<![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 Dec 2014 22:23:37 -0500 Sat, 20 Dec 2014 22:23:37 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[DiNardo Won’t Pursue Another Term as Chair of State Democratic Party]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:31:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/donkey+elephant+republican+generic+democrat+generic.jpg

Nancy DiNardo, the first woman to be elected chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party, is stepping down after leading the party for 10 years.

DiNardo will instead pursue the vice-chair role.

DiNardo’s political career started in 1971, when she was elected to town council in Trumbull. 

"Nancy has been a truly indispensable leader of this Democratic Party for over ten years. She was an extraordinary Chair who has led our party to critical victories this past November and in years past, and the Lieutenant Governor and I are grateful that she will continue to serve Connecticut Democrats," Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement.

"Going forward, I believe that Nick Balletto would do an excellent job in the role of Chair. There are important elections in our towns and cities this fall and I know Nick is committed to continuing the work that Nancy and the Connecticut Democratic Party have done to partner with Democrats running for local, state, and federal offices. In tandem with Nancy, I believe the Party will only expand to new heights, and the Lieutenant Governor and I are proud to support this ticket," Malloy went on to say.

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<![CDATA[State Senator's Condition Improving After Fall at Home]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:35:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/197*120/Senator+Andrew+Maynard+Fall+1200+2.jpg

In just three weeks, members of the Connecticut House and Senate will take their seats for the 2015 session, and one legislator is still recovering from injuries he suffered over the summer.

State Sen. Andrew Maynard fell at his home in Stonington over the summer and hurt his head. He hasn't made a public appearance in months but still won reelection against a Republican challenger during the November election.

Maynard – and his condition – has been a constant source of conversation over the past several months.

State Sen. Martin Looney, the next President Pro Tempore of the Connecticut, the chamber's highest ranking officer, visited Sen. Maynard recently.

“We had a good visit," said Looney. "We walked to the visiting area without assistance and he seems to be making significant progress toward his recovery.”

Maynard's family released updates on the senator's condition over the summer, explaining that his recovery was going well. Family members could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Maynard's injuries have not affected his standing among Senate Democrats. He will chair the Transportation Committee when the session convenes on Jan. 7.

Looney said he wouldn't speculate on whether his colleague would be in attendance during the 2015 session, but added that any questions about whether he deserves to serve should be put to rest by virtue of the election results.

“His constituents have elected him to another term and they are in effect willing to give him time to recover to be back with them. and I think that if that’s the position his constituents have taken I certainly think that’s the one the rest of the state should embrace,” Looney said.

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<![CDATA[Towns and Cities Pushback Against DEEP Proposal]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:28:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DEEPMandatePic00000000.jpg

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is fighting a proposal from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that would require towns and cities to make changes to some of their methods of cleaning streets and clearing storm drains.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a Republican, called DEEP a "runaway state agency" and complained that the proposal would put an unfunded burden on towns.

Officials at DEEP said it's premature to draw any conclusions since the regulations have yet to be approved.

“This is draft language that we’ve put out there for discussion and debate," said DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain.

The proposal will be addressed during a public hearing tomorrow morning.

Boughton said it's bold of the agency to force new regulations on cities and towns when he can cite numerous examples of state misconduct when it comes to cleaning up roads.

“In fact, they use a median in the center of I-84 to dump the roadkills that they collect all year long and they’re telling us to worry about run off on our local streets," he said.

Schain said the department wants to collaborate before any decisions are made, adding that everyone has common goals.

"We want to work with them and find some agreement on some projects that would be acceptable to them and meet our environmental concerns,” he said.

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<![CDATA[Connecticut Republicans Stick With Chairman Labriola]]> Thu, 11 Dec 2014 19:20:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Jerry_Labriola_Interview_1200x675_351413315976.jpg

Connecticut Republican Party chairman Jerry Labriola will hold onto his job for the final six months of his second term after coming under fire in the weeks following the November elections.

The Connecticut Republican Party Central Committee's 72 members met in Manchester on Thursday and opted to allow Labriola to finish out his term.

Labriola's leadership was called into question after Connecticut Republicans were shut out in all statewide races this year.

The party’s silver lining was that it picked up 10 seats in the Connecticut House of Representatives and one seat in the Connecticut Senate, but Republicans remain in the minority.

Two candidates had even made public their plans to run for party chairman in the event of a vacancy: Sen. Joe Markley and J.R. Romano. who managed the campaign for Republican treasurer candidate Tim Herbst.

GOP sources began to blame Labriola for the poor showing at the top of the ticket, which featured Republican Tom Foley in a second straight election.

However, over the past week, the vitriol that appeared to be directed at Labriola, it turned out, came from more of a vocal minority.

Connecticut Republican Party communications director Zak Sanders said the party's policy is not to comment on meetings such as the one held Thursday.

“There was a healthy discussion about this year’s elections and strategies for growing our party and moving forward,” he said.

Mary Ann Turner, who sits on the Connecticut GOP Central Committee said, said the party isn’t about just the chairman.

“Jerry Labriola is just the head of the party just like I’m the head of the town committee,” Turner said.

She added that as much of the blame for the poor election results falls on the shoulders of the entire committee.

“We have to take responsibility. We’re not there just to just go hang around and enjoy each other’s company which is nice,” Turner said.

Turner, who has worked as a communications professional for decades, said the state party has to pick a brand and message and stick with it.

She said she knows that there are ways the party can identify with Connecticut residents that could lead to election victories. Turned conceded that she's not sure what that message would be but said looking for it should start with Republicans who have been involved with winning races.

“You go to the guy who’s making the product and ask them how do you make it better? He’ll tell you. And if you stop and you listen and you’re good managers, that’s how you’ll make the change. That’s where the change is. It’s on the ground. We’re not doing that,” she said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Voter Turnout in November was 56 Percent]]> Wed, 10 Dec 2014 09:39:51 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/voting-dfw-generic-01.jpg

The turnout for the general election in November was almost 56 percent, according to the Secretary of the State.

Cornwall had the highest percentage of voters head to the polls, while the city of Hartford had the lowest turnout percentage, with 32.18 percent of registered voters casting ballots.

Secretary of State Denise Merrill released the figures today and said 55.57 percent of registered voters cast ballots on Election Day, Nov. 4.

There were several problems on Election Day in Hartford, where precincts were unprepared for the polls to open at 6 a.m. Election Day, which caused delays and voters milled around in frustration while waiting for registration lists to arrive late from the office of the Registrars of Voters in Hartford.

“Overall we had a very healthy and respectable voter turnout of just about 56% of registered voters in Connecticut,” Merrill said in a statement. “Once again we saw strong voter turnout in our small towns, while the cities continue to lag behind. Election Day problems in Hartford may have had a depressing impact on voter turnout in that city, which is truly unfortunate.”

