Friday, December 01, 2023



Rowland, Legislative Leaders Announce Rail Improvements

Gov. John G. Rowland and legislative leaders today announced plans to accelerate the purchase of $60 million in rail cars for Metro-North’s New Haven Line.

But a longtime advocate for commuters, Jim Cameron of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, said the plan made barely a dent in the problem.

The plan, announced by Rowland and House Speaker Moira Lyons, D-Stamford, includes $35 million in funding previously planned for new rail cars and adds $25 million in additional state bonding.

The money will be used to immediately purchase 20 cars, adding 2,000 seats to the railroad - a project that would not otherwise have been fully funded for 18 months.

“The patient is dying and Doctors Lyons and Rowland slap on a bandage and say ‘we’ve done all we can,’” said Cameron.

That’s Okay, You Don’t Have to Sing, Mr. President

Members of the Greens Farms Academy male a capella group “Beachside Express” provided entertainment at today’s Westport Democratic Party fundraiser in advance of Tuesday’s presidential primary. State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and state party chairman George Jepsen were among those attending. photo

Blumenthal: We’re Finding More Not Less Wrongdoing in Rowland Investigation

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told a Westport Democratic Party fundraiser today that he is “finding more not less wrongdoing” in his investigation of Gov. John G. Rowland. Federal and state investigators are conducting a simultaneous inquiry into activities of the Republican chief executive. (CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE). photo

Farrell Preparing for Formal Announcement in March

While most eyes are focused on next week’s Connecticut Democratic primary, Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell is quietly trying to get voters to think about the battle for Congress in November.
“Diane Farrell for Congress” stickers have begun circulating among Westport Democrats. photo

Farrell filed papers Jan. 13 to begin to raise funds to challenge Rep. Christopher Shays, a 16-year Republican veteran, for his 4th District seat.

At the time, she said she planned to make a formal announcement within a month and would be traveling throughout the district listening to and sharing her concerns and hopes with fellow residents.

A source close to Farrell said that announcement has been put off until sometime in March after the March 2 presidential primary.

But the two-term Westport chief executive nevertheless has been busy raising funds and talking with party leaders and voters.

In addition, “Diane Farrell for Congress” bumper and lapel stickers have begun circulating among Westport Democrats.

Update 2/29/04:A fundraiser for the Westport Democratic Town Committee was told the Farrell announcement will be made March 15 at 8 a.m. at Oscar’s Delicatessen in Westport to be followed by appearances elsewhere in the district.

Farrell Among 20 Democratic Mayors and First Selectmen Backing Kerry

Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell was among 20 Democratic mayors and first selectmen from across Connecticut endorsing Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry today.

Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez said Kerry is the party’s best shot at taking back the White House and bringing more jobs, education funding and better health care to the state.

“He is the best Democratic candidate that can take on George Bush and get our economy moving again,” Perez said.

Connecticut has lost 48,000 jobs, including 34,000 manufacturing jobs, since George Bush took office, said Perez.

He initially supported Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., but shifted to Kerry after Lieberman dropped out of the nomination race.

Farrell also backed Lieberman initially and was among Connecticut supporters who traveled to New Hampshire to campaign for him there.

Absentee Ballots Available for March 2 Democratic Presidential Primary

Town Clerk Patricia H. Strauss reminded voters today that absentee ballots are now available for those electors who will be unable to vote in person in the March 2 Democratic presidential preference primary.

She said absentee ballots will be issued because of active service in the armed forces, absence from the town during all hours of voting, illness, physical disability, or religious tenets. 

Strauss said only enrolled Democrats may vote in this primary.

“If you are not yet registered to vote, or you are an unaffiliated voter, it is not too late to register or enroll in a party,” she said.

Westport First Selectwoman Outlines Regional Legislative Goals

Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell and mayors and selectmen from neighboring communities met today to outline the region’s legislative goals.

Farrell, who is chair of the South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, held a breakfast session with the municipal leaders at Norwalk City Hall.

Among the goals cited by Farrell and Daniel Wilder, chair of the South Western Regional Planning Agency (SWRPA), was continued investment in commuter rail equipment, infrastructure and services, especially for Metro-North’s New Haven Line and its 92,000 daily riders.

The local leaders also asked that state lawmakers integrate funding for critical transit services into the Connecticut Department of Transportations operating budget.

Westport First Selectwoman Urges Lieberman to Boost Highway Spending

Two days after campaigning for him in New Hampshire, Westport First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell has urged Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman to take time from his presidential aspirations to boost federal highway spending in the state.

Farrell, as chairwoman of the South Western Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, sent a letter to Lieberman Tuesday urging him to fight for more funding under a proposed spending bill.

Farrell was in New Hampshire Sunday campaigning for Lieberman in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. He came in fifth.

Under the proposed $311 billion highway spending bill, Connecticut, compared to other states, would get the lowest increase over the last transportation bill. Connecticut’s funding increase would be just 10 percent.

Westport First Selectwoman Campaigns in New Hampshire for Lieberman

Westport First Selectman Diane Goss Farrell, a Democrat who is challenging Republican Rep. Christopher Shays in November for his 4th District congressional seat, got a weekend taste of what it’s like to campaign on the national level she stumped New Hampshire for Sen. Joe Lieberman.

With the New Hampshire primary only two days away, Farrell was among several Connecticut Democrats called on by the Lieberman forces to help bolster the Connecticut senator’s chances in the Democratic primary.

“I’m proud of Joe,” Farrell told WestportNow today. “He’s one of Connecticut’s favorite sons and I was pleased to lend a hand.”

Lt. Gov. Rell Tells Westport Group She is Ready to Assume Governorship

Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell told a Westport audience today she is ready to assume the governorship, if necessary, and is “seriously considering” a run for the office in 2006. rell01220401.jpg Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell tells Y’s Men she is ready to assume governorship if necessary.WestportNow
.com photo

Appearing at meeting of the Y’s Men group at the Saugatuck Congregational Church, Rell, did not comment directly on the problems faced by Gov. John G. Rowland.

But when asked whether she was ready to assume the office, she said she was.

“When any lieutenant governor, whether it is me or any lieutenant governor from any state across the nation, raises their right hand and takes the oath of office, they know what their job is and what their responsibility is,” she said.

“And I’ll be candid with you. No lieutenant governor wants to fill in for their governor under any adverse conditions, no matter what those conditions are.”

But Rell said she was “quite confident” in her ability as lieutenant governor and was ready to serve in any other capacity that might become necessary.