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Monday, September 26, 2016

At Library, Debate Doesn’t Sway Dug-In Voters

By James Lomuscio

They didn’t know what to expect in the presidential debate that had been billed with all the hype of Pay Per View boxing and with 100 million viewers worldwide.

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Former Fox News media watcher and author Eric Burns led the library discussion. He blasted debate moderator Lester Holt flor “a shameful exhibition the way that man let himself be bullied.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

And when it was over many of the more than 100 who filled the Westport Library’s McManus Room tonight to see Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton square off at Hofstra University in the first of three debates -– the one touted as a make or break event -– felt the dial hadn’t moved much in either one’s favor.

“Both of them acted the way they have been acting over the past year,” said Westporter Bruce Paul. “I don’t think there was anything that would have changed anybody’s vote.”

Westporter Michael Calise, a Republican, gave a similar evaluation about the big screen broadcast co-sponsored by the library and the League of Women Voters of Westport.

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Full House at Library for Debate

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There was a full house at the Westport Library tonight to watch the presidential debate and listen to a post-debate discussion led by journalist Eric Burns. The event was sponsored by the library and the League of Women Voters of Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/26/16 09:26 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Westporters Watch Debate at Library

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The Westport Library and League of Women Voters of Westport tonight hosted a full house for a viewing of the presidential debate in the McManus Room. It was followed by a discussion led by journalist Eric Burns, who asked them why they had chosen to watch the debate here instead of at home. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/26/16 09:20 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, September 19, 2016

For Larry Aasen, a 90-year Passion for Presidential Memorabilia

By James Lomuscio

For longtime Westporter Larry Aasen, 93, a lifelong passion for political memorabilia and presidential campaign buttons began when he was 5.

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Larry Aasen with one of the posters from his collection. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“My dad came back from a convention with a pencil that had an eraser shaped like Al Smith’s head,” he recalled about the rubber countenance of the Democratic governor who lost the 1928 pesidential election to Republican Herbert Hoover in a landslide.

Young Aasen, who grew up in a log home with no running water and no electricity on a hardscrabble farm outside of Fargo, N.D., became mesmerized by the eraser head.

He also lost it, triggering nearly a century of interest in collecting tangible history choreographing presidential, senatorial and other high profile races.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Candidates at LWV of Westport Brunch

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The League of Women Voters of Westport today hosted its annual fall brunch. Among candidates attending were (back row, l-r) Philip Dwyer, Democratuc candidate, state Senate District 28; Carolann Curry, Democratic candidate, state Senate District 26; state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, Democrat incumbent, Assembly District 136;; Cathy Walsh, Republican candidate, Assembly District 136;  (bottom row) state Sen.Toni Boucher, Republican incumbent, state Senate District 26,; Sheila Ward, president, League of Women Voters of Westport, and state Rep. Gail Lavielle. Republican incumbent, state Assembly District 143, who is unopposed in the November election. State Sen. Tony Hwang, Republican incumbent, state Senate District 28, was not in attendance. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Malloy, a Plaintiff and Then a Defendant, Hedges on School Appeal

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

New Haven — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today he agreed with the “core” of Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s finding last week that Connecticut’s distribution of education aid was so irrational as to be unconstitutional, but the ruling raises so many legal and practical complexities that he will defer a decision on an appeal to Attorney General George Jepsen.

The governor’s embrace of Moukawsher’s central finding should shock no one: As mayor of Stamford, Malloy was part of the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding that sued the state 11 years ago; and as governor, Malloy has tried and largely succeeded in funneling the majority of new education aid to the state’s 30 lowest-performing school districts.

“If we are talking about the portion of the decision that had things to do with actual funding or how we disperse the funds that we spend, I am largely in support of what the judge was saying,” Malloy said. “I think he made very valid points. You know why I think he’s making very valid points? Because I’ve been making the same points for the last five years.”

He refused to join Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, who urged Jepsen today to appeal Moukawsher’s conclusion that the state’s funding formula was unconstitutional and his order that the state devise a new funding formula and remedies for other shortcomings in 180 days.