“One thing I am very proud of is the large number of new voters – nearly 14,000 – who were able to participate in democracy due to Election Day Registration!,” Merrill said. “This was a total success and implemented statewide without any serious problems. This speaks volumes about the preparation undertaken by local election officials to accommodate new crowds of voters across the state. Due to their efforts we were really able to expand the voting franchise in 2014, which is something truly worth celebrating!”

In the General Election, 13,995 new voters cast ballots, making up 1.3 percent of the total votes.

  • Cornwall: 74.77%
  • Bridgewater: 73.36%
  • Bolton: 72.77%
  • Norfolk: 71.44%
  • Guilford: 71.16%
  • Litchfield: 70.31%
  • Goshen: 70.26%
  • New Hartford: 70.23%
  • Hampton: 70.08%
  • Old Lyme: 69.95%
  • Franklin: 69.84%
  • Columbia: 69.75%
  • Salem: 69.70%
  • Essex: 69.62%
  • Glastonbury: 68.96%
  • Portland: 68.85%
  • Sharon: 68.55%
  • Bethlehem: 68.52%
  • East Lyme: 68.44%
  • Roxbury: 68.42%
  • Prospect: 68.25%
  • Marlborough: 68.19%
  • Killingworth: 68.18%
  • Lyme: 68.12%
  • Berlin: 68.11%
  • East Hampton: 68.09%
  • Cheshire: 68.02%
  • Granby: 68.01%
  • Kent: 67.90%
  • Coventry: 67.82%
  • Avon: 67.32%
  • Voluntown: 67.25%
  • Andover: 67.19%
  • Union: 67.16%
  • Tolland: 67.03%
  • Lebanon: 66.79%
  • Chester: 66.49%
  • Sprague: 66.49%
  • Bloomfield: 66.45%
  • Willington: 66.36%
  • Somers: 65.92%
  • Westbrook: 65.89%
  • Thomaston: 65.84%
  • South Windsor: 65.41%
  • East Granby: 65.33%
  • Warren: 65.27%
  • Durham: 65.19%
  • Haddam: 65.16%
  • Wethersfield: 64.99%
  • Simsbury: 64.91%
  • Burlington: 64.45%
  • Middletown: 64.40%
  • Colebrook: 64.37%
  • Middlefield: 64.34%
  • Bethany: 64.24%
  • Chaplin: 64.21%
  • Ashford: 64.18%
  • Southington: 63.86%
  • Vernon: 63.76%
  • Montville: 63.63%
  • Brookfield: 63.60%
  • Suffield: 63.51%
  • Pomfret:63.30%
  • Rocky Hill: 63.19%
  • Canton: 63.11%
  • Hebron: 63.05%
  • East Haddam: 63.04%
  • Middlebury: 62.42%
  • North Haven: 62.27%
  • Southbury: 62.18%
  • Manchester: 61.92%
  • Newington: 61.88%
  • Morris: 61.86%
  • Wallingford: 61.82%
  • Eastford: 61.75%
  • Old Saybrook: 61.73%
  • Westport: 61.64%
  • Derby: 61.63%
  • Barkhamsted: 61.52%
  • Monroe: 61.46%
  • Washington: 61.37%
  • Farmington: 61.23%
  • Deep River: 61.21%
  • Hartland: 60.92%
  • Salisbury: 60.77%
  • Scotland: 60.73%
  • Ellington: 60.72%
  • Madison: 60.67%
  • Lisbon: 60.60%
  • Canaan: 60.54%
  • Waterford: 60.53%
  • Wilton: 60.51%
  • Ledyard: 60.38%
  • Branford: 60.30%
  • Weston: 60.26%
  • Woodstock: 60.20%
  • Harwinton: 60.09%
  • Colchester: 59.98%
  • Newtown: 59.94%
  • Canterbury: 59.76%
  • Wolcott: 59.60%
  • Watertown: 59.41%
  • Cromwell: 59.20%
  • Bozrah: 59.09%
  • Greenwich: 59.05%
  • Stonington: 58.92%
  • Darien: 58.53%
  • Shelton: 58.51%
  • Stafford: 58.50%
  • Woodbridge: 58.11%
  • Easton: 58.10%
  • Windsor Locks: 57.78%
  • Preston:  57.69%
  • Enfield: 57.42%
  • North Branford: 57.40%
  • Woodbury: 57.35%
  • Sherman: 57.32%
  • Seymour: 57.03%
  • Fairfield: 56.96%
  • Ridgefield: 56.75%
  • Plainville: 56.68%
  • West Haven: 56.59%
  • Bethel: 56.57%
  • Hamden: 56.34%
  • Orange: 56.34%
  • West Hartford: 56.31%
  • Windsor: 56.25%
  • Bristol: 56.16%
  • Oxford: 56.12%
  • Trumbull: 55.96%
  • North Stonington: 55.96%
  • Milford: 55.95%
  • Torrington: 55.81%
  • New Canaan: 55.78%
  • Griswold: 55.76%
  • North Canaan: 55.65%
  • Clinton: 55.53%
  • Groton: 55.11%
  • Redding: 55.07%
  • East Haven: 54.32%
  • Beacon Falls: 54.07%
  • Plymouth: 52.46%
  • Winchester: 52.20%
  • Brooklyn: 52.12%
  • New Milford: 51.55%
  • Ansonia: 51.39%
  • Meriden: 51.38%
  • Stamford: 51.26%
  • New Britain: 51.14%
  • Windham: 51.00%
  • East Windsor: 50.67%
  • Norwalk: 50.66%
  • Thompson: 50.46%
  • Stratford: 50.42%
  • Mansfield: 50.22%
  • Naugatuck: 49.32%
  • New Fairfield: 48.41%
  • Sterling: 47.85%
  • East Hartford: 47.80%
  • Killingly: 47.50%
  • Danbury: 46.57%
  • Putnam: 46.55%
  • Plainfield: 44.49%
  • Norwich: 43.03%
  • New Haven: 38.30%
  • Bridgeport: 37.47%
  • Waterbury; 36.64%
  • New London: 36.32%
  • Hartford: 32.18%


 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Simsbury First Selectman Looks to Build Trust]]> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 23:20:18 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Mary+Glassman.jpg

Lisa Heavner knows that she has big shoes to fill when she takes over as Simsbury’s First Selectman next month.

“I’ve known Mary (Glassman) for six years and everyone loves her,” she said during an interview Tuesday.

Heavner was nominated by the Democratic Town Committee to replace Glassman after she announced her resignation last week.

Two weeks ago, the Republican-controlled Board of Selectmen voted to cut the First Selectman’s salary from $113,000 to $75,000 due to changes in the job’s responsibilities.

Glassman announced her resignation the next week which led to an outpouring of support for Glassman and an enraged town who’d grown to appreciate Glassman during her sixteen years of service to the town.

