsidies, and the federal food stamp program. The Senate\’s approval of the sweeping package Tuesday marks the first time that Congress has approved a five-year farm bill during Obama\’s presidency. In past years, the legislation has stalled due to partisan gridlock over some of the more controversial programs – and SNAP benefits, or food stamps, often have been the sticking point, with Republicans arguing for cuts to the program in order to rein in spending, and Democrats countering that the proposed cuts will destroy the safety net. All five U.S. Representatives from Connecticut voted against the farm bill when it cleared the House.

The bill cuts food stamps by $8 billion, which Blumenthal said would harm over 68,000 families in Connecticut, saying that he \”cannot support a bill that contributes to growing inequality and insecurity in America.\”

Blumenthal also said he was \”disappointed by this legislation\’s failure to put small farmers and families first.\” The bill eliminates direct payments to farmers, a $4.5 billion program, and instead puts the money toward crop insurance subsidies, which opponents say helps agribusiness and hurts small farmers.

68 Senators Tuesday voted in favor of the bill and 32 Senators voted against it.

\”This was a close call for me,\” said Murphy, who acknowledged that all versions of the farm bill would include tradeoffs. \”Ultimately, however, I couldn\’t support a bill that disproportionally cut food stamps compared to the cuts in the bill to wasteful subsidies to agribusiness,\” he said.