Esty Release First Ad of 2014 Cycle

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Elizabeth Esty Date:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty of the 5th District has released her first ad of the 2014 cycle. It’s a warm and fuzzy spot that features a Danbury veteran who praises Esty’s constituent service.

Esty is locked in a tough reelection battle with Republican Mark Greenberg in the 5th, which is widely seen as the most conservative of Connecticut’s congressional districts.

The National Republican Congressional Committee called the ad “nothing short of deceptive.” Matt Gorman, director of rapid response for the NRCC, says Esty voted against a bill that would have reduced the backlog at VA hospitals “while voting to allow members of Congress, like herself, taxpayer-funded healthcare for life.”

Greenberg’s spokesman Bill Evans also released a statement: “In a campaign ad, we wouldn’t expect Elizabeth Esty to lay out how bad her record is on veterans’ issues. But the reality is that she was silent for months during the VA scandal, never called for Shinseki’s resignation and remained silent — until she voted against helping reduce the backlog of disabled veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Between now and November, Esty will hopefully explain her poor record on veterans’ issues to the voters in discussions longer than 30-second ads,” Evans said.

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.

Transportation Spending By Governors O’Neill, Rell, Malloy

by Categorized: 2014 Election, General Assembly, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Tom Foley Date:

WETHERSFIELD – For the past three decades, Connecticut governors have touted the amount of money they have spent on transportation.

After the Mianus River Bridge collapsed and killed three motorists on Interstate 95 in Cos Cob in 1983, Gov. William A. O’Neill and the legislature passed the largest transportation spending package in state history as officials scrambled to ensure that the roads and bridges were safe. O’Neill’s $1 billion program would be the equivalent today – more than three decades later – of more than $6 billion, according to state officials.

More than two decades later, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell unveiled a seven-year plan that she called the largest transportation package in more than 20 years with the purchase of 342 new state-of-the-art Metro-North Commuter Railroad cars and a $300 million repair facility in New Haven. The $1.3 billion package was later approved by the legislature.

Not to be outdone, then-House Speaker James Amann announced a 10-year, $6.2 billion plan in February 2006 that was even bigger than Rell’s, saying that would be the largest in state history. He did not announce any funding details at the time, and the full plan was not approved.

On Monday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy traveled to Wethersfield, near the Rocky Hill border, to tout transportation spending during his administration.

“We’re spending more general fund money and more state bonded money on transportation than any other administration,” Malloy told reporters and state DOT officials near the Old Main Street Bridge over the Goff Brook. “You can slice this and dice this on an accounting basis – which funds go where – but when everything is said and done, we’re spending more than any other administration. And we’ve spent more than any of those transfers [from the Special Transportation Fund] would otherwise indicate if there are transfers back and forth for accounting purposes. But on a net basis and on a gross basis, we’re spending more money of ours, of state money, that we raised.” Continue reading

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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Esty Receives Backing of National Veterans Group

by Categorized: Elizabeth Esty Date:

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s reelection effort is a getting a boost from a non-partisan national veterans publication.

Esty

Esty

Veterans Vision, which is published by the Center for American Homeless Veterans, cited Esty’s advocacy on behalf of veterans. The Democrat seeking a second term will face Republican businessman Mark Greenberg in November.

Major Brian Hampton, founder of Center For the American Homeless Veteran, called Esty “a true champion for our American veterans.” UPDATE: As noted on CT Capitol Report, the group was ranked number 40 on the Tampa Bay Times list of America’s worst charities, based on the amount of money spent on solicitation.

Earlier this year, Esty, along with U.S. Reps. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island and Mike Michaud of Me., introduced legislation that would increase access to services for caregivers of veterans and members of the military.

Esty was also part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who worked to ensure veterans receive medical care in the aftermath of disclosure of problems at VA medical facilities.

“I am honored today to receive the endorsement of Veterans’ Vision,” Esty said. “As a daughter of a Navy veteran, one of the greatest honors I have is the opportunity to serve those who have sacrificed so much for our country. I’m proud to have led successful efforts in Congress to ensure that veterans have access to the medical care and services they deserve, and I’m committed to doing all I can for our veterans who bravely served and selflessly sacrificed in defense our great nation.”

Pelto Fears He Will Not Reach 7,500 Signatures To Get On Ballot

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

In a potential political boost for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, liberal Democrat Jonathan Pelto told The Hartford Courant on Saturday that he fears he will not reach the necessary threshold to qualify for the gubernatorial ballot in November.

