Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ready for Warren House Party in Torrington

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INBOX: Democratic State Central Committee Member Audrey Blondin of Torrington is hosting a “Ready for Warren” house party.

“This event is one of approximately 25 events being held throughout the country on Thursday evening to bring together supporters of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for President 2016 and encourage Senator Warren to run,” according to an email sent by Blondin last week.

The event, which will run from 7:30 to 9 p.m., will be held at Blondin’s law office, 379 Prospect St., Torrington. The public is invited.

Terrence Carter’s Ph.D. Award Date Arrives, But His Doctorate Doesn’t

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Embattled New London school superintendent candidate Terrence P. Carter had been scheduled to receive his Ph.D. in Education Monday from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. — but that didn’t happen.

“I can confirm that Terrence Carter does not have a degree from Lesley University,” Director of Communications John Sullivan said in an email.

He was then  whether other candidates received their degrees on Monday’s long-scheduled “conferral date” of Aug. 25, and whether it’s still possible that Carter would receive his doctorate.

“Degrees have already been conferred today. He does not have a degree from Lesley,” Sullivan said in a subsequent email. “Beyond that, I have no further comment on his or any other student’s academic information.”

Carter did not respond to Courant messages seeking comment Monday.

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Malloy Appoints Meriden Teacher and Nonprofit Consultant to State Education Board

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Governor Dannel P. Malloy has announced the appointment of Erin D. Benham, a longtime Meriden teacher and Maria Isabel Mojica, a consultant to nonprofit groups, to the state Board of Education.

Benham, of Wallingford, has taught students for 35 years in the Meriden Public Schools system and is currently a literacy teacher at Lincoln Middle School. She is also President of the Meriden Federation of Teachers and Executive Committee Vice President of the Connecticut American Federation of Teachers.

“We have made tremendous progress in Meriden for our city’s children and their families,” Benham said. “I want the same for all of our state’s students, their parents, and their communities.”

Mojica is an independent consultant advising nonprofit organizations on strategic planning, research and evaluation, and program design and development.

She also served as a vice president with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Mojica said: “This is a time of dynamic change and much needed reform. We have to get to the root causes that keep our children from succeeding, focusing on issues such as how we fund schools, close the economic and achievement gaps, and support success for our most vulnerable children.”

Malloy also announced the appointment of two high school seniors to serve as student members of the board. They are Michael Caminear of Branford, who attends Branford High School, and Megan Amalie Foell of Thomaston, who attends Thomaston High School.

Condolences, Praise Offered Upon Passing Of Longtime Lt. Gov. Joseph Fauliso; Calling Hours Monday; Funeral Tuesday

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Joseph J. Fauliso, the longtime lieutenant governor who died Wednesday at age 98, was praised Thursday in messages of sympathy from political leaders.

“Through his years of public service in the State Senate and as Lieutenant Governor, Joe made a tremendous impact on the State of Connecticut and became an institution at the State Capitol,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said in a joint statement. “He inspired so many and left a legacy that will last generations.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

“Joe Fauliso was a remarkable public servant, whose inspiring oratory was exceeded only by his deep and abiding commitment to the people of his beloved State of Connecticut,” said former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who became majority leader of the Democrat-controlled state Senate in 1975, when Fauliso rose to Senate President Pro Tempore.

“He was a man of deeply held beliefs whose commitment to public service was a lifelong passion, as evidenced by the respect he earned from both sides of the political aisle and his legacy of accomplishment in all three branches of Connecticut government, which endures to this day,” Lieberman said. “I learned so much from Joe about legislation, politics, and life during our ten years in the State Senate together.”

“It was a particular honor and privilege to be by his side leading the State Senate in what came to be called ‘the two Joes’ team for the six historic years that Ella Grasso was Governor of Connecticut. Hadassah and I send our condolences and love to Ann and the extended Fauliso family,” Lieberman said.

When Grasso resigned on the last day of 1980, 36 days before her death from cancer, Fauliso automatically rose from the top Senate post to become lieutenant governor, the position William A. O’Neill held before succeeding Grasso as governor. O’Neill and Fauliso stayed in those top posts until January 1991, winning two full terms in their own right.

State Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo said: “Yesterday, we lost a friend, a leader, and a dedicated public servant. In a career lasting more than half a century, Joe Fauliso moved Connecticut forward. One of the longest serving Lieutenants Governor in our state, he held office at almost every level. As he fought tirelessly for progress, he inspired a new generation of Democratic leaders and public servants. He will be deeply missed, but his legacy will no doubt live on in Connecticut history.”

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said: “Today I join colleagues in government and politics, and people across the state, in mourning the passing of former Lieutenant Governor Joseph J. Fauliso. Lt. Gov. Fauliso’s political career spanned six remarkable decades in state history, from his election to the Hartford Board of Aldermen in 1943 to the end of his final term as lieutenant governor in 1991. In between, his public service included time as a municipal court judge and state senator, rising to senate president. He spent most of his adult life in the service of his state, even postponing his retirement when duty called. His dedication to service, his eloquence and his mentoring of others serve as fine examples to those who follow.”

The funeral will be Tuesday at 10 a.m. in St. Peter Claver Church, 47 Pleasant St., West Hartford., with a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated by Most Reverend Peter A. Rosazza, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Hartford. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery, 200 Whitman Ave., West Hartford.

Calling hours are Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Molloy Funeral Home, 906 Farmington Ave., West Hartford. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, 103 Vision Way in Bloomfield, or the House of Bread, 1453 Main Street in Hartford. Online expressions of sympathy may be made at 

Fauliso’s full obituary can be found here.

