<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut Political News, NY and CT Politics, and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Sat, 20 Sep 2014 12:06:51 -0400 Sat, 20 Sep 2014 12:06:51 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Jury Begins Deliberations in Rowland Trial]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:01:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/216*120/rowlandclosing09182014.jpg

Federal prosecutors did their best Thursday to lay out their final case against Connecticut's former governor John Rowland.

"Use your common sense," Asst. U.S. Attorney Chris Mattei told jurors in court.

Mattei worked to connect all of the dots surrounding Rowland and his connections to a pair of Republican congressional campaigns.

Rowland drafted a contract to work for Mark Greenberg in 2010 and later provided help to the campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley in 2011 and 2012.

“What was he selling? What was he getting paid for?" Mattei asked jurors.

He argued that it was Rowland himself who recommended that both Greenberg and Brian Foley, Wilson-Foley's husband, pay him through secret means.

Rowland, prosecutors allege, urged the Greenberg campaign to pay him through the Simon Foundation and urged Foley to get paid through his private attorney for generic consulting work.

Mattei provided the federal government's case first.

Later in the day, Rowland's attorney, Reid Weingarten, worked to rebut the government's position that the former governor helped to orchestrate a conspiracy in order to hide his role from the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice.

"John Rowland did legitimate work for Apple," Weingarten explained to jurors.

He detailed the emails and correspondence Rowland had with Apple Rehab CEO Brian Bedard about consulting for the company.

Weingarten also pointed out that it was Rowland's idea to hire former Democratic Speaker of the House John Ritter to lobby on the group's behalf in the State Legislature.

Weingarten conceded the point that Rowland was intimately involved in the Wilson-Foley campaign but insisted that he served in that role as a campaign volunteer and not a paid consultant.

“If this is a sham, then why are they going back and forth? Why are they keeping this up?" Weingarten asked the jury. "What’s the point? Foley sharing the guts and substance of his business? It makes no sense.”

The jury started deliberations shortly before 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The group will consider seven counts against Rowland. The former governor and member of Congress faces one count of conspiracy and two counts each of falsification of records, causing illegal campaign contributions, and causing false statements.

<![CDATA[Chris Christie Coming to Connecticut]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:32:13 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_chris_christie_nj_juramentado_st.jpg

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will travel to Connecticut next Tuesday to stump for Republicans running for office, sources close to Tom Foley's campaign told NBC Connecticut.

Right now, it's not clear where the event will take place, but Christie is expected to headline a fundraiser as well.

Christie visited Connecticut in July for a fundraiser in Greenwich alongside GOP candidate for governor Tom Foley.

Christie is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association and is rumored to be a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Tea Party Calls on Visconti to Drop Out of Race]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:40:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/visconti091614.jpg

Connecticut Tea Party leader Tanya Bachand has written an open letter to unaffiliated candidate for governor Joe Visconti, a Republican, calling on him to vacate the race.

She sent a first draft of her letter to a few of her fellow Tea Party activists and she said the reaction was universal.

“Everybody was thinking the same thing and I put it down to paper,” Bachand said during an interview.

Bachand says the consensus among her fellow Tea Partiers is that Visconti's candidacy could spell doom for the Foley campaign by stealing right-leaning votes.

“This is not so much about being pro-Foley as it is making sure, two fold, one that Malloy does not get reelected and Foley’s our best shot at that and two that the Tea Party principles and ideals survive past this election,” Bachand said.

Visconti said when he received the letter that he refused to read it.

“I don’t read anything that starts with, ‘You can’t win,’” Visconti said.

In response, Visconti released a web video that displayed photos of him with several of the Tea Party leaders who signed the letter, along with photos of him at political rallies.

The unaffiliated candidate actively participated in the Tea Party movement in Connecticut and said he feels that leaders across the state are turning their backs on their core beliefs.

“They basically surrendered their principles. This is what they’ve done,” Visconti said Tuesday. “Tom Foley is not a conservative. He will not repeal Common Core. He will not repeal SB1170. He won’t even seek to repeal these. That’s what the big argument is.”

Tea Party groups concede that Tom Foley is not the ideal candidate.

Bachand even said, “Foley isn’t a panacea,” and added that the effort to get Visconti off the ballot has more to do with maintain the momentum of the movement.

“This is not about surrendering our principles. This is about making sure that our principles survive to fight another day,” Bachand said.

<![CDATA[State Leaders Look to Improve Internet Reliability]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:04:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Internet00000000.jpg

State leaders joined city and town officials Monday to announce the start of their effort to improve broadband internet speed and reliability across the state.

“There is a need today for cheaper, easier access to ultra-high speed internet access,” said Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Katz.

Katz and State Sen. Beth Bye said Connecticut has been left out in the cold compared to other cities and states across the country when it comes to broadband and fiber projects.

The systems are known in tech circles as “Gigabit” networks.

Twenty-nine cities around the United States have access to gigabit networks through several providers that include AT&T, Google, Centurylink and Cox.

“None of these places are in New England,” Katz said.

Three municipalities have partnered with the state in sending out the request for qualifications – New Haven, West Hartford and Stamford.

State officials insist that creating the new networks isn’t just an infrastructure improvement.

“This is about economic development,” Bye said during the press conference.

Katz explained that the average Internet speed for a household in Connecticut is about 9 megabits and the goal is to improve that to about 1,000 megabits.

Representatives from tech companies in attendance applauded the state’s effort to improve their business conditions.

“This is a proud moment for a tech startup to be in Connecticut,” said Zack Beatty with SeeClickFix, a New Haven-based company that allows users to report non-emergency issues that are going on in their neighborhoods.

“It’s a very exciting tech scene but we’ve reached a point where we’re seeing the tech community grow in New Haven, in Connecticut and beyond and yet you’re not seeing the infrastructure grow with it,” Beatty said.

He said improved broadband would allow employees to work seamlessly from home without issues.

“It’s not about bandwidth. It’s about reliability,” Beatty said.

