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Sunday, September 21, 2014



Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Greeting from the Senator Image
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal stopped by the Westport Rotary Club Lobster Fest at Compo Beach today and among those he greeted was Westport Police Officer James Loomer of the K9 unit. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for

Posted 06:55 PM
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Rowland Guilty on All Counts

By Mark Pazniokas

New Haven—A jury in U.S. District Court today convicted Gov. John G. Rowland on all counts arising from what the government described as a scheme to solicit two congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012 to secretly pay him as a political consultant in violation of U.S. campaign finance laws. Image
John G. Rowland departs with his wife, Patty, and a daughter after guilty verdict. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Rowland accepted the verdict stoically. His wife, Patty, quietly wept. Once the jury was dismissed, Rowland turned and embraced one of his daughters, whose soft sobs were the only sound in the hushed court.

Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 12, but the prosecutor said the government was willing to delay until the New Year. Rowland’s lawyer, Reid H. Weingarten, promised an appeal.

Rowland wordlessly exited the courthouse with his wife, trailed by his daughters. The small entourage descended the stone steps facing the New Haven Green, walked to a waiting sedan and sped away.

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Posted 03:23 PM
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Murphy, Blumenthal Split on Authorization to Arm Syrian Rebels

By Ann Radalet

Washington – Connecticut’s Democratic senators split today over legislation that would give the Obama administration authority to arm and train Syrian rebels, but the measure won approval in the Senate on a bipartisan, 78-22 vote.

Sen. Chris Murphy, who has one of the first in the Senate to voice opposition to President Obama’s plan to enlist “moderate” rebels in Syria in the U.S.  battle against Islamic militants known as ISIS or ISIL, voted against giving the White House authority to do so. ISIS has seized a third of both Iraq and Syria, declared war on the West and is thought to be responsible for beheading two American journalists.

“I simply don’t believe an effective strategy to combat ISIL requires America to get more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war,” Murphy said. “ First, the moderate Syrian rebels have shown a disturbing willingness to join forces with Islamic extremists like the Al Nusra Front, a wing of Al Qaeda, and it will be nearly impossible to stop the rebels we train from joining forces with groups that pose a real threat to the United States.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who has expressed skepticism about the plan, was in the majority of senators who voted for the Syria provision. It was part of a short term spending bill that would keep the government running from Oct. 1 to Dec. 11.

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Posted 08:02 PM
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Jury Deliberating Guilt or Innocence of Rowland

By Mark Pazniokas

New HavenUPDATE The case against former Gov. John G. Rowland went to the jury at 3:37 p.m. today after a day of argument about whether Rowland, the political wunderkind who became a felon, conspired to illegally hide work for a congressional candidate by accepting a consulting contract from her husband’s company.

[The jury ended deliberations for the day at 5 p.m. and will return Friday at 9 a.m.]

In his 90-minute summation, defense lawyer Reid Weingarten struck a conversational tone with the jury, asking them to see Rowland’s eagerness to consult on congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012 as a bid to get back in the game of politics after a corruption scandal forced his resignation as governor 2004.

“You love him or hate him. Thats just the deal,” Weingarten said, but he ridiculed the government’s contention that Rowland had any thoughts of keeping his role in any campaign a secret. “He can’t make a move in Connecticut without everybody knowing it. That’s just the truth.”

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Posted 05:10 PM
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Himes Votes Against Arming Syrian Rebels

U..S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th District) today voted against training and arming of Syrian rebels to confront the militant group Islamic State.

He was joined by three other Connecticut congressmen. Only Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District voted in favor. Congress approved the measure 273-156.

“I continue to support an aggressive counterterrorist strategy that includes airstrikes and other counterterrorism measures that have proved successful against ISIS, al Qaeda and other terrorists in places like Afghanistan, Yemen and North Africa,” Himes said in a statement later.

“It is clear that ISIS, if left unchecked, could threaten key American allies and ultimately pose a direct threat to the United States. I am not, however, comfortable with the creation of a U.S. proxy army over which we would have limited control, and whose mission is split and unclear.

More "Himes Votes Against Arming Syrian Rebels"

Posted 05:50 PM
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Monday, September 15, 2014

GOP Fundraiser for Congressional Candidate Image
A fundraiser was held over the weekend for 4th Congressional District Republican hopeful Dan Debicella at the Westport home of Liz and Avi Kaner, second selectman. Keynote speaker was U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, who has visited Westport in each of the past three years, speaking and promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship. Pictured (l-r) are Avi Kaner; candidate for State Rep. Brandi Briggs (136th District); State Rep. Gail Lavielle (143rd District); Dan Debicella, U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx; state Sen. Toni Boucher (26th District), Westport-Weston Probate Judge Lisa Wexler; candidate for State Senate Tony Hwang (28th District); and Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 09:33 AM
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Himes, Debicella to Debate Three Times Next Month

Washington – The campaign of Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District announced today that three debates have been scheduled in October between the lawmaker and his opponent, Republican businessman Dan Debicella. Image
Republican Dan Debicella (l) will debate Democrat Jim Himes three times. Contributed photos

According to the campaign, the first public debate will occur on Oct. 19 in Wilton, It will be sponsored by the League of Women Voters. The World Affairs Forum will sponsor a debate the next day, Oct. 20, in Stamford.

The final debate will be held in Norwalk on Oct. 28. The Norwalk Chamber of Commerce and Cable vision will sponsor that event.

“I look forward to engaging in a vibrant exchange of ideas on issues residents of the Fourth District care about,” Himes said in a statement.