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09/13/16 09:11 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, September 12, 2016

Marpe: Worried About Next Generation of Volunteers

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Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe told the Westport Woman’s Club today that the town’s challenges include keeping expenses in check while facing decreased state funding for such things as education and maintenance projects. In an update on the state of the town, the third-year selectman cited savings in bond refunding and energy as positives but said ongoing pension responsibilities will require finding “suitable arrangements.” What keeps him awake at night?  Worrying “where will the next generation of volunteers come from.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/12/16 05:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Municipalities Say CT Property Tax System ‘Unsustainable’

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

Just days after a landmark state court ruling found Connecticut’s education funding system to be “irrational and unconstitutional,” the chief lobbying group for cities and towns today issued a new research paper calling the municipal property tax system “unsustainable.”

The report from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities urges state legislators to take several steps, including expanding the variety of taxes communities can collect and committing to promised sharing of state sales tax receipts despite big projected deficit in the next state budget.

“It is increasingly clear that relying on the property tax to fund local government services in Connecticut is unsustainable,” the report states. “… Connecticut’s towns and cities rely on the property tax to fund the majority of local services. It is basically ‘the only game in town.’”

The property tax is the chief revenue source for most municipalities, with 71 percent, on average, coming from property taxpayers. The second-largest source of funding is state grants. Using those funds, cities and towns provide a wide array of services including elementary and secondary education; public safety; infrastructure maintenance; recreation, and social services.

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Friday, September 09, 2016

Mixing Lobsters and Politics

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Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg and Cathy Walsh, the Republican challenger for his 136th District seat in November, exchange high fives tonight at the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park Shorefest dinner at the park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

RTM Honors Deputy Moderator on Her Birthday

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Eileen Flug (l), moderator of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), tonight presents flowers to Velma Heller, deputy moderator, as the legislative body celebrated Heller’s birthday. Heller had a 30-year career in teaching and administration in the Westport school system and has been an assistant professor of education at Sacred Heart University since 2005. She is serving her seventh term on the RTM representing District 9. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

09/06/16 08:30 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, September 02, 2016

U.S. Senator Stops at Elvira’s

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U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, on the fifth day of his “Walk Across Connecticut,” stopped for a bite today at Elvira’s at Old Mill in Westport. He said he walked 22.3 miles today from Bridgeport to Darien. He published this picture in his daily summary of his walk with this caption: “Something that happened to me a lot today — people who were following the walk on Snapchat tracked me down in person! Madison and her mom Valerie caught up with me at Elvira’s. Madison just got her learner’s permit and one of the first places she drove was to come meet me!” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

09/02/16 10:50 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Parents Join Chris Murphy on Walk in Westport

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On the fifth day of his “Walk Across Connecticut,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy today was joined by his parents for a portion of his 22.3-mile day’s journey as he trekked through Westport’s Old Mill area. He posted this picture, one of four from Westport, on his daily summary of his walk with this caption: “My parents had talked about coming to walk with me sometime today and they surprised me in Wesport on my way to Elvira’s Market. Thanks Mom and Dad!” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

09/02/16 10:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Bridgeport Shootings Bring Malloy to Ganim’s Side

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Bridgeport — The body language seemed strained today while photographers were briefly allowed in a room crowded with local, state and federal law enforcement called to talk to about street shootings. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy sat next to Mayor Joseph P. Ganim, never quite making eye contact with the mayor whose election he once opposed as an embarrassment to Connecticut.

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy seemed to avoid the gaze of Mayor Joseph P. Ganim at Troop G in Bridgeport today. Ganim’s arm was in a brace after surgery. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Pazniokas for Ctmirror.org

But the governor and mayor emerged together from a meeting that unexpectedly ran 90 minutes, morphing from a photo opportunity into an air-clearing session that produced promises of greater cooperation among agencies and help from the State Police and Department of Correction for a city reeling from street violence.

“This was not a meeting for the purpose of you guys taking a picture. This was real,” Malloy said. “Pertinent information was exchanged about individual cases, about ongoing investigations, about the roles the federal folks could play if they decided to, about the roles that we think is initially appropriate to undertake on the state side.”

Reporters were barred from most of Malloy’s meeting with Ganim and about two dozen law-enforcement officials, but participants described the governor as questioning Chief A.J. Perez about progress on the investigation of a shooting of 13 individuals at a party and challenging city officials to explain the failure to maintain police patrols in housing projects.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Towns Will Craft Their Own Plan to Regionalize, Ease Local Tax Burden

By Keith M.Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

As state officials increase their warnings that municipal aid may be curtailed in the coming years, Connecticut’s cities and towns will craft their own plan to regionalize services and make local government more efficient.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities announced today the formation of a new “state-local partnership panel” to find ways to ease burdens on property taxpayers, diversify local options to raise revenue and deliver services regionally.