The initial RFQ was sent to prospective Internet partners and state officials said they expect to receive more information on the future of high-speed broadband in November.

<![CDATA[Decision 2014: The Q-Poll]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 12:58:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/visconti+foley+malloy+decision.jpg

This week’s episode of "Decision 2014" focuses on the first Quinnipiac poll of the general election.

According to the poll, GOP challenger Tom Foley leads Dan Malloy 46 percent to 40 percent in the race for governor, but the biggest surprise may be that unaffiliated candidate Joseph Visconti received 7 percent.

Visconti joins George Colli in the studio to talk about where his support is coming from and where he stands on issues other than guns and education. He also debuts his newest web advertisement.

Also, CTNewsJunkie’s Christine Stuart breaks down the poll and what it all means with Max Reiss.

Todd Piro discusses the legality of campaign ads and why the governor was able to use video from an NBC Connecticut broadcast without the station’s consent.

Finally, we introduce you to GOP Treasurer hopeful Tim Herbst of Trumbull.

Episode 10 – The Q-Poll: What’s it all mean?

  • WATCH: Unaffiliated candidate for governor Joseph Visconti, of West Hartford, reacts to his unexpectedly strong showing in the first poll of the campaign.
  • WATCH: CTNewsJunkie.com’s Christine Stuart breaks down Q-poll and what it all means.
  • WATCH: Todd Piro explores the legalities surrounding campaign advertising.
  • WATCH: Meet GOP candidate for treasurer Tim Herbst.

You can watch "Decision 2014" every Sunday at 10 a.m. on NBC Connecticut.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Visconti Says He'll Be a Factor in November]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:35:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/SEGMENT_1_091414_1200x675_328698435972.jpg

Unaffiliated candidate for governor Joe Visconti says all you have to do is look at the numbers in the recent Quinnipiac Poll to see why he’ll be more than a doormat during the November election.

“They don’t want to go to Malloy and they don’t want to go to Foley,” Visconti said during an exclusive interview with George Colli on NBC Connecticut’s "Decision 2014."

“Sixty-two percent of [Foley’s] support says they just don’t like Malloy and they don’t really like Foley, so they’re voting against Malloy," Visconti explained. "We’re looking to take that vote from Tom.”

Visconti has billed himself as an alternative conservative candidate, even going so far as to call himself a “Red State Republican,” referring to how his views more closely identify with those of Southern Republicans than those of the Northeast variety.

Visconti, according to the Q-Poll, takes voters who would typically vote for either Republican Tom Foley or Democrat Dan Malloy.

Doug Schwartz, of Quinnipiac University, says that even though Visconti is pulling a respectable seven percent of likely voters in early to mid-September, that’s a figure that’s likely to change.

“One thing also to keep in mind, historically, third party candidates tend to see their vote go down the closer you get to election day. We’ll have to see. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen in this case,” said Schwartz.

Visconti cares most about issues that many political experts have labeled as “Tea Party.”

For example, Visconti wants to revisit Connecticut’s use of the Common Core State Standards, the national set of benchmarks was later linked to Department of Education “Race to the Top” funds that were eventually controversial for the way states were awarded them.”

“Education has to be local,” Visconti said, of the Common Core. “There are some good things in anything. So you can pick out a lot of things in Common Core that could look good. Most of it’s been rejected. The kids stress and anxiety number one. The way they dropped this on the public is the first thing we hear from parents and kids.”

Visconti has the potential to be influential on the November ballot, but the Q-Poll also showed that the margin between heavy hitters Malloy and Foley remains at six points with or without Visconti on the ballot.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Malloy Ad Not Endorsed by NBC Connecticut]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:23:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/malloyadforweb.jpg

A political advertisement supporting Governor Dannel Malloy began airing on NBC Connecticut and other media outlets on Wednesday.

The ad features a portion of an NBC Connecticut newscast, along with a headline from NBCConnecticut.com.

The law does not allow NBC Connecticut to censor the ad, but the content was used without our permission and in no way constitutes an endorsement by NBC Connecticut.

Photo Credit: Malloy for Governor Ad]]>
<![CDATA[Rowland's Attorneys Cross-Examine Brian Foley ]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:13:02 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/brian+foley.JPG

Attorneys for former Gov. John Rowland spent Tuesday morning cross-examining Brian Foley in a federal corruption trial for a case alleging Rowland's involvement in illegal campaign activities.

Rowland is accused of taking $35,000 in unreported payments to advise Foley's wife, Lisa-Wilson Foley's 5th District Congressional campaign and offering to do the same for Republican candidate Mark Greenberg in the past.

The clear goal based on their line of questioning was to get Foley to prove that Roland was hired legitimately and that his work for his wife's campaign was secondary.

On several occasions Foley told defense attorney Reid Weingarten that “I would not have hired Rowland if I didn’t think it would be primarily beneficial to the campaign.”

But throughout Foley's Tuesday morning testimony, he said that Rowland did a great deal of legitimate work.

"It was real deal," Foley told defense attorneys.

The work included Rowland hiring former Connecticut House Speaker Tom Ritter as a lobbyist to help the nursing home business, Apple Health Care, that Foley owned. Apple Healthcare is the parent company for Apple Rehab facilities.

Rowland provided Foley's company with a report about the possible closure of nursing home in Connecticut at one point and spoke directly with Apple Rehab executives in his consulting efforts related to nursing homes.

Foley even commended Rowland for his work helping the company and said he did a lot of work for the company in 2011.

Foley also conceded that it was his attorney's idea to not mention the political work that Rowland would contribute to Foley's wife's campaign, and the contract was even struck with Foley's attorney's office directly. However, he also said he never told his attorney that he hired Rowland as a way to get him involved in the campaign and said that he gave him misleading information.

"I wasn't telling the whole story," Foley said in court.

He said that he transferred $100,000 checks once a month in September 2011 to his wife.

"I wasn't trying to hide this," he said.

Foley admitted to using Apple Rehab resources to support his wife's bid for Congress and said he asked Apple Rehab employees to help the campaign and attend debates. Of his 5,000 employees , Foley said that 12 donated to Wilson-Foley's campaign or came to debates.