"The harm that you have wrought is beyond my comprehension,” one resident said during a packed
Board of Selectmen meeting at the Simsbury public library last night.

During that meeting the board acknowledged the resignation of Glassman and approved Heavner as the next First Selectman, to begin her term next month.

The board also reversed its decision to cut the pay of the First Selectman which mean Heavner will earn the same $113,000 during her year on the job.

Heavner says her main job is to rebuild the relationship that town government has with residents.

“Priority number one is rebuilding trust with the people of this town” Heavner said. She added that she doesn’t have any concerns that the board may try a similar move while she’s in office to cut her salary.

"My job is to continue doing the town's business. That's what we were elected to do. That's what my colleagues were elected to do and that's what we will do."

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<![CDATA[Politician's Ex-Staffer Pleads Guilty to Accepting $7,500 Christmas Card Bribe]]> Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:37:26 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/generic+bribe+bribery+generic+money+changing+hands.jpg

The former chief of staff for a Chicago alderman pleaded guilty Thursday to accepting a $7,500 cash bribe in exchange for obtaining the alderman's letters of support for a license to sell alcohol in their ward.

Curtis V. Thompson, Jr., former chief of staff for Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), accepted 75 $100 bills in a Christmas card from an individual he believed wanted to open a convenience store. The individual was actually a witness in an FBI undercover investigation.

Thompson, 63, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Thompson was arrested in February after a complaint was filed in a federal investigation that began in 2012. On Oct. 9, 2013, the FBI informant handed Thompson a note offering the $7,500 bribe in return for a letter of support for his liquor license form the alderman, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. After seeing the note, Thompson nodded his head and said, "Okay. I understand."

Two more meetings followed in October and November 2013, during which the informant offered a $12,000 bribe, officials said. After the third meeting, Thompson prepared two letters of support on the alderman's letterhead and signed the alderman's name.

After the informant agreed to pay the bribes, he was handed a letter from the alderman which read, "Please allow this letter to serve as my full support for a 7-Eleven convenience store ... This store will be a welcomed addition to [my] community and those that patronize the area for shopping and convenience needs. As well as wine and spirits (alcohol)."



Photo Credit: Ronen Boidek, Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Malloy Says State Won't Have Deficit]]> Wed, 03 Dec 2014 23:54:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Gov._Malloy_Addresses_Voting_Problems_in_Hartford_1200x675_352372291677.jpg

Governor Dan Malloy once again said Wednesday that Connecticut won't have a problem balancing its checkbook.

“We won’t end with a deficit" Malloy told NBC Connecticut following an event in New Haven. "We’ll end the year with a surplus.”

Connecticut's Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who essentially functions as the state's business manager, cautioned earlier in the week that the state still faced $45 million in spending shortfalls. He said in the grand scheme of the state's $20 billion spending plan, it's not a huge sum but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Lembo described the issue as "absolutely reasonable" and said, "at a quarter of a percent of the total budget which is what we’re talking about here, that the economy can continue to improve and erase that number but it’s really to keep that number on people’s radar that on the next month and two, that if it doesn’t erase itself, it’ll have to be cut out of the budget.”

Lembo said part of the concern comes from federal grants and reimbursements that haven't been paid to the state even though it has applied for the payments.

“The difficult part about federal revenue is that there’s someone on the other side in Washington approving or disapproving our request for payment.”

Medicaid payments from Washington have been slow to come in. That was an issue described by
Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes several weeks ago and Lembo echoed that sentiment.

“The department of social services has done the job that they think they were asked to do by the fed and now it’s just making that case and in the meantime there’s a lag on the funding coming in and that means cash flow for Connecticut.”

Gov. Malloy who campaigned on a promise that the state wouldn't have a deficit to end the fiscal year in June and that it would have surplus, said taxpayers have to keep in perspective the budget issues facing the state. He said Connecticut's fiscal picture will be much clearer over the next few months.

“We’re starting to come into really important months, now through April will really tell the story whether we’ll have a sizable surplus whether we’ll break even or whether we’ll have a small deficit.”

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<![CDATA[Simsbury First Selectman Steps Down Over Pay Cut]]> Mon, 01 Dec 2014 19:08:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/simsbury+first+selectman+glassman.jpg

Simsbury’s longtime first selectman Mary Glassman announced her resignation Monday afternoon, about a week after the town’s Board of Selectmen voted to cut her pay next summer.

“It’s personal and political,” Glassman said, after reading a brief statement Monday. “No question.”

The board cut the salary of the first selectman from $113,000 to $75,000.

Glassman was approaching her 16th year of public service.

Town selectmen said the recommendation to reduce the Glassman's salary had to do with the fact that several of the first selectman's responsibilities have now been designated to new positions.

“When you change somebody’s job, the salary should change,” said Republican selectman Mike Paine, who voted to cut Glassman’s compensation.

The cuts also affect Glassman’s pension plan with the town. Glassman said she chose to resign in order to protect her pension and said she didn’t know how the new plan would affect her.

She presented the agenda item to the Simsbury Board of Selectmen last week. Under her proposal, the salary and benefit adjustments would have taken effect Dec. 7, 2015, rather than July 1, which is what the board approved.

“I was working to transition the town to professional town management and this is the thanks I get,” Glassman said.

Over the past year, Simsbury has hired several new high-wage town management positions including a director of Public Works, a risk management position and an insurance consultant, according to Paine.

Board members initially said they weren’t sure how the additional $38,000 would be spent, but later said it would be used to supplement some of the new salaried positions.

Some of the politics of which Glassman accused the board had to do with Nancy Haase, a town selectman who lost a bid for First Selectman against Glassman. Haase denied the claims and said if her vote on Glassman’s salary costs her a seat on the board, so be it.

“There are many great things that have been done and we’re extremely proud to be a part of those things and we’re really looking forward to whoever serves in this position next to serve alongside them,” Haase said.

The town charter requires the board to choose a Democrat to fill the outgoing first selectman's term. Glassman said she would help with a transition.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Budget Analysts: Connecticut Faces Deficits in Billions]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:10:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/connecticut+state+capitol+building.jpg

According to the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, the budget shortfall Connecticut faces in the short term of $100 million pales in comparison to what awaits the state over the next three fiscal years.

Alan Calandro, who manages the Office of Fiscal Analysis, told members of the Appropriations Committee of the General Assembly that the state faces a deficit of $1.3 billion  in 2016, $1.4 billion in 2017 and $1.7 billion in 2018.

Republicans accuse Democrats of trying to downplay the numbers during the heated 2014 campaign season.

“We’re no further along today than we were four years ago before the tax increase and that’s a problem," said Republican State Rep. Themis Klarides, the House minority leader-elect.

Republicans are now calling for a special session of the General Assembly to address future deficits, especially in light of the $54 million in cuts ordered by the Office of Policy and Management on Thursday.