Pelto has threatened to go to court to gain a place on the gubernatorial ballot against Malloy, Republican Tom Foley, and petitioning candidate Joseph Visconti, but Pelto said in an interview that a potential court fight on disputed signatures might be fruitless if he is not close enough to the threshold.

“It’s not looking good,” Pelto said Saturday. “I am increasingly concerned the situation is starting to look grim. It is clear that we submitted far fewer petitions than I had expected. … I may be wrong. But for the first time, I think we may fall short.”

Pelto needs 7,500 verified signatures of registered voters, but he said the verification process so far has shown that he and his supporters collected about 900 signatures of citizens who were not registered to vote. He said he was surprised that so many people would sign a petition without being registered voters.

Despite his concerns, Pelto noted that the Secretary of the State – Connecticut’s chief elections official – will continue counting the signatures in the coming days.

“I don’t want to declare that it’s done,” Pelto said. “I don’t want to jump the gun. But I am increasingly pessimistic that we did not collect a sufficient number of signatures. It’s up to the Secretary of the State’s office. I’m not throwing in the towel.”

Av Harris, the chief spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, was not available for comment Saturday.

Pelto congratulated Visconti, saying that the former West Hartford town council member had made “brilliant” moves by collecting signatures outside a gun shop and also traveling to towns that had a budget referendum to collect signatures from registered voters as they left the polling places. Those voters were guaranteed to be registered because they had just been verified inside the polling place.

“The real problem is we didn’t get enough signatures to have the buffer,” Pelto said. “I had planned about 10 percent [being rejected as] being nonvoters, but I think it was 20 percent. It becomes a moot point if you don’t come close enough.”

Rather than standing outside polling places, Pelto and his supporters collected signatures at farmers’ markets and concerts on the green – where some of the signers were not registered to vote.

If Pelto fails to gain a spot on the ballot, it will be a major political boost for Malloy. Many political insiders believe that Pelto would have pulled Democratic votes away from Malloy, including public school teachers and some state employees. Pelto had been compared to nationally known consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who was blamed by some Democrats for pulling votes away from then-Vice President Al Gore and throwing the 2000 presidential election to Republican George W. Bush. But Nader rejected that reasoning and he recently signed Pelto’s petition when the two saw each other at the Mark Twain House in Hartford.

“I’m sure there will be lots of cheering in the Malloy camp and with union leaders because, conservatively, I think I would have been taking 50,000 to 100,000 votes,” Pelto said. “To some extent, it will hurt Foley with Visconti on the ballot – a couple of percentage points, for sure.”

Pelto, a former state legislator and longtime Democratic political strategist, said he believes that “while my name recognition was only 5 percent, my vote was closer to 10 percent.”

Besides collecting signatures of nonvoters, Pelto said there were about 200 signatures “that were inappropriately or illegally rejected” by town officials across the state. Those included people who failed to provide their date of birth on the form, which is not required by law. Still, some confused local officials rejected signatures without birthdates.

One of those who did not provide her date of birth on the form was Nader’s older sister, Claire, but Pelto said her signature was accepted by local officials.

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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 www.molloyfuneralhome.com 

Fauliso’s full obituary can be found here.

Foley On Biden’s Visit

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Tom Foley Date:

Vice President Joe Biden in Connecticut to raise money and boost Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy’s reelection campaign, his Republican rival said he doesn’t think visits from high-profile surrogates will play a role in the governor’s race.

foley over

 

“Listen I think that people are either with Gov. Malloy and they think he’s doing a good job or they think he’s had his chance and things haven’t worked out very well and they’re going to vote for me,” Tom Foley told reporters in Watertown Tuesday night.

“And I don’t think people are going to be swayed [by] other politicians, even prominent politicians, who come in from out of state,” Foley said.

“A governor’s race is kind of a unique race. A Senate race, a congressional race, if a president comes in or a vice president comes in and says, ‘I need your vote to help me run the federal government’ that’s a very different arguement from somebody coming in and saying, ‘We need a Democrat governor in Connecticut.’

“So I don’t really think it will mean a whole lot in the outcome of the race,” Foley added.

 

Visconti Officially Qualifies for the November Ballot

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Joe Visconti, Jonathan Pelto Date:

Gubernatorial candidate Joe Visconti has qualified for the November ballot.

visconti pic

Visconti, a former member of the West Hartford town council, was notified by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill this afternoon.

Visconti started out as a Republican but petitioned his way onto the ballot by collecting 7,500 signatures.

No word yet on whether former state legislator Jonathan Pelto, another petitioning candidate, has qualified.