When the information about Rowland's work for Apple Health Care and consulting on Wilson-Foley's campaing, Foley said he was "concerned."

On Rowland's work for the campaign, Foley admitted that "Lisa did not want to be seen in public with Mr. Rowland." Foley also said that Rowland advised against putting Wilson-Foley on Apple Rehab TV ads to avoid breaking election laws.

Foley admitted that his $500,000 contribution to his wife's campaign was done in secret and that he didn't even consult the campaign's Washington-based firm that handled some of their campaign finance dealings.

He also said that same firm, Patton & Boggs, advised that there was no issue with hiring Rowland as a consultant for Apple even if he did some volunteer campaign work on the side.

Foley said that months after the election in question, Rowland called him asking to do more work and Foley was surprised because an investigation was already under way.

Foley said that he and Wilson-Foley struck a deal with the federal government and that he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor so that his maximum prison sentance was 1 year.

"I think it'll be the same whether he's convicted or aquitted," Foley said. "I think it'll be the same way. That's from my heart."

The initial deal provided that his wife wouldn't be charged, but he said that changed. Foley said his "hope is to get as little" jailtime as possible.

"It's like being found guilty of stealing a lobster from a lobster pot," he said describing his reduced misdemeanor plea.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

<![CDATA[Blumenthal Calls on Pharmacies to Stop Selling Tobacco]]> Mon, 08 Sep 2014 18:55:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/061314Cigarettes.jpg

After CVS followed through with its corporate pledge last week to stop selling tobacco products of all kinds, Sen. Richard Blumenthal stood in front of a Hartford Walgreens and called on all other big pharmacy chains to do the same.

"A company that promotes health and wellness cannot profit from death and addiction, and this is inevitably what smoking causes,” said Blumenthal.

CVS became the first chain to stop selling all tobacco products including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and cigars.

It's the largest chain of retail pharmacies in America and reports earnings of more than $120 billion each year. Tobacco-related sales account for about $2 billion.

Blumenthal said CVS stepped up to do the right thing and that Walgreens and Rite Aid need to follow suit.

“I hope that customers will reward CVS and likewise put pressure on Walgreens and Rite Aid and other pharmacy chains to do the right thing, do it as soon as possible, just as CVS said it will.”

Rite Aid and Walgreens did not return a request for comment.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

Photo Credit: Shuttershock ]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2014: The Fighting 5th]]> Sun, 07 Sep 2014 17:33:57 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/decision+2014+episode+9.jpg

On this week’s episode of "Decision 2014," the focus turns to the 5th Congressional District.

Stretching from Farmington west to New York and north to Massachusetts, the district has been the race to watch over the last few election cycles, and this year is no different.

First-term Democratic Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is being challenged by Litchfield businessman and Republican Mark Greenberg.

This is Greenberg’s third attempt at becoming the congressional representative from northwestern Connecticut.

He speaks with George Colli about what’s different this time around, the impact of being the first witness called in the federal trial of former Gov. John Rowland and how he would describe his position on guns to families in Newtown.

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty sits down with Max Reiss and discusses the impact the tragedy in Newtown had on her first term and whether she will take a pledge against accepting the help of outside money.

Reiss will also wrap up the week that was in the Connecticut governor’s race, including the visit by former President Bill Clinton to New Haven.

And before his exclusive interview with President Barack Obama, we talk with the new moderator and host of “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd, about how he feels going into his first show.

He talks with our own Todd Piro about his vision for the longest-running show on television and how it will remain relevant in era of Twitter.

NBC Connecticut’s "Decision 2014" airs every Sunday at 10 a.m., just before “Meet the Press.”

Episode 9 – The Fighting 5th

  • WATCH: Republican 5th Congressional district challenger Mark Greenberg talks with George Colli.
  • WATCH: 5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty sits down with Max Reiss.
  • WATCH: Moderator and host of "Meet the Press," Chuck Todd, discusses the future of the longest-running show on television with Todd Piro, then turns his attention to the Connecticut governor's race.
  • WATCH: Max Reiss wraps up this week's developments in the Connecticut governor’s race.

Web Extras

  • WATCH: Mark Greenberg talks faith, the pledge and charity with George Colli.
  • WATCH: Todd Piro talks sports with "Meet The Press" moderator and host Chuck Todd.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Esty Battles Greenberg in 5th District]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 19:30:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/esty+greenberg.jpg

Rep. Elizabeth Esty is fighting off a familiar opponent from the Republican side in her race to retain Connecticut’s fifth congressional seat.

Esty says that even though she’s a Democrat, she’s managed to find ways to gravitate toward the more moderate and conservative voters in her district.

“I come from a Republican town in Cheshire,” Esty said. “Most of the voters in this district don’t like either party. They’re looking for the folks who can be effective by them. It’s not a party’s party or for that matter. They want to see what you’re getting done. They don’t care what the letter is after your name.”

GOP opponent Mark Greenberg is looking to unseat Esty. Greenberg, who has worked in real estate for most of his professional life, is running for the seat for the third time.

He says the economic conditions in Connecticut just haven’t picked up that way they have in neighboring states.

“It was the economy in 2010 and it was the economy in 2012 and it’s the economy now,” Greenberg said. “Frankly, this state is not recovered from the 2008 depression, I call it: recession-depression.”

The Connecticut 5th District encompasses primarily western parts of the state all the way to the New York State border. Included is Newtown, the site of one of the worst mass shootings in American history.

Esty’s term in Congress started just days after the Sandy Hook shooting. She says the tragedy helped to shape her views on guns and gun control.

“I want background checks for all sales. All commercial sales will help save lives," Esty said. "So will making it a federal crime for trafficking, purchasing something in someone else’s name. Those are the issues that law enforcement has flagged for us.”

Greenberg, however, takes a different look at how the issues of guns and school safety should be handled.