Democrats insist the problem isn't as bad as Republicans make it out to be, going with the governor's line that the state has a spending issue with a small fraction of a $20 billion budget.

“It’s a deficit. It’s a small deficit," said Democratic State Sen. Beth Bye, of West Hartford, who chairs the Appropriations Committee. "We’d rather not have it but we’re going to mitigate it and end the year with a balanced budget.”

Both Bye and Klarides gave the governor credit for making difficult budget decisions but that's where many of the similarities end.

Bye said a special session is nothing more than rhetoric coming from the minority party.

“I mean if you look back two years or four years at this very same meeting, our situation was much worse, much worse," Bye said. "So I think that’s political."

The last time lawmakers met outside of the regular session to discuss budget issues was back in December 2012.

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<![CDATA[Worries Persist Over Cuts to Social Services]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 22:03:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/StateBudgetShortPic00000000.jpg

With the announcement of more $50 million in state agency budget cuts, advocates for at-risk populations say some of the cuts to the social safety net are ambiguous.

“There’s not a lot of detail but there is a lot of money that would be in our bailiwick in terms of services" said Morna Murray, CEO of the Connecticut Community Providers Association.

Of the more than $54 million in cuts, roughly $11 million affects youth, mental health, and community services.

Murray also pointed out that the timing of the cuts coincided with a new report out that detailed the mental health and education background of Adam Lanza, the murderer in the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.

"We know how critical these services are," Murray said.

More than $9 million was cut from the Department of Children and Families alone, according to the list of rescissions released by the state Thursday.

Democrats and Republicans, who heard from the Office of Fiscal Analysis and the Office of Policy and Management on the state's budget woes, voiced concerns about cuts to programs that provide critical public programs.

“No cuts to human services are pleasant cuts, and I have been genuinely concerned about the mental health system for adolescents and about people with developmental disabilities, so we’re asking questions here and behind the scenes to make sure that we provide the care that people need,” said Democratic State Sen. Beth Bye, of West Hartford, who chairs the Appropriations Committee said.

“Our goal and our priority is to make sure core populations are taken care of with the things they need but at this point in time we just have to sit down and figure out where cuts can be made," said Republican State Rep. Themis Klarides, of Derby, who was recently elected by the GOP caucus as the Minority Leader-elect. "You know maybe those cuts could have been made somewhere else that didn’t affect certain populations.”



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Advocates Await Obama's Immigration Announcement]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:37:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+haven+immigration+rally.JPG

The Latino and Hispanic community in Connecticut is a very active and politically influential group, which is why many in the state will be glued to President Barack Obama's immigration announcement tonight.

“It’s really surreal," said Sandra Trevino, executive director of the Latino advocacy group Junta for Progressive Action. "It’s really a true mix of emotions that our president, in just a few hours, will be making this huge announcement.”

Junta, based in New Haven, provides an array of services for the Latino community. Trevino said there are more benefits than many realize to the president signing executive orders that could potentially lead to millions of undocumented immigrants being allowed to stay in the country.

"it’s going to allow individuals to have work permits. It’s going to encourage people to report more on crime, and most of all, it’s going to stop tearing families apart which it has been doing for years,” Trevino said.

The Obama administration hasn't provided precise details or numbers of immigrants that could be affected but has hinted that the moves won't be insignificant.

“Beef up security at the border, make some prioritization of deportations on the interior focused on felons and not on breaking families, and then some new accountability for folks who are here and have been here undocumented," David Simas, an assistant to the president, told NBC News on Thursday.

Trevino said she's fears some people who have been in the country for years and have contributed for decades could be left out in the cold on any executive action.

"My concern is that there are going to be individuals who have been here for decades that might be left out if the rumors that are going around is that it will only impact individuals that have children,” Trevino said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[State Makes $54.6M in Cuts to Combat Budget Gap]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:39:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/111714statebudgetdeficitj00000000.jpg

State officials have announced $54.6 million in rescissions from state agencies in response to Connecticut's projected $100 million budget gap.

The state is calling for $47.8 million in rescissions for executive branch agencies, $0.9 million for the legislative branch and $6 million for the judicial branch, state officials said.

Some of the largest cuts include $9.2 million affecting the Department of Children and Families, $5.5 million for the Department of Developmental Services, $4.7 million for the state comptroller and nearly $4 million for education, according to the reductions list.

It's the second step the governor's office has taken to balance the budget. Last week, OPM Secretary Benjamin Barnes asked state agencies to minimize spending and reduce hiring in an effort to save money.

“As the Governor has promised, we are managing and administering the budget so that there will be no deficit. These rescissions are painful for some, but tough decisions are necessary to keep the state on firm fiscal footing. State government will live within its means, and we will not raise taxes,” Barnes said in a statement Thursday.

Barnes will meet with the General Assembly's Appropriations and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees on Friday to go over budget projections for the next three years.

Malloy told reporters Wednesday that the projected shortfall must be kept in perspective and reminded residents that the state's budget totals $20 billion.

Republicans, however, $100 million may seem to be a small piece of the pie in terms of the state's overall spending plan, but would hit home for taxpayers.

"If they have bipartisan solutions they wish to propose, I welcome their participation," Barnes said.

Incoming State Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and Appropriations Committee member State Sen. Rob Kane criticized the rescissions Thursday, accusing the OPM of failing "to recognize the true severity of budget shortfalls."

“Today we face a significant deficit. And tomorrow that deficit will become staggering. Our budget crisis is also a borrowing crisis and these issues are compounding fast. The solution to these mounting problems does not lie in one time cuts. We need to identify a comprehensive solution by working across the aisle. The longer we wait to make these changes and alter our approach, the deeper the cuts will have to be,” Fasano said in a statement.

Economist Fred Carstensen, who directs the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, called the state's budget issues minor and warned of more issues down the road as future deficits are projected.

Carstensen said the state must continue investing in transportation and similar infrastructure, an arena where Connecticut can make major gains in economic development.

"Those expenditures would represent the biggest economic impact for the state, both in terms of immediate job creation – which generates also more revenue for the state – and then also addresses the fact that we have very poor infrastructure in Connecticut," he said.

Carstensen said he remains concerned that the governor has yet to make good on his pledge earlier this year to hire 100 new engineers for the Department of Transportation.

"We're still short 215 people in transportation and that's not an insignificant number," he said.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[City Council Race Ends in Tie]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:25:46 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Padilla-McCann-Chula-Vista2.jpg

The razor-thin race for a Chula Vista City Council seat has ended in a tie, two weeks after Election Day, San Diego County officials say.

John McCann and Steve Padilla each won 18,450 votes for the District 1 seat, according to Wednesday's last tally from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. The registrar reports there aren't any other provisional ballots left to be counted that could break that tie.