The panel, which will feature mayors, first selectmen and town managers — including leaders from some of Connecticut’s largest cities — will deliver a blueprint to legislators in December.

“We are seeking to develop a legislative action plan that can be implemented by the 2017 General Assembly and designed to change the course of events in Connecticut towns and cities” starting next July, said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who is CCM president and chairman of the study group.

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Despite Sweltering Heat, Trump Draws Thousands, Blasts Malloy

By Kyle Constable

www.ctmirror.org

Fairfield – Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump brushed aside skepticism about his decision to campaign in a deep-blue state and drew about 5,000 people to a Fairfild rally tonight on the hottest day of the year.

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Donald Trump addresses a Fairfield rally tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kyle Constable for Ctmirror.org

The crowd, tightly packed and drenched in sweat, filled Sacred Heart University’s William H. Pitt Center to hear Trump, who tailored his message to include heavy criticism of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a litany of statistics about the state’s sluggish economy, and the pointed question, “How did you lose General Electric?”

Those waiting in line endured a heat index that registered at more than 100 degrees. The crowd thinned as the speech dragged into the evening and the sound of thunder filled the arena.

Trump’s decision to come to Connecticut raised eyebrows, given the state’s solidly Democratic voting record in recent years. Democrats control the governor’s office, both chambers of the state legislature, all five seats in the U.S. House and both seats in the U.S. Senate. A Republican presidential candidate has not taken the state since George H.W. Bush, who grew up in Greenwich, won it in 1988.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Trump, Clinton Kick Off Battle for Connecticut

By Ana Radelat

www.ctmirror.org

Washington – Donald Trump’s plans to hold a rally in Connecticut this weekend will rev up the campaign season in Connecticut, sharpening the state’s focus on the race for the White House.

Connecticut is not a swing state, having last voted for a Republican in 1988 for former state resident George H. W. Bush. But both parties say spending time and resources in Connecticut will help their presidential candidates in what’s become a bruising national fight.

J.R. Romano, the head of the Connecticut Republican Party, said Trump’s visit to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield on Saturday is aimed at linking Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s “failed” economic policies to those of Hillary Clinton.

“The state of Connecticut is the biggest warning of what Hillary Clinton economic policies will look like,” Romano said

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Opinion: Chris Shays Backs Hillary Clinton

Editor’s note: Christopher Shays, a Republican, represented Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, including Westport, from 1987 to 2009. This opinion piece first appeared on cnn.com

By Christopher Shays

During the 34 years I served as a Republican elected official in Connecticut, 13 years in the State House of Representatives, and 21 years in Congress, I always voted for our Republican candidate for governor and our Republican candidate for president.

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Christopher Shays: “Trump lost me a long time ago.”   File photo

Always, but not this time.

Donald Trump lost me a long time ago.

I know some want to stick it to the so-called establishment, reject the status quo, and they see Trump as their vehicle. And I know some Republicans dislike President Obama, and have such a strong dislike for Hillary Clinton, they are willing to vote for a man they know does not have the temperament, knowledge or experience to be president.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Malloy: ‘I Have Not Been Subpoenaed’

By Kyle Constable

www.ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today he has not received a subpoena to testify in a federal investigation into the Connecticut Democratic Party’s fundraising efforts during the 2014 elections.

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at news conference today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Kyle Constable for Ctmirror.org

When asked during a press conference at the State Armory if he had been subpoenaed, Malloy said, “I have not.”

“I’m not spending time on it,” Malloy told reporters. “I’m doing my job. I certainly understand that people have the right to look at whatever they want to look at, and to understand, you know, what transpired.”

The U.S. attorney’s office is investigating whether the governor and the state Democratic Party broke the law when soliciting donations from state contractors during Malloy’s 2014 re-election bid.

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Saturday, August 06, 2016

DOJ, Connecticut Settle ‘Motor-Voter’ Registration Complaint

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

The U.S. Department of Justice and Connecticut announced Friday that an enhanced online voter registration system will launch Monday at the Department of Motor Vehicles in response to a civil rights investigation that concluded the state was in violation of the so-called “motor-voter” provisions of the National Voting Rights Act of 1993.