He says Connecticut residents and American citizens have the right to bear arms in responsible ways. Greenberg says the Constitution grants Americans the right to possess guns and that there are other ways to ensure that schools and the general public are kept safe.

“I think the most important thing that we have to deal with is the mental health issue. We have to make sure people that have mental health issues do not possess guns. That they cannot get their hands on them,” Greenberg said.

Voters will have the ultimate choice on which candidate they want to represent them on election day.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Meet Chuck Todd of "Meet the Press"]]> Sat, 06 Sep 2014 09:22:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/090714_LSP_Chuck_Todd_1200x675_325741123764.jpg

Chuck Todd makes his debut as moderator of "Meet the Press" on Sunday, and has landed President Barack Obama as his first guest. On Friday, Todd took to Reddit to introduce himself.

The Miami native, who attended George Washington University, was previously NBC’s chief White House correspondent and political director. Despite his years in Washington, the sports lover remains committed to teams outside D.C.; he has been a fan of the Miami Hurricanes and the Green Bay Packers since birth.

Here, from his Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” are five things we learned about the famed political junkie.

When will he shave his facial hair?

Don’t hold your breath — even if, as suggested, it would improve his ratings. When he looks in the mirror, he sees his late father, he says. Shaving his beard would be like getting rid of that piece of his father that he carries with him

Who is one person, now dead, that he would have loved to have interviewed?

Richard Nixon, because it would have been a challenge

How does he see his role as a reporter and moderator?

His job is to push back against bloviation and talking points by being grounded in facts, and to get to the nut of the debate.

How does he feel about his name?

He hates having two one syllable names, and has given both of his children multiple-syllable first names. “I’ve been ‘ChuckTodd’ with every coach and teacher during my childhood,” he wrote on Reddit.

Does he ever get nervous interviewing high profile guests?

He's always a tad nervous. "Any moment can be a career ender," he wrote.

What did he think about the University of Louisville’s football win over Miami on Monday?

His late father-in-law was a star quarterback at Louisville, so criticism of Louisville is off-limits in his house. He’s not upset about Louisville, he says, but about the University of Miami being unprepared.
“It’s time for the ‘State of Miami’ to return, meaning that the best players in the best high school football factories in the country go to Miami,” he wrote.

<![CDATA[Social Conservative Group Endorses Foley for Governor]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 19:10:29 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/6pfoleystill090414max00000001.jpg

The Family Institute of Connecticut's Political Action Committee decided that the Republican in the race for Connecticut's governor's office is the right man for the job.

"This comes down to one issue," said Peter Wolfgang, of the Family Institute. "The hot issue that we believe is going to attention at the State Capitol is assisted suicide."

Wolfgang said Foley vowed his veto of legislation relating to assisted suicide.

But the Family Institute is more widely known for its right-leaning stances on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

Sources close to the Foley campaign told NBC Connecticut that if he were elected governor, Foley wouldn't change his positions as a pro-choice and same-sex marriage supporting Republican.

Democrats don't buy that.

"We just stand here confused about why Tom Foley would accept the endorsement of an organization that fought basic human rights for so long" said State Sen. Beth Bye, a Democrat in the General Assembly who represents Bloomfield and West Hartford.

Democrats argue that the endorsement by such a right-leaning group could jeopardize some of the state's laws when it comes to issues like abortion and gay marriage, even though a governor's office controlled by a Republican would be handcuffed by a Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

"Our campaign is happy to receive the endorsement of any group that recognizes the need to change direction toward a more proud and prosperous Connecticut," a spokesman for the Foley campaign said in a statement.

Wolfgang says independent voters need to educate themselves on the issues and understand that topics other than assisted suicide just aren't on the horizon in Connecticut.

"Issues like gay marriage and abortion just aren't going to come up" he said.

<![CDATA[McDonnells Guilty on Most Charges]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 18:16:31 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/mcdonnell-guilty-AP977255973421.jpg

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been found guilty of most of the public corruption charges they faced in a marathon trial centered on lavish gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman.

The former governor has been found guilty of 11 of the 13 charges against him. Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell has been found guilty of nine of the 13 charges against her.

It was a bombshell ending to a trial that included the dissection of the former first couple's marriage, testimony that Bob had moved out and was living with a priest, and testimony that Maureen had begun frequently texting and emailing the businessman in the case, Jonnie Williams, who wanted help promoting his dietary supplement.

Three of the McDonnells' five children clutched each others' hands and prayed before the verdict was announced, breaking into sobs as their parents' guilty counts were read aloud.

The couple's son Bobby McDonnell looked at his father with tear-glazed eyes as the former governor's head collapsed into his hands.

Bob McDonnell is "broken" and "devastated," said defense attorney Henry Asbill, who added that he would appeal the verdict.

The government had accused the McDonnells of doing special favors for Williams, the former CEO of dietary supplement maker Star Scientific, Inc., in exchange for more than $177,000 in gifts and loans.

Courtroom observers said two jurors wiped their eyes as the verdicts were read.

As co-defendants, the former first couple was separated in the courtroom, with three lawyers sitting between them. Maureen McDonnell teared up, but appeared composed compared to the emotional reactions of her husband and children.

The McDonnells didn't look at each other as the verdict was read. They left the Richmond courthouse together but got into separate cars. It was a marked difference from the rest of the trial, which verged into soap opera territory as defense lawyers suggested that the McDonnells' marriage was so broken they could not have conspired to obtain gifts, trips and loans from Williams.

Throughout the trial, Bob McDonnell had appeared confident, telling reporters repeatedly that he was sure he would be exonerated and was putting his faith in God.

"All I can say is my trust remains in the Lord," he said in a brief statement as he left the courthouse Thursday with Maureen, before they got into separate cars.

McDonnell, who was once considered a rising GOP star and potential vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney in 2012, now faces, along with his wife, up to 30 years in federal prison when they're sentenced in January.

"This is a difficult and disappointing day for the Commonwealth and its citizens," said Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. "Public service frequently requires sacrifice, and almost always requires financial sacrifice. When public officials turn to financial gain in exchange for official acts, we have no choice but to prosecute the case."