Ultimately, it will be up to the city of Chula Vista to determine who takes the seat.

Padilla said his campaign is pleased with the results from the provisional ballots.

“We’re just focused on making sure every vote is counted,” Padilla said.

However, McCann told NBC 7 on Wednesday he believes what he called "dirty politics" played a role.

“We had over 900-point lead and every day it seems to continuously vanish. Obviously it raises some questions,” McCann told NBC 7.

The registrar's office will begin making sure all the votes are accurately counted ahead of the Dec. 2 deadline for certifying results.

While Chula Vista is be the second-largest city in San Diego County, the city council race came down to the narrowest of margins as the final 1,000 county-wide provisional ballots were counted Wednesday.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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<![CDATA[Malloy Speaks to Budget Shortfall]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:49:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/StateBudgetCutsPic00000000.jpg

Gov. Dan Malloy told reporters Wednesday that the projected $100 million budget gap needs to examined through a proper lens.

According to reports from the Office of Fiscal Analysis and the Office of Policy and Management, the state faces roughly $100 million in revenue shortfalls.

"The state budget is $20,000 million dollars and you’re asking me about $100 million dollars," Malloy said following a meeting of the Connecticut Bond Commission. "I think in that context, it's important."

Benjamin Barnes, secretary of the OPM, said proposed cuts could be expected by the end of the week.

He didn't say where the cuts may occur but did hint last week that he wanted to protect entitlement programs like Medicaid.

Republicans said the $100 million isn't just a small amount in the grand scheme of a huge state spending plan and that the news of the shortfall should be heard far and wide by taxpayers.

“Listen anything’s a big amount," said Republican State Sen. L. Scott Frantz, of Greenwich. "When you’re talking about increased deficits, you’ve got to talk about making weight in every single account and bring things under control.”

Malloy said he doesn't anticipate tax hikes in order to pay for the projected gap, a promise he made during his re-election campaign.

“We’ll make some minor adjustments in the range of one percent to five percent in some expenditure areas and in other areas we won’t make adjustments,” Malloy said.

The governor does have the authority to make what are known as rescissions, cuts of up to 5 percent across general spending at his discretion.

Republicans said they don't want that to happen and would rather collaborate on where to make spending cuts.

“I think the budgets are large enough that they’re really going to have to start getting serious about really figuring out other ways to enhance revenues, but more importantly, figure out a way to bring the cost of government, the cost of state government in Connecticut under control," said Frantz.

Malloy and Republicans do agree on one point: that some of the budget issues are outside of their control, since Washington hasn't provided some payments for Medicaid that the state depends on.

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<![CDATA[State Investigates Hartford Voting Problems]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 20:16:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/111714htfdvoting00000000.jpg

The State Elections Enforcement Commission voted Tuesday to consider a recommendation from the secretary of the state, who filed a complaint over voting operations following an Election Day snafu in Hartford two weeks ago.

"Staff will move forward with that,” said Michael Brandi, the Executive Director of the SEEC. “It's a confidential process but we will move forward to complete the investigation and report it back to the commission for the commission to then determine whether any violations of election law have occurred."

The complaint – and resulting recommendation – comes after precincts in Hartford were unprepared for the polls to open at 6 a.m. Election Day, causing delays. Voters milled around in frustration while waiting for registration lists to arrive late from the office of the Registrars of Voters in Hartford.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he welcomes the SEEC investigation.

"These were state elections and they have a legitimate interest in ensuring that they get to the bottom of the situation,” Segarra said.

In a statement released to NBC Connecticut last week, the Hartford Democratic Registrar of Voters apologized to voters and took responsibility for the failures on Election Day.

The Working Families Party Registrar, Urania Petit, also apologized. Both have remained in their positions despite some calls to resign.

The investigation into the Hartford registrars will begin immediately. It will take anywhere from three to six months to complete, but could be expedited.

"It's a priority case for us, so we will be committing the necessary resources to move through this process as quickly as we can," said Brandi. "But as with any investigation, it's very difficult to determine a time frame until you actually get into the documents and the details of the case.”

Segarra said he won't jump to conclusions about personnel decisions the investigation results are returned.

"I think at this point, the best that can happen is for folks that are disinterested in this to review the situation, to conduct the investigation, to gather all of the facts," Segarra said, "and then once they have a handle on exactly what happened, we can talk about what actions need to follow."

The Hartford City Council has launched an investigation of its own.

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<![CDATA[Dems Won't Rule Out Tax Hike to Address Budget Woes]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 20:32:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/111714statebudgetdeficitj00000000.jpg

The state's Office of Fiscal Analysis and the Office of Policy and Management released a pair of reports over the weekend showing that the state could face as much as a $100 million budget deficit.

According to the OFA, the figure is $89 million, but the OPM, which is run by the governor’s budget manager, projects the shortfall at $99 million.

Democrats who control the legislature say a cautious approach to assessing the budget projections is best, reminding constituents that the current estimates are a small piece of a much bigger pie.

“That is a very small percentage of the overall budget,” said Democratic State Sen. Martin Looney, of New Haven. “These kinds of things have happened before.”

Gov. Dan Malloy said during the campaign that the state didn’t have a potential deficit on the horizon and added that even if one existed, he wouldn’t raise taxes to increase revenues.

State Sen. Looney, who is expected to be elected as the president pro tempore of the Connecticut State Senate, refused to rule out such a blanket promise.

"We're at the very beginning of the process and I think it's far too soon to say what we will do,” Looney said. "I think that we have not even begun the process at this point."

Republican State Sen. Len Fasano, of New Haven, said he thinks the Malloy administration has known about a possible shortfall for much longer than a few days.

"I think that they knew about it,” said Fasano. “I think they didn't want to speak about it before the election, although the governor was asked a number of times and he refused to say there was a deficit."

Last week, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management denied any allegation that the administration had advance knowledge of a shortfall. He said his agency’s report was always scheduled to come out after the Nov. 4 election.

Fasano said now is the time for Republicans and Democrats to work together to find solutions, considering the tight results from the election that saw the GOP make gains in both the House and Senate.

"We need to make some structural changes and we need to make them now so we avoid the deficit from getting larger in the future," Fasano said. "So we should be sitting down and not letting him do it by his executive authority, which he has a right to do. We should be sitting down as a unit and figuring out what's best to do for the state of Connecticut."
 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[State Faces $59 Million Budget Gap]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:26:12 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/StateBudgetShortPic00000000.jpg

The governor's budget chief told state agencies earlier in the week that they would have to watch their spending and face increased scrutiny over hiring in light of a $59-million shortfall.

“I see these as one-time problems that we will resolve in the coming year," said Benjamin Barnes, who oversees the Office of Policy and Management.

Republicans accused the governor and his administration of playing politics with budget figures. Barnes, on the other hand, said the report on the deficit only came to light Nov. 10, six days after the election.