Under a settlement negotiated by the Justice Department, the secretary of the state’s office and the DMV, a voter registration system will be electronically integrated into the licensing system so that every application for a license, renewal or photo ID “shall function as an application to register to vote, unless the customer chooses to opt out.”

“This is a major step toward ensuring that every eligible citizen is registered to vote. It also just represents good customer service to the people of Connecticut, who will be able to register to vote or update their registrations while conducting business with the DMV. It will help them carry out two tasks in a single transaction, removing the need to go to town hall or mail in updated information,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said.

“A robust, inclusive democracy requires ensuring that eligible voters can easily and conveniently register to vote,” said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “State officials worked cooperatively with the Justice Department to quickly provide eligible Connecticut voters an integrated one-stop opportunity to register through the DMV, as the law requires.”

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Thursday, August 04, 2016

Republicans Seek BOF Candidates

The Westport Republican Town Committee (RTC) announced today it is accepting applications for those interested in filling the vacancy on the Westport Board of Finance (BOF) created by Wednesday’s resignation of Clarissa Moore.

Moore announced she was resigning to move with her husband to Sarasota, Fla., where she said the weather was better and taxes lower. She was serving her first term, having been elected in November 2015.

Speculation centered on the RTC selecting the unsuccessful Republican candidate in the BOF election that year, Iain Bruce.

An announcement said Westport Republicans interested in being considered for the vacancy should contact Westport RTC Chairman Tim Wetmore at 203-650-8463 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Republican Board of Finance Member Resigns

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Clarissa Moore, a Republican Board of Finance member serving her first term, announced her resignation at tonight’s meeting. Moore, who previously served on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), said she and her husband have sold their home and are moving to Sarasota, Fla. where the weather is better and taxes are lower. The Republican Town Committee will select a candidate to replace her. Democrats hold a 4-3 majority on the board, taking control after the November 2015 election when Moore was elected. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

08/03/16 08:57 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Malloy Makes Mid-Term Staffing Changes

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today named new communications and government affairs directors as his administration announced the mid-term departures of three senior staffers: Mark Bergman, Devon Puglia and Paul Mounds.

Kelly Donnelly will succeed Puglia as the communications chief, while Chris Smith will take over for Mounds as director of policy and government affairs, essentially the administration chief lobbyist with the General Assembly.

Bergman joined the administration after the 2014 campaign to oversee communications, then became the deputy chief of staff under Brian Durand, who is remaining as chief. There are no immediate plans to fill Bergman’s job.

The departures come amid speculation that Malloy would accept a post in a Hillary Clinton administration if one were offered, an unlikely possibility if a federal grand jury does not quickly conclude its investigation of the Democratic Party’s solicitations of state contractors to support the governor’s re-election.

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Celebrity Hangout

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Oscar’s Deli, whose Monday closing was announced tonight, attacted numerous celebrities over the years. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy stopped by duriing his 2010 gubernatorial campaign and greeted owner Lee Papageorge. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Murphy Raises Gun Control – And His Profile – at Convention

By Ana Radelat

www.ctmirror.org

PHILADELPHIA — He started his speech with a standing ovation from members of the Connecticut delegation and ended it bringing the entire convention floor to its feet.

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Sen. Christopher Murphy addresses the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ctmirror.org photo

Sen. Chris Murphy’s’ impassioned prime time speech on gun control today helped the Democratic Party showcase its commitment on the issue and helped raise a profile that has been elevated since he led a filibuster on the Senate floor to press GOP leaders to hold votes on gun legislation.

“Enough of children dying in classrooms. Enough of nightly bloodshed on our city streets. Enough of our police officers being outgunned, ambushed, and cut down in the line of duty.

“Enough,” Murphy said.

The crowd joined him in chanting “Enough.”

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Westporters Bit Players in DNC WikiLeaks

Westporters were bit players in the 19,000 internal Democratic Party emails released by WikiLeaks.

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Westporter Marc Lasry (l), mentioned in the WIkiLeaks DNC emails, hosted a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in April at his Westport home with Bill Clinton as featured guest. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The release set off a frenzy on the eve of the party’s Philadelphia nominating convention and forced the resignation of the party chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

A search for “Westport” on the WikiLeaks DNC emails website brought 17 results.