Bob McDonnell is the first former governor of Virginia to be convicted of a crime. The commonwealth had long had a reputation for clean politics, a reputation shattered in the five-week McDonnell trial.

Political analyst Bob Holsworth called it "a day of infamy in Virginia."

The Verdict, Count by Count

Bob and Maureen McDonnell were each charged with 13 counts in a 14-count indictment:

  • In the first count against them, the McDonnells were found guilty of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud for accepting gifts and loans from Williams.

  • The next three charges, counts 2-4, involved accepting checks from Williams: On counts 2 and 3, the McDonnells were both found guilty of honest-services wire fraud for accepting a $15,000 check to pay a caterer for their daughter's wedding, and for accepting a $50,000 loan check for MoBo Real Estate, a company the former governor operated with his sister.

  • On count 4, Bob McDonnell was also found guilty of a count of honest-services wire fraud for a $20,000 wire transfer for MoBo. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty on that charge.

  • On count 5, the McDonnells were found guilty of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right for the gifts and loans they received.

  • The McDonnells also faced six charges of obtaining property under color of official right, counts 6-11: On counts 6-8, they were found guilty of three charges of obtaining property under color of official right for a $50,000 check to Maureen, for the $15,000 check to the wedding caterer, and for a $2,380 golf outing.

  • On count 9, Bob McDonnell was found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for a $1,424 golf outing. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty of that charge.

  • On count 10, both McDonnells were found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for the $50,000 check to MoBo.

  • On count 11, Bob McDonnell was found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for the $20,000 transfer to MoBo. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty of that charge.

  • Only Bob McDonnell was charged with count 12. He was found not guilty of making false statements on a TowneBank loan application.

  • In count 13, both McDonnells were found not guilty of making false statements on a PenFed loan application.

  • Only Maureen McDonnell was charged with count 14. She was found guilty of obstruction of official proceeding for a handwritten note to Williams.

They will be sentenced Jan. 6, 2015.

Inside the Testimony

The trial centered on the testimony of the former governor and Williams, the prosecution's star witness. Maureen McDonnell did not take the stand.

Williams was granted immunity for his dealings with the McDonnells and possible securities fraud violations, which had been investigated by a separate grand jury. He testified that he spent lavishly on the McDonnells to secure their help promoting and obtaining state-backed research for Star Scientific's tobacco-derived anti-inflammatory supplement, Anatabloc. Williams intended to share the results of that research with doctors to gain their support of the product.

Prosecutors claimed the former first couple had an "unconscionable amount" of credit card debt and presented testimony that they were eager to accept gifts from Williams, including a $6,500 Rolex watch that Maureen gave Bob for Christmas, a vacation at Williams’ luxurious home on Smith Mountain Lake outside Roanoke, use of Williams' Ferrari and a shopping spree for designer clothes and accessories for Maureen.

Testimony showed Williams loaned $50,000 to Maureen McDonnell that she used to pay down credit debt in 2011. He also loaned $50,000 and $20,000 to MoBo Real Estate, a small company that Bob McDonnell and one of his sisters ran to operate two beach properties.

Prosecutors also said Williams paid $15,000 in catering expenses when one of the McDonnells' daughters got married. And they claimed Maureen had developed a close relationship with Williams, exchanging more than 1,200 texts and calls over a nearly two-year period, including 52 in one day.

In his defense, Bob McDonnell testified he did nothing more than extend routine political courtesies to Williams. Before the indictment, he had apologized for what he described as bad judgment and said he had repaid about $120,000 in gifts and loans, but denied breaking any laws.

A key part of the defense strategy was the claim that the McDonnells couldn't have conspired, because their marriage had deteriorated to the point that Bob McDonnell had moved out and was now living with a priest, who is a family friend. Maureen McDonnell's lawyers called Williams her "favorite playmate."

Both the prosecution and the defense called Maureen volatile and emotional. One prosecution witness called her a "nut bag." Bob McDonnell himself said his wife didn't take well to the role of first lady, calling her handling of behind-the-scenes matters "a disaster." Testimony revealed staff members at the governor's mansion had threatened to resign en masse.

Judge: 'Can't Take Another Second'

After lengthy days of intense testimony -- on day four, the judge in the case said he was stopping testimony because he "can't take another second" -- the jury faced the task of deciding the McDonnells' guilt or innocence.

Judge James R. Spencer issued lengthy instructions to the jury Tuesday morning, including the warning that the testimony of a witness who is granted immunity must be more closely examined than testimony of other witnesses.

The heightened scrutiny was required to determine whether the testimony of the immunized witness is "affected by self-interest," Spencer said.

To be found guilty, Spencer said, a defendant must understand the nature of the conspiracy and deliberately join it.

However, Spencer said a conspiracy does not have to achieve its goals, which could have undercut a defense claim that Williams never received anything of substance, including the research he took preliminary steps to seek.

He also said an agreement need not be stated explicitly by the conspirators and that it didn't matter whether the defendant would have done those favors absent a bribe.

Spencer also told jurors -- who heard from three character witnesses, two for Bob McDonnell and one for his wife -- that "evidence of good character alone may create a reasonable doubt as to a defendant's guilt."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Presidential Contenders Flock to NH]]> Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:26:49 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rand-paul.jpg

It's still two months from the 2014 mid-term elections, and already numerous potential 2016 presidential candidates are flocking to New Hampshire.

Politico reported on Wednesday that GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will speak at a Generation Opportunity event on Sept. 11 and the NHGOP Unity Breakfast on Sept. 12. Both events will be held in Manchester.

This weekend brings two more Republican presidential hopefuls to the Granite State. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is scheduled to make appearances in Dover and Stratham on Saturday, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be in Concord, Manchester and Nashua on Sunday.

It was also announced last week that Donald Trump will travel to New Hampshire on Nov. 12 to speak at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communication's 12th annual First Amendment Awards.

Paul, Jindal, Cruz and Trump have all made previous trips to New Hampshire this year.