"We tried to treat this in the most transparent way possible," Barnes said during an interview Friday.

He sent a memo to state department heads and financial officers Thursday, informing them of the report that was returned to him on Monday providing the bleak financial news.

"I'm not buying it," said Sen. Rob Kane, of Watertown. "We have to let the public know how the budget gets crafted."

Kane said he's not sure this kind of report could have swung the election in favor of Republican Tom Foley, but did say the public had a right to know before they cast their ballots.

The missing $59 million was supposed to come from Washington in the form of Medicaid grants.

When asked whether there was a way to work around the cuts without hurting other agencies, Barnes said Medicaid is an entitlement program "and the state only has so much control over where we can make changes" that would have a major financial impact.

State agencies will have to justify all future hires for the time being and explain why the department must hire or fill a position.

Kane said such new requirements shouldn't be necessary.

He said the state had more than enough information ahead of time to avoid scrambling during the beginning stages of the fiscal year.

“We did see this coming. We recognized that there are always deficiencies in state agencies. Right now, there’s $80 million in deficiencies, 40 of which is in DSS and most of that is in Medicaid," Kane said. "So you can see that coming. The writing is on the wall.”

The missing Medicaid dollars comprise a very small portion of Connecticut’s overall spending picture. The $59 million figure makes up one tenth of one percent of the state’s overall spending plan.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Committee Begins Probe into Problems at Polls]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 18:20:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+registrar+of+voters+2.jpg

Hartford’s newly appointed Committee of Inquiry held its first meeting Friday to probe Election Day problems that turned some voters away from city polls and caused major delays at others.

The committee is charged with the difficult task of sorting through what went wrong – namely, why voter registration lists were delivered late to nearly a dozen polling places around the city.

“Clearly, something went very wrong, so we want to get to the bottom of that and move swiftly to address it,” explained Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden.

At the center of the probe is the Office of the Registrar of Voters and the three women who run it. While the registrars are a key component of the investigation, Wooden said that for now, the council’s current focus is on completing the investigation, not what will happen next.

The mayor, on the other hand, is calling on Democratic Registrar of Voters Olga Vasquez to resign.

"The Mayor feels she should resign, as there have been many issues within the Registrar of Voters office in the past that he has tried to correct but he also believes that replacing one individual will not fix the problem and that the entire system requires an overhaul," a spokesperson for Mayor Pedro Segarra's office said Friday.

Segarra's office did not offer specific comments with regards to the other two registrars.

"I continue to apologize to the voters It was a challenge we encountered. As this is under investigation, I have no further comments," Vasquez said in response.

Earlier this week, Working Families Party Registrar Urania Petit, also apologized for the snafu during an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut.

"I feel like the people of Hartford deserve an apology and the people in the office have actually done something wrong," said Petit, who has served as city registrar since 1999. "It was an administrative error."

Wooden acknowledged the apology and commended her honesty Friday.

“To the extent someone is willing to be candid and forthright, and truly apologetic, I appreciate that,” said Wooden.

Wooden will serve as a non-voting member of the committee, which includes City Council Majority Leader Alex Aponte, Minority Leader Joel Cruz, Jr. and members Raul de Jesus, Cynthia Jennings and David McDonald.

Day Pitney, LLP and Shipman & Goodwin, LLP are also providing pro-bono legal counsel to the committee.

The committee is expected to complete its report by the end of December.

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<![CDATA[Hartford Committee to Probe Problems at the Polls]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 00:27:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+registrar+of+voters.jpg

The Hartford City Council voted 8-1 on Wednesday to create a committee that will investigate the problems that caused delays at Hartford polls and sent voters home on Nov. 4.

"This is about getting to the facts and getting to them quickly," said Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden.

Both the city council and the secretary of the state have announced their intentions to investigate what went wrong on Election Day.

The late delivery of voter registration forms caused major delays at a number of polling places around the city and sent some voters home. A judge extended voting hours at two Hartford precincts to compensate.

Now a five-member panel will probe the issue. Members of this Committee of Inquiry will hail from the city council and will take a hard look at Hartford's Registrar of Voters.

"This was a colossal failure, make no mistake about it, and now I'm hopeful... that us in City Hall and those at the Capital are ready to act now," Wooden said.

The council also approved a resolution aimed at restructuring the Registrar of Voters.

Registrar Urania Petit said in an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut that she took responsibility for the issue and would welcome an investigation.

“I welcome the investigation," Petit said. "I think that they ought to have an investigation because I think that some good will come out of it, because this investigation is going to teach us what all was broken and how we fix it.”



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[New Technology to Speed Up Election Returns]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 21:15:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/HartfordVotingMessPic00000000.jpg

Connecticut's secretary of the state said the recent election should be a distant memory when it comes to election returns – that the days of faxes, hand delivering results, and checking them one-by-one should disappear, thanks to new technology.

"It's archaic," Denise Merrill said during an interview in her office Wednesday.

Merrill said Connecticut residents will no longer have to wait a day to find out who won statewide elections.

The state spent about $350,000 on a new reporting system that will take results from the more than 700 precincts and send them digitally to the secretary of the state's office.

Gov. Dan Malloy was not the projected the winner in the race for governor against Republican Tom Foley until midday Wednesday, more than 36 hours after the polls closed in a race that held everyone's attention until the very end.

“I think that this has become an issue because we had two very close gubernatorial elections and that has generated a lot of interest in getting fast results," Merrill said. "But we do also have to look at the way it’s happening and it will not any longer be the way it has been.”

Merrill also advocated for a discussion about the potential elimination of party-affiliated registrars.

She said that with so many municipalities that handle different official jobs in different ways, there won't be an easy solution to the issue.

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<![CDATA[Hartford Registrar Takes the Fall for Problems at Polls]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:38:51 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+registrar.jpg

In an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut on Wednesday, one of the Hartford Registrars of Voters apologized over last week's Election Day snafu, saying she failed in her responsibility to voters.

“I feel like the people of Hartford deserve an apology and the people in the office have actually done something wrong," said Urania Petit, who has held the job since 1999. "It was an administrative error.”

Petit is one of the city's three registrars under the microscope after the late delivery of voter registration lists hampered voting at a number of city polls. A judge ruled to extend voting hours at two of the precincts as a result.

When asked if there was anything she would have done differently, Petit said she would have sent the logs of voters out to the precincts sooner.

"We could have sent the books out when they were available, but instead we waited until all of the books were available," Petit explained.

Petit said she was completely in the dark about the voting issues that occurred at some of the most high-profile precincts in the state.

The polling locations for Gov. Dan Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill all saw delays that turned away some voters.

Tonight the Hartford City Council voted 8-2 in favor of forming a committee to investigate the registrars' office and the problems that arose last Tuesday.