Coalition Calls On Governor Candidates To Debate Transportation Taxes, Tolls

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A broad coalition of environmental, economic, regional and construction groups urged Connecticut’s gubernatorial candidates Tuesday to debate and consider higher taxes and tolls to pay for the state’s dire transportation needs.

The activists put out a four-point program they said the state’s next governor must consider, including the possibility that massive federal funding for highways and mass transit may dry up in the next few years.

Karen Burnaska, spokeswoman for Transit for Connecticut, speaking at Union Station in Hartford.

Karen Burnaska, spokeswoman for Transit for Connecticut, speaking at Union Station in Hartford.

Other items on the coalition’s list include a demand that state revenue that is supposed to be devoted to transportation – such as gas and fuel taxes – not be diverted to ease other state fiscal problems; and using existing state transportation funding as rapidly as possible.

Incumbent Democrat Dannel Malloy and his Republican opponent, Tom Foley, have both already ruled out any state tax increases as an option if they are elected in November.

As for tolls, Malloy rejected a proposal for so-called “border tolls” in January 2013, and Foley has said he would only consider tolls as a tool to help reduce traffic congestion.

But Don Shubert, president of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association, said he tax increases and/or tolls may be the only way to pay for the billions of dollars in transportation infrastructure improvements that this state desparately needs.

“I don’t see any other options out there that are viable,” Shubert said.

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Sen. Maynard Discharged From Hospital

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Sen. Andrew Maynard, who suffered severe head injuries as a result of a fall at his home last month, has been discharged from a Rhode Island hospital and was transferred to a New Britain facility for therapy to continue his recovery.

“He is making a slow, yet positive, recovery,” according to a statement issued Thursday by Denise Mahoney, Maynard’s sister. “He is awake and is responsive to family and friends who have been by his side. While his recovery will take time, his doctors are confident that the recovery will continue to be positive and that the [Hospital for Special Care in New Britain] is the right place to continue that recovery.”

Sen. Andrew Maynard

Sen. Andrew Maynard

Maynard, 52, was injured in the early morning hours of July 21 when he fell from an outside staircase at his Stonington home. He was rushed to a Westerly, RI hospital and then transferred to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence for further treatment.

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Judge Fitzsimmons to Retire From State Bench

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Holly B. Fitzsimmons, a longtime U.S. Magistrate Judge in Bridgeport, has announced she will retire in April, opening a $183,000 a year judicial position that certain to generate wide interest among state lawyers.

Fitzsimmons has presided over a variety of cases since her appointment in June 1993.

Before taking the federal bench, she was federal prosecutor, leading efforts by the U.S. Attorney’s office against political corruption in the state in the 1990s. Prior to joining the federal government, she worked for the Hartford law firm Robinson and Cole.

Among other things, Fitzsimmons prosecuted former Waterbury Mayor Joseph Santopietro and other members of the city’s government for political crimes in the late 1980s. The U.S. Attorney’s office since has established itself as the state’s chief prosecutor of political corruption.

The retirement of Fitzsimmons, who is known widely among the state bar, is expected to attract numerous applicants to what amounts to a lifetime appointment.

Unlike U.S. District Judges, nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Magistrate Judges are appointed by vote of the federal judges in the state. The position was created by Congress in 1968 to ease the work load of the federal judges.

By law, Magistrate Judges can perform most of the functions of federal judges, with the notable exception of presiding over felony trials.

Applicants for Fitzsimmons’ position should apply to the U.S. District Court clerk. Candidates will be screened by a merit committee. A finalist will be appointed by the judges following background investigations by the FBI and IRS.



Partisan Clash Over Easing Connecticut’s Voting Rules

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How and when people should be allowed to vote has become a highly partisan issue around the United States in recent years, and Connecticut’s turn is now arriving smack in the middle of a heated political campaign season.

Democratic and Republican state lawmakers squared off Wednesday at a legislative meeting over the seemingly innocuous issue of how to explain to voters a proposed state constitutional amendment that’s on the ballot this November.

Photo courtesy of Connecticut State Government.

Photo courtesy of Connecticut State Government.

The real debate wasn’t about the wording, but about the proposed amendment that would remove current restrictions on the General Assembly’s ability to allow things like early voting or “no excuse” absentee ballots. Republicans insist the change could lead to more voter fraud, but Democrats say all they want to do is to make it easier for people to vote.

Connecticut’s constitution doesn’t allow early voting systems like those now used in 33 other states, such as opening the polls on the Saturday before an election. At least 27 states permit registered voters to use “no excuse” absentee ballots – but Connecticut will only allow an absentee ballot if someone is too sick or is out of state at the time of that Election Day.

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Three Organizations to Co-Host September Gubernatorial Debate

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The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the AARP and the Connecticut Mirror are set to host a gubernatorial debate that’s tentatively scheduled for Sept. 23 at Hamden Middle School, according to CCM officials.

Tom Foley, the easy winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary, will be facing off against the Democratic incumbent governor, Dannel Malloy. A third-party candidate, Jonathan Pelto, is also running for governor.

The Capitol Will Be a Little Less Flamboyant: Ernie Newton Loses His Comeback Bid

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It would have been the comeback of the year: Former state Sen. Ernie Newton, a Democrat who served nearly five years in federal prison after pleading guilty to accepting bribes and other crimes, was running again.


But the Bridgeport resident lost his bid to recapture his former seat in the state House to Democratic Party-endorsed candidate Andre Baker. Baker had the support of House Speaker Brendan Sharkey and other Capitol insiders.