Vice President Joe Biden, a possible 2016 contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, was scheduled to speak at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2014: The Education Show]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 10:12:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/malloy+foley+first+debate.jpg

In their first debate of this election cycle, Democratic incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy and his GOP challenger Tom Foley picked up where they left off in 2010.

The debate, sponsored by The Norwich Bulletin, was a feisty affair.

Veteran political reporter Mark Pazniokas, of the CT Mirror, joins George Colli to analyze who won, who lost and what we should expect going forward.

Also on this week's episode, outgoing Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor speaks with new NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss on what's gone right and what's gone wrong in his time as the state's top educator.

And Todd Piro discusses special education needs with two advocates and mothers.

Episode 8 - The Education Show

WATCH: CT Mirror's Mark Pazniokas wraps up the first debate of the general election season with George Colli.

WATCH: Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor talks with Max Reiss.

WATCH: Two advocates and mothers talk with Todd Piro about special needs education issues.

<![CDATA[Departing Education Chief Reflects on Successes]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:40:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stefan+pryor.jpg

As he prepares to leave his three-year post as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor says he’s perhaps most of proud of how the dialogue has shifted in and around schools.

“I'm hearing a lot from parents who are saying, 'You know what, we shouldn't be settling for good enough in Connecticut. We should be reaching for true excellence,'” Pryor said during an exclusive interview Thursday.

Pryor announced last week that he will not serve for second term if the opportunity presents itself. He was appointed by Gov. Dannel Malloy in September 2011.

He did face his fair share of challenges throughout his term, including implementing the Common Core State Standards into Connecticut schools. He also grappled at times with the state’s influential teachers unions like the Connecticut Education Association.

“I think that overall it’s been a working relationship with us and with the governor’s office and the commissioner for the improvement of public education,” said Mark Waxenberg, the current Executive Director of the CEA. “We did disagree on issues but we always had the same goal in mind which was always students, teachers, and public education but we did come from a different perspective. I wouldn’t say I was happy to see him go.”

Pryor touted accomplishments like education reform and increasing the amount of funding for and the number of students enrolled in the state’s First Class Pre-K program.

On Common Core, however, is where Pryor found disagreement when it came to implementation with some teachers, but he defended the way the state handled the standards.

“In Connecticut, we've taken the time listening to stakeholders. We can always do more of that but there's been teacher voice, there's been parent voice in the process so we've adjusted our method,” Pryor said.

Waxenberg said he would prefer to see Connecticut-based standards incorporate the Common Core rather than take a mandate from Washington on what’s best for the state.

“Instead of replacing the Connecticut standards with common core, we should be melding them together to make that Connecticut’s are the most rigorous in the country because they have been over the past years,” Waxenberg said.

Pryor said he’s not sure of his last day but has the option to work until the end of 2014.

<![CDATA[CEO of Access Health CT Heads to Washington]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:25:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Access+Health+CT.jpg

Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan is getting a promotion and leaving the department to take a job in Washington to oversee the federal health exchange.

Counihan will join the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services team as Marketplace Chief Executive Officer, where he will lead the federal Marketplace, manage relationships with state marketplaces and run the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which regulates health insurance at the federal level.  He will report to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. 

He is leaving his job in Connecticut, effective Sept. 5.

Malloy said this is a testament to the success of the state's healthcare exchange.

“Kevin’s appointment is a ringing endorsement of the success we’ve had implementing the Affordable Care Act in Connecticut,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement. “Since we launched Access Health CT, we’ve cut Connecticut’s uninsured rate in half in this state and nearly 140,000 previously uninsured people now have coverage. We’re very proud of Kevin and sad to see him go, but know that the team in place will continue working hard to provide quality, affordable health care coverage to even more Connecticut residents.”

Counihan said he did not seek out the job, but was recruited.

Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman made the announcement during a noon news conference on Tuesday at the state's health insurance exchange offices on Trumbull Street.

“Kevin and his team have done a tremendous job ensuring Connecticut residents have access to high-quality healthcare. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished here—we’re a national leader with more than 280,000 people enrolled in affordable health insurance,” Wyman, Chair of the Access Health CT Board, said in a statement. “Kevin’s move to Washington is a loss for the state, but I know he’ll bring his strong commitment and considerable skill to his new role, and that is good for the nation. The Access Health Board wishes Kevin all the best in his new role, and we thank the dedicated team at Access Health CT for their continued focus on bringing affordable healthcare to Connecticut residents.”

Wyman said there will be a national search for Counihan's replacement.

<![CDATA[Decision 2014: The Democrats Fight Back]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 10:15:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/decision+2014+episode+7.jpg

On this week’s episode of NBC Connecticut's "Decision 2014," the Democrats fight back following the GOP primary election.

Vice President Joe Biden visited Goodwin College in East Hartford and held a roundtable luncheon with elected officials, business and union leaders and students. Biden discussed job training programs and, what he considers, the re-emergence of the middle class in America.

NBC Connecticut’s George Colli was the television pool reporter for the event and he takes us behind the scenes.

Also, Gov. Dan Malloy goes one-on-one with George Colli. The governor responds to several of his opponents' attacks against him and lays out an optimistic view of his first term and reelection chances.

Finally, the chairman of the Independent Party of Connecticut talks with Gerry Brooks about how he sees his party playing a role in this year’s election. The Independent Party endorsed Tom Foley to be their candidate for governor. Foley will join Malloy by having his name listed twice on the November ballot.

"Decision 2014" airs every Sunday from now until Election Day at 10 a.m. on NBC Connecticut.

Episode 7: The Democrats Fight Back

  • WATCH: Go behind the scenes of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Goodwin College in East Hartford
  • WATCH: Governor Dan Malloy goes one-on-one with George Colli
  • WATCH: Chairman of the Independent Party of Connecticut tells Gerry Brooks why they chose Tom Foley to be its candidate

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2014]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:31:43 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+capitol_722_406.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Perry in NH: Charges All Politics]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:03:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/edtAP259994489655.jpg

New Hampshire wasn't kind to Texas Governor Rick Perry back in 2012. He's hoping voters in the granite state will give him a fresh start as he considers another presidential bid in 2016.