“I welcome the investigation," Petit said. "I think that they ought to have an investigation because I think that some good will come out of it, because this investigation is going to teach us what all was broken and how we fix it.”



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[State Offers Help to Veterans Who Own Businesses]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 19:16:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/VETSBIZPIC111114.jpg

Members of Connecticut's congressional delegation joined Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and officials from the Department of Commerce to announce plans to help veterans who own businesses in Connecticut.

"We need to find these veterans and help them," said Anne Evans with the Department of Commerce.

The state has counted at least 250 veteran owned-and-operated businesses in Connecticut, well short of the number state officials estimate is actually out there.

"We think the number could be well into the thousands," Evans explained.

Part of the plan is to connect veterans with the kinds of loans and small business assistance for which they're eligible.

Officials with the Small Business Administration said they doled out $11 million in loan help to companies owned and run by veterans last year alone. They're looking to increase that figure.

"It’s the least we can do with our office to help veterans, trying to succeed in business with special services just for them so these services will be tailor-made to veteran owned businesses,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill told the crowd.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said just the knowledge of whether a business is owned by someone who served is a big deal for consumers, not just loans.

"We no longer live in a world where if you build it they will come," Blumenthal said. "People have to be informed and brought into participation."

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<![CDATA[Malloy Praises President's Attorney General Pick]]> Sat, 08 Nov 2014 11:55:19 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/loretta+lynch.jpg

President Barack Obama nominated a New York federal prosecutor to replace Eric Holder as United States Attorney General and Connecticut's governor voiced support for his pick.

If the U.S. Senate confirms Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for New York's Eastern District, she will become the first black woman to head the country's Justice Department.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was re-elected last week to a second term in a close race with Tom Foley, said that Connecticut has worked closely with the Justice Department to lower crime in the state and praised the president's selection.

“Loretta Lynch is a very well-respected prosecutor not only in the State of New York, but throughout the country, and I congratulate her on her nomination to become our nation’s top law enforcement official," Malloy said in a statement. "Over the last couple of years in Connecticut, my administration, in cooperation with our state’s law enforcement community, has worked closely with the U.S. Justice Department in our efforts to reduce violent crime – particularly when it comes to gun-related crimes within our urban areas."

He said that Connecticut has seen lower crime rates as a result, but stressed there is more work to be done.

"And our efforts have been working, showing a reduction in violent crime that has been more than double the national average over the last year," Malloy said. "But we cannot stop there. I am confident that U.S. Attorney Lynch has the expertise to lead the Justice Department, and I look forward to working as a partner with her to continue these efforts in our state.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[2015 New London Mayor's Race Already Taking Shape]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 20:17:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/new+london+finizio+passero.jpg

Seven months ago, New London’s first ever elected mayor told the city council that he had decided not to seek a second term.

Members of the city council thought he wasn’t serious. At the time, Councilor Anthony Nolan told the The Day of New London, “At first we thought it was an April Fool’s Joke.”

Seven months later, the joke is apparently on the city council, as Mayor Daryl Finizio announced that he would, in fact, seek a second term in office.

“These plans are going to take three to five more years to complete and I feel that since I started them I should stick around to finish the job,” Finizio said during an interview Thursday.

The plans he’s talking about have to do with six ballot measures that voters approved on Election Day earlier in the week. They included a $168 million bond issue and the plan to the city’s school system the first in the state to feature only magnet schools.

In addition to wanting to shepherd New London through the new ventures, Finizio said he’s responsible for the city getting its fiscal house in order.

“I balanced the budget two years in a row and the budget that was adopted on Tuesday will be balanced this year as well,” Finizio said. "That’s three years of balanced budgets after decades of deficit spending that brought our city to the fiscal brink.”

Just hours after Finizio made his intentions clear, he already had competition from within his own part.

Democrat Michael Passero, who has sat on the New London City Council since 2008, announced his intention to seek the city’s highest office for the second time.

Four years ago, Passero announced his plans to run for mayor but later withdrew his name from consideration.

“They’re ready for a change in leadership,” Passero said during his campaign kickoff event at Muddy Waters Cafe in downtown New London. “They’re ready for some new energy. I’ve been here my whole life. I think I have the vision, the experience and the leadership to get this done.”

Passero said he wants to bring back into the fold people who helped to improve the city over the years.

“I have a capacity to build coalitions. I have a capacity to build consensus. There’s too much talent in this city that’s been marginalized, that’s been pushed to the sidelines. It’s waiting on the sidelines; it’s waiting to get into the game. I’m prepared to get the momentum going that we had before we changed governments,” Passero said.

Finizio was quick to dismiss the notion of Passero's candidacy, saying that he’s part of the old guard of New London politicians who merely worked to stay in their positions of power rather than improve the city.

“The leadership that I think is being offered by the opposition is leadership that was in place in this city when we ran record deficits, when my opponent voted for budgets that were terribly unbalanced,” Finizio said.

Passero said he wouldn’t categorize Finizio as an enemy. After all, he was happy with his election three years ago. He said he thinks it’s time for a fresh face to run city hall.

“Quite frankly, I never felt as strong an adversarial relationship as he did because I think in many ways, he was creating it," Passero said, "and I’ve been a hundred percent behind the major initiatives that this community is supporting because it’s the community that’s supporting these efforts.”

The race for mayor of New London started in November 2014, one year before any ballots will be cast.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Republicans Make Gains in Connecticut House]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 19:56:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/6PGOPPIC00000000.jpg

Lost among the commotion of another very competitive race for governor in Connecticut was the fact that Republicans attained their highest number of seats in 20 years in the Connecticut House.

"I think it's a sea change," said State Rep. Larry Cafero, of Norwalk, the Republicans' outgoing minority leader.

Some of the gains came in southern Connecticut, where Republicans outside New Haven gave gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley consistent support.

The balance of power in the Connecticut House shifted from 97 Democrats and 57 Republicans to 87 Democrats and 67 Republicans on Election Day.

Even with the shift, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey told reporters that he doesn't think the dynamic will change much inside the House chamber, where he said working with the other party is the norm.

"More than 95 percent of the bills we do are done on a bipartisan basis so I think it's important always to listen to what the public are telling us," Sharkey said.

Cafero said the gains shouldn't be viewed as the Connecticut microcosm of the GOP wave that swept across the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, but said he thinks it will affect how policy is crafted before it reaches the House floor.

“Now they have to count every vote because it’s that close, so people are going to think a lot harder about their votes," Cafero said. "I think bills are going to be scrutinized a lot more. I think it’s a huge, huge, political difference for the state of Connecticut.”



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Weary Rivals in SoCal Race Hopeful]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:15:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DeMaio-Peters-June-Primary.jpg

The long, divisive road to the 52nd Congressional District seat stretches on for its two weary candidates, incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters and former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio, as officials prepare Thursday to start counting around 46,000 still-uncounted ballots.