Among them was an exchange of emails seeking advice about a “commuter bicycle” purchase from Jordan Kaplan, finance chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

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Leaving Troubles at Home, Malloy Takes the DNC Stage

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Philadelphia — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy condemned the Republican ticket of Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence as bullies in a speech tonight to the Democratic National Convention, winning cheers by noting Connecticut welcomed the Syrian refugee family Pence turned away from Indiana.

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy addresses the Democratic National Convention tonight in Philadelphia. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Mark Pazniokas for Ctmirror.org

Trump “has insulted anyone who doesn’t agree with him or doesn’t look like him. Women. Mexican-Americans. Veterans. Muslim-Americans. The LGBT community and people with disabilities. You name ‘em, Donald Trump has bullied them,” Malloy said. “I know something about bullies. And I know why we must stand up to them.”

Malloy, 61, a second-term governor struggling at home with a 24-percent approval rating and fresh off the disclosure that a federal grand jury is investigating how Democrats financed his re-election, is playing a welcome role this week as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and as a surrogate for Hillary Clinton.

He shrugged off a question about whether he arrived here under a cloud.

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Friday, July 08, 2016

Amid Democratic Discord, Malloy Takes Reins of Party Platform Committee

By Ana Radelat

www.ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel Malloy presided today over the Democratic Platform Committee meeting in Orlando, Fla., an event held under the pall of the shooting deaths of five police officers the night before in Dallas and the shooting this week by police officers of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy makes opening remarks on the recent shooting deaths at the Democratic Party Platform Committee meeting in Orlando, Fla.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo from C=SPAN

“The events in Dallas twisted a proud American tradition of protest and turned it into a tragedy,” Malloy said in his opening remarks to 187 platform committee members who will approve the final draft of the platform this weekend.

The platform, a document that will be presented to delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the end of the month, is a nonbinding document that serves as a guidepost for the party. It usually takes a backseat to the drama of officially nominating candidates for president and vice president at the convention.

But this year, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who challenged former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, has made the platform the final stance of his campaign. He and his supporters on the platform committee are pressing for changes to a draft hammered out by a 15-person drafting committee last month.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Senate Poised to Quash CT GMO Food Labeling Law

By Ana Radelat

www.ctmirror.org

Washington – The U.S. Senate is expected to move forward Wednesday on a bill that would pre-empt Connecticut’s genetically modified food labeling law, replacing it with a national food safety standard advocates say would be much weaker and not apply to many foods.

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A GMO notice on the side of a box of Wheaties. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ctmirror.org photo

Last week the Senate held a procedural vote – approved 68-29 –  on the contentious issue of labeling genetically modified organisms in food, or GMOs. Its sponsors, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, call the legislation a compromise.

The Roberts-Stabenow bill would create a mandatory labeling regime for food made with genetically modified organisms. Food makers would be required to either print a text message on the package disclosing whether a product contains GMO ingredients, or print a QR code or an internet link directing customers to GMO information not on the package.

Food safety advocates, who say they were caught off guard by the Senate’s action, have dubbed the bill the “Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act.”

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Friday, July 01, 2016

Some ‘Bright Spots’ Seen in CT Economy

By Keith M.Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

While confirming that state government’s finances have slipped yet again, Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo also said today that a few “bright spots” show Connecticut’s economy might not be done growing.

And while the state entered a new fiscal year today, Lembo certified a $315.8 million deficit in the the outgoing budget — a shortfall that worsened largely because of further slippage in state income and sales tax receipts.

The deficit for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which is $56.7 million worse than projected one month ago, potentially could leave Connecticut with only about $90 million in its emergency reserve – a level equal to about one-half of 1 percent of annual operating costs.

Lembo, who recommends a reserve of 15 percent, will not formally close the books on 2015-16 until the end of September.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New State Budget Threatened Before it Starts

By Keith M.Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

With Connecticut’s new fiscal year set to begin Friday, serious issues — involving both spending and revenue — have arisen in recent weeks that challenge state government’s new spending plan before it’s even begun.

And a major Wall Street credit rating agency questioned Monday whether Connecticut’s fiscal house is in order, If not, the state could face its third consecutive year of deficits.

“With weak tax collections likely to carry over into fiscal 2017, the state has limited flexibility to maintain a balanced budget,” Moody’s Investors Service wrote in its latest Credit Outlook newsletter.

“Budget reductions are especially challenging to achieve in Connecticut, where fixed costs — the sum of pension contributions, retiree health contributions and debt service payments — claimed more than 25 percent of the state’s own-source governmental revenue in fiscal 2014.”

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