On Friday, Governor Perry returned to New Hampshire for a series of GOP sponsored events.

He met with business leaders in Portsmouth and focused many of his remarks on border concerns and the growing threat of ISIS, even connecting the two by speculating members of ISIS could enter the U.S. through unsecured borders.

"ISIS has said we are coming to America and they are going to attack us, I take them at their word," said Gov. Rick Perry.

Governor Perry also addressed his recent indictment on coercion charges by a Texas grand jury. He called the charges politically motivated and said he will fight them with every fiber of his being.

He also acknowledged making mistakes in New Hampshire back in 2012, saying he didn't spend enough time in the state and wasn't as prepared as he would have liked.

Governor Perry will make several more stops in New Hampshire through Saturday.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Staffer in Chicken Suit Faces Charges After Clucking at NH Governor, Senator]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:25:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/zona+chicken+suit.jpg

A GOP state committee staff member has been charged with disorderly conduct after heckling New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Governor Maggie Hassan at this past Saturday's Old Home Day parade.

Michael Zona, of Manchester, was dressed in a chicken suit when he began to interfere with the parade, reports The Eagle-Tribune.

The 23-year-old allegedly ran out into the parade route toward Shaheen and Hassan, clucking at them.
"I believe Senator Jeanne Shaheen should be holding town halls and I have a First Amendment right to express that point of view. I wasn't bothering anyone. I wasn't disturbing anyone. In fact, I got a good deal of encouragement from people along the parade route," said Zona in response to the incident.
Zona was escorted from the parade after failing to comply with numerous requests to stop. 
“At one point, the governor had to take a few steps back toward her security staff,” Detective Christopher Olson told The Eagle-Tribune.
Julia McClain of the New Hampshire Democratic Party used the incident to blast the state Republicans, saying the party "wastes taxpayer resources and local law enforcement time with these juvenile antics when we should be discussing critical issues that matter--like raising the minimum wage, creating good paying jobs, and protecting social security and Medicare for our state's seniors."

Photo Credit: Twitter: John DiStaso]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Council Speaker Tweets About HPV Diagnosis, Urges Annual Check-Ups]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:34:22 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MarkViverito.jpg

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced via Twitter Sunday that she had "high-risk HPV" in an effort to boost awareness about the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the country and encourage women to have regular gynecological exams.

In a series of tweets, Mark-Viverito divulged that she learned Friday she had the infection, and that she hadn't been to a gynecologist in two years prior to her most recent visit.

"At recent #GYN visit alarmed to find out last one, 2yrs ago. Friday got call re: results. Told have "high risk HPV". #Biopsy needed #ASAP," she tweeted.

"Tuesday I'm there. To say I'm not wee bit worried = lie. "High risk HPV" can POTENTIALLY but NOT definitively lead to cervical #cancer."

Mark-Viverito, 45, tweeted that she is "an extremely private person," but that her position has given her a platform -- and a responsibility to use it.

"Our health should never be compromised," she tweeted. "Annual physicals have to be sacred. Yet our health care system doesn't lend itself to this for many."

Mayor de Blasio called Mark-Viverito's decision to share her experience "brave" and "exemplary."

About 79 million people in the United States have HPV, and another 14 million contract it each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anyone can get it once they become sexually active, and nearly half of the new infections each year occur among people ages 15 to 24, according to the New York City Health Department.

Most people who get HPV have no symptoms of infection. Each year, about 12,000 women diagnosed with HPV nationwide develop cervical cancer, the most common cancer associated with the infection, and about 4,000 of them die from it.

To learn more about HPV treatment and prevention, including a vaccine, click here.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

Photo Credit: McMullan/Sipa USA]]>
<![CDATA[Former Vt. U.S. Sen. Jeffords Dead at 80]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:57:40 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/James+Jeffords.jpg

Former Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., died Monday at Knollwood, a military retirement home in Washington, D.C., a former aide said. He was 80.

A navy veteran, Jeffords made a name in politics as a state senator and attorney general before he was elected to seven terms in the U.S. House, once splitting with his fellow Republicans in opposing a President Reagan tax cut plan. Vermonters voted him into the Senate in 1988, where he was a champion for environmental causes.

The moderate, even liberal, Republican shocked Washington in 2001 when he said the GOP had drifted too far to the right for him. He quit the party, became an independent, and caucused with democrats.

“I am confident it is the right decision,” Jeffords said upon making his famous “jump.” “I hope that the people of Vermont will understand it.”

Jeffords announced in 2005 he would not seek re-election the next year, citing declining health.

"I think we have to bring back people like Jim Jeffords, who say running for office is really a form of public service," former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin said Monday.

Kunin remembered Jeffords as a good-hearted guy who just wanted to do what he thought was right; not tow some party line. "The comparison is rather painful, where we now have a Congress that prides itself on doing nothing, where in those days, people really went there to get things done and to improve the lives of the public," Kunin said.

"He's going to be very sorely missed," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who was in the U.S. House when Jeffords was in the Senate. "He was a guy who, I think, much preferred to be around Vermonters here in Vermont than among the big shots in Washington. It wasn't who he was."

Tom Vogelmann, the University of Vermont's agriculture and life sciences dean, told New England Cable News he thinks of Jeffords as "one of the giants." The University of Vermont College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is housed in the building that bears Jeffords' name.

"He was a very strong supporter of education, a very strong supporter of environmental legislation, and that's the curriculum that's basically taught in this building," Vogelmann told NECN. "So we have thousands of young people who are training here and that's all adding to his legacy."