Exhausted by a late election night that left DeMaio leading by just 752 votes, both candidates are trying to put a positive spin on the numbers.

“This is a historically bad night for Democrats, turnout historically low, and the fact that we're even close is a miracle. I think we're going to win this thing," Peters said at a news conference Wednesday evening.

The initial surge of results had DeMaio in the lead, but as the late ballots came in Tuesday night, the trend was in favor of Peters.

But DeMaio was just as confident that his campaign will come out on top.

“I believe when all votes are counted, we will prevail, and I will have the honor of being San Diego’s voice in the U.S. Congress,” he said at a Wednesday morning news conference.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters says there were 36,000 mail-in ballots and 10,000 provisional ballots from the 52nd District to be counted, and all were sorted Wednesday.

On Thursday, the counting starts on those 46,000 ballots. Both candidates are sending representatives to make sure each vote is counted correctly.

The registrar is expected to release more numbers Thursday evening, and a final winner should be announced Monday.

But even after the ballots were cast, the biting comments remained.

When asked if he is prepared for a recount in the event of a very close final tally, DeMaio replied, “After what Mr. Peters has done in this campaign, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything.”

Peters’ response later in the day: “I think the campaign's over now. We can get past the hard feelings, stop whining. You know, let's just count the votes."

With nothing to do but wait, both candidates had time to reflect on their contentious campaigns and their plans for the future.

DeMaio will be hopping a plane to Washington, D.C., next week to attend the Congressional freshman orientation.

“What I emphasized last night was that my candidacy hopefully is the beginning of the Republican Party becoming more inclusive, of us getting past labels and putting people in boxes,” the gay candidate said.

While DeMaio zeroed in on reforming his own party, Peters said his focus will be reaching across the aisle in the now Republican-led Congress.

"Well the middle is my territory. I don't think there's enough of us who want to be in the middle,” he said. “I think one of the problems with Congress is it's so polarized and what I offer is a promise that I will always work with anybody."

Voters will continue to watch the results of the race closely, but the end of election season brings one thing both sides can be thankful for: no more political ads.

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<![CDATA[Tim Herbst Concedes Treasurer's Race to Denise Nappier]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 17:24:08 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nappier_herbst.jpg

State Treasurer Denise Nappier announced her re-election in an email to supporters Wednesday afternoon and Republican challenger Tim Herbst said during a news conference that he had conceded.

"Yesterday's election was a hard-fought battle on so many fronts, and the real victory belongs to the Connecticut voters who exercised their right and privilege to vote," Nappier said in a statement Wednesday. "I am deeply grateful to the people of our state for their support, and for the incredible energy of so many volunteers who worked hard to get out the vote."

Recent numbers show the candidates neck and neck, with the Democratic incumbent leading by a mere 2,000 votes.

"I called Treasurer Nappier to offer my congratulations on a hard-fought campaign and to offer my concession, and I wish her every success in the next four years as our state treasurer," Herbst said Wednesday.

"I am proud of the campaign we waged," he added. "I am proud of the issues we raised and more imporantly, I am humbled by the tens of thousands of people that I go t to meet."

Herbst put his arms around his campaign volunteers and thanked them for their hard work and support, calling them "the best campaign team in the state of Connecticut."

"Even though the ball did not bounce our way last night in to this morning, here's the good news: I still lead the best town in America," Herbst said, of Trumbull, where he serves as First Selectman. "Even though this campaign is over, I'm looking forward to what the future may hold."

Nappier, whose mother died over the weekend, did not make a public appearance. She will begin serving her fifth term as state treasurer in January.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[Secretary of the State Denise Merrill Wins Re-Election]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:35:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/denise+merrill.jpg

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill will serve another term.

"I can say with confidence that I have won re-election," the Democratic incumbent said in an email to supporters Wednesday afternoon. "I am honored that the people of Connecticut have chosen me to serve for another four years and I will continue working everyday on behalf of the voters and businesses in our great state."

Republican challenger Peter Lumaj called Merrill to concede around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, according to a press release from his campaign.

"We have worked incredibly hard on this campaign over the past 20 months, but unfortunately the  numbers for a win just don't add up," Lumaj said in a statement Wednesday, extending his congratulations to Merrill "on her hard fought victory."

The latest numbers show Merill pulling about 50 percent of the vote to Lumaj's 47 percent. Third-party candidate Michael DeRosa is drawing 2 percent.

Lumaj said he hopes the two can work side-by-side "to return integrity to the process."

"We need to examine Connecticut's election results, protocols and safeguards to ensure that hte mess that happened with our election yesterday never happens again," he said, referring to snafus in Hartford that delayed some voters and sent others home.

Merrill has already said her office will file a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission asking for an investigation into the Hartford debacle.

Full election results are available here.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[Hartford to Investigate Voting Problems, "Restructure" Registrar]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 18:15:06 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+registrar+of+voters+2.jpg

After confusion and delays hampered voting in Hartford, the mayor and city council president are proposing policy changes to prevent a similar snafu from happening again.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and City Council President Shawn Wooden submitted two resolutions to the City Council on Wednesday.

The first calls for a “committee of inquiry” to investigate yesterday’s polling problems, which affected at least 10 city precincts and prompted extended voting hours at two of them.

The second resolution calls on the city’s Operations, Management, Budget and Legislative Committee to “restructure the office of the Hartford Registrar of Voters,” which now comprises a Democrat, Republican and member of the Working Families Party.

“Given the scale of the problems on Election Day yesterday, there is no excuse not to move ahead with what we tried to do in the past which is to restructure the Registrar of Voters,” Segarra said in a statement Wednesday. “It is unacceptable that in 2014, residents cannot cast their ballots in time and that on the day after an election numbers are still not being reported. Council and I will work in concert to make sure we get to the bottom of what happened and prevent this from ever happening again.”

The Hartford City Council will take a look at the resolutions during Monday's meeting. A public meeting will also take place in the coming weeks. Segarra's office said lawmakers will review the proposed changes and discuss state law will need to be altered.

Hartford lawmakers aren't the only ones taking a hard look at yesterday's blunder. Newly re-elected Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced her intent to file a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission on Tuesday night.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Esty Re-elected in Fifth District]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 07:19:57 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/elizabeth+esty_722_406.jpg

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty has been elected to a second term in Congress.

She fought a tough battle against Republican Mark Greenberg in the 5th District and Greenberg called Esty around 10 p.m. to concede.

"I wish him well. I congratulate him, it was a hard-fought race. He's been running a long time, he's deeply committed to this country."

In an email to supporters, Greenberg said he will stay involved, but not as a candidate in the future.

"While my days running for office are over, I will always and forever be an American interested in our country's future, our state's future, and our children's future," he said in the email.



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>