Posted 08:55 PM
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Quinnipiac: Foley Over Malloy by 6 Points

By Mark Pazniokas

Quinnipiac University’s first survey of the Connecticut governor’s race in four months found Republican Tom Foley leading first-term Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy by 6 percentage points among likely voters with eight weeks remaining in their campaign.

In a poll released today, Foley led Malloy, 46 percent to 40 percent, with petitioning candidate Joe Visconti favored by 7 percent. Visconti, a Republican opponent of gun control, did not change the basic dynamic of the race: Without him in the mix, Foley still led by 6 points, 49 percent to 43 percent.

“In our first likely voter poll, Tom Foley has the edge but Gov. Dannel Malloy is certainly within striking distance,” said Douglas Schwartz, director of the poll.  “Foley has a double-digit lead among the key swing group, independent voters.  With eight weeks until Election Day, there are 6 percent undecided and another 30 percent who say they could change their mind.”

Foley led 82 percent to 9 among Republicans, while Malloy led 77 percent to 10 percent among Democrats. Unaffiliated voters favored Foley, 48 to 35 percent.

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Posted 08:53 AM
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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Himes Performs Balancing Act to Keep Support of Voters

By Ann Radalet

Washington—Democratic Rep. Jim Himes has mastered the high-wire act forced upon him by his job representing the 4th Congressional District. Image
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes at last week’s opening of Westport Democratic Party headquarters. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

He’s been able to balance the concerns of the district’s wealthy voters, many of whom work for the financial industry, with those of far fewer means who support Democratic policies to help the poor—all while climbing the rungs of his party’s leadership ladder.

As he seeks his fourth term in office, Himes, 48, continues to fashion himself as a Democratic moderate who rejected his party’s proposed budget because it spent too much.

“I’ve tried to be thoughtful and independent,” Himes said. “If I believe the Democratic line is not the right one, I will vote against it.”

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Posted 05:48 PM
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Monday, September 08, 2014

Debicella Runs for 4th District Seat in Moderate GOP Tradition

By Ann Radalet

When Dan Debicella went door-to-door trying to sell his candidacy for the 4th District congressional seat four years ago, he said the most frequent question asked him was whether he was a Republican or a Democrat. Image
It’s a rematch for Republican Dan Debicella (l) against incumbent Democrat Jim Himes Contributed photos

“The No. 1 question this time is, ‘Are you in office right now?’” Debicella said. “People are sick of the partisan bickering in Washington.”

Debicella, 39, is hoping voter disgust with Congress and his appeal as a moderate Republican in a district that has shown a preference for politicians of that stripe will propel him to victory in his second attempt to unseat incumbent Democrat Jim Himes.

Debicella ran for the seat in 2010—a midterm election that favored the GOP almost everywhere but in Connecticut – and allowed the party to wrest control of the House of Representatives from Democrats. Debicella lost that election by about six percentage points.

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Posted 02:48 PM
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RTM Seeks Candidate to Fill District 7 Vacancy

The Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) is seeking candidates for a District 7 representative to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Stephen M. Rubin.

In accordance with the Town Charter, the vacancy must be filled by a registered voter residing in RTM District 7. No party affiliation is required since Westport’s RTM is non-partisan. The term expires Nov. 17, 2015.

Residents of RTM District 7 interested in being considered to fill the vacancy are invited to send a resume on or before Oct. 8 to Town Clerk, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport, CT 06880 or via e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Any questions can be directed to RTM Moderator Eileen Lavigne Flug or to the remaining district members, Allen Bomes, Arthur Ashman and John Klinge, who will select the candidate. Contact information and a district boundary map are available on the town’s website at

Posted 10:20 AM
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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Malloy Stops by New Westport Democrats HQ Image
Making his second visit to Westport in four days, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today stopped in the new Democratic Town Committee (DTC) election headquarters in the former Max’s Art Supplies, 68 Post Road East. Among those welcoming the governor, who is seeking re-election in November, were state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (l), who is also on the November ballot, seeking his third two-year term, and John Hartwell, chair of the DTC.  Malloy, who visited the Westport Blues, Views, and BBQ Fest on Sunday, later went on a walking tour of downtown Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 07:23 PM
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New Political Look for Max’s Image
The former Max’s Art Supplies store, 68 Post Road East, which closed Sunday, reopened today as election headquarters for the Westport Democratic Town Committee.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 07:20 PM
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Touring the Downtown Tunnel Art Exhibit Image
One of the stops on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s walking tour of downtown Westport today was the tunnel linking Main Street to Parker-Harding Plaza.  He viewed the Tunnel Vison art installation project by Westport artist Miggs Burroughs installed there in May by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association (WDMA).  Stephen Desloge (r), president of the DMA, was among his escorts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 07:18 PM
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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Still Communicator-in-Chief, Clinton offers Malloy a Tutorial

By Mark Pazniokas

New Haven -– As always, Bill Clinton made it simple. He told Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a first-term Democrat with uncertain re-election prospects in a slowly improving economy, that he had a good story to tell: Things were bad four years ago. You made them better. Just…tell…your…story. Image
President Clinton, a grandfather-to-be, practices as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal watch. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Clinton offered Malloy this advice in various locales today around New Haven, starting with an unpublicized stop at Katalina’s bakery on Whitney Avenue, where the vegetarian convert examined vegan offerings, and continuing onto the stage at a modest fundraising rally downtown at the Omni Hotel.

Elections are always a choice, and Clinton told Malloy and Democrats that the choice in Connecticut is between a Democrat who did unpopular things in hard times and a Republican who bobs and weaves on what he would do on taxes, gun control, economic development and education reform.

It’s up to them to draw that contrast, sharply and vividly.

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Posted 04:56 PM
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