Reflections on the life and legacy of Jim Jeffords poured in Monday. Here are several of those:

President Barack Obama:

Michelle and I send our deepest sympathies to the family of Senator James M. Jeffords on his passing. Jim devoted his life to service - as a Naval officer, a local leader in his hometown of Shrewsbury, and eventually as a U.S. Senator representing his beloved Vermont. During his more than 30 years in Washington, Jim never lost the fiercely independent spirit that made Vermonters, and people across America, trust and respect him. Whatever the issue - whether it was protecting the environment, supporting Americans with disabilities, or whether to authorize the war in Iraq - Jim voted his principles, even if it sometimes meant taking a lonely or unpopular stance. Vermonters sent him to Washington to follow his conscience, and he did them proud.

Our prayers are with the Jeffords family, including his son Leonard and daughter Laura. And we're grateful to Jim for his legacy of service to Vermont and the United States of America.

Vice President Joe Biden:

Jim Jeffords was a personal friend, a great senator, and a good man. He was not only beloved by the people of Vermont, but by anyone who ever worked with him. For the nearly four decades I served in the United States Senate, nearly half were spent with Jim as a colleague. Jim knew that with a country as diverse as ours, there is a need for consensus to move the country forward. He was a man who dealt with his colleagues without pretext and with complete honesty. And he always knew what he was talking about—and his colleagues and constituents always knew where he stood on an issue. Jim was a reflection of Vermont—independent and non-ideological and always about solving problems. Jill and I are saddened by his passing and join his family, friends, and his former staff in remembering all that he stood for: basic fairness and principled independence.

Former President Bill Clinton:

Hillary and I are saddened by the passing of our friend Senator Jim Jeffords, who served the people of Vermont and the United States for more than 30 years. Jim was one of our strongest advocates for better health and education, a cleaner environment, and increased opportunities for people with disabilities. I will always be especially grateful for his support of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Brady Bill, and our 1993 health care reform effort. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends across the country.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.:

He was a partner in our work for Vermont, and he was a friend. He was a Vermonter through and through, drawn to political life to make a difference for our state and nation. Part of his legacy will also stand as an enduring chapter of the Senate's history.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt.:

I know I share the view of all Vermonters today in expressing condolences to the family of Senator Jim Jeffords on his passing, and our gratitude to him for his life of service.

While Jim would certainly wave away the notion, he was indeed a legend in Vermont and the nation. With characteristic decency, humility and civility, and a dogged persistence, he made his mark in Congress. Millions of children with disabilities are better off today because he lead the charge for their equal access to education. Americans are breathing cleaner air and drinking cleaner water because of his fierce advocacy for the environment and clean energy. And budding artists across the nation receive the boost of his encouragement every year thanks to his legacy as the founder of the annual Congressional Arts Competition.

And, in 2001, the world saw what his fellow Vermonters already knew: Jim Jeffords, above all, had the courage of his convictions.

Jim and his wife, Liz Daley Jeffords, were mentors to me in my early days in the House of Representatives. I am deeply grateful to them both for their friendship, their support and their contributions to Vermont and our country.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt.:

I join Vermonters and citizens nationwide today in celebrating the life of Jim Jeffords, a true gentleman and an independent-minded maverick in the best tradition of our state. Jim followed in the footsteps of Senators Bob Stafford and George Aiken, always putting the interests of Vermonters and the nation ahead of partisan politics. He followed his sense of right in all that he did, and was never afraid to seek compromise by reaching across the aisle for the good of our country. Jim’s contribution to Vermont spanned his service in the Vermont House, as Attorney General, and as Vermont’s Representative in the U.S. House, where he developed his passion for high quality public education that forged his policy work on behalf of our kids and continued throughout his career. The passing of Senator Jim Jeffords will be felt throughout Vermont and our country. We need more like Senator Jeffords. My heart goes out to his children and extended family.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vt.:

The story of Vermont politics cannot be told without Jim Jeffords. He served in the most honorable way a person can serve: Selflessly, and always with the best interests of others at heart. He did what he felt was right, not what he felt would make him popular. Whether it was during his time in the Vermont Senate, or as Attorney General, or in the United States House of Representatives, or in the United States Senate, Jim valued the voices of Vermonters and leaves a legacy we can all learn from: Respect over rhetoric, pragmatism over pandering, and love for Vermonters overall.

In our large, and largely faceless, system of government, he demonstrated the power that one person speaking for their constituents can have. His example of moderation and independence is what I’ve tried to model my own career off of. My sincere condolences go out to Laura, Leonard, and the entire Jeffords family.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2014: General Election Challengers]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:22:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/decision+2014+ep+6+seg+1.jpg

Hear from the gubernatorial challengers on this week’s episode of “Decision 2014.”

Tom Foley and Heather Somers share how their business and public experience will benefit the state if they’re elected. The GOP primary winners speak with George Colli in their first joint and only one-on-one post-primary interview.

Also, potential third-party candidates Joe Visconti and Jonathan Pelto join Gerry Brooks in a spirited conversation on why they are more than just “spoiler” candidates.

The conservative Visconti and liberal Pelto are awaiting word on whether they received enough signatures to earn a spot on the November ballot. Their entrance into the governor’s race could have a significant impact on its tone and outcome.

In the third segment, CT Mirror’s Mark Pazniokas and CT News Junkie’s Christine Stuart analyze the primary night results and where the races go from here.

Episode 6: The General Election

  • WATCH: Tom Foley and Heather Somers in an exclusive sit-down interview with George Colli after the primary.
  • WATCH: Possible third-party candidates Jonathan Pelto and Joe Visconti tell Gerry Brooks why they should be taken seriously in the general election… if they make it onto the ballot.
  • WATCH: Veteran political journalists Mark Pazniokas and Christine Stuart wrap up primary week with Gerry Brooks.

Online exclusive

  • WATCH: Are Pelto and Visconti serious contenders? Gerry Brooks continues his conversation with Mark Pazniokas and Christine Stuart.

<![CDATA[Foley and Somers Make Debut Together]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:21:46 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/FOLEYSOMERS1PIC814.jpg They're ready to put the primaries behind them and unify the party.]]> <![CDATA[McKinney Throws Support to Foley]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 19:20:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/FOLEYMCKPICK81314.jpg They promise to unite the Republican party and work together to defeat Governor Malloy in November.]]>