<![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 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:09:10 -0400 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:09:10 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[State Police Endorse Malloy for Governor]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:57:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/dan+malloy+4.jpg

The Connecticut State Police Union and National Troopers Coalition are throwing their support to Gov. Dan Malloy as election day draws near.

"As Troopers we are trained to not only listen to the words people say, but we spend considerable time and effort studying their actions and statement," said State Police Union President Andy Matthews, in a statement dated Oct. 22.

"When we reviewed and considered the words and history of candidate Tom Foley for Governor, we became concerned about the risks to our memberships [sic] future," Matthews continued. "We felt compelled to speak out not just on behalf of our members, but also on behalf of the people and communities we serve."

Matthews said that, although the union doesn't always agree with Malloy's decisions, "true leaders make difficult decisions, even when some may not agree."

He said Malloy has worked to strengthen his relationship with the state police department and improve public safety in Connecticut.

"State Troopers are confident and proud of our current leadership," Matthews said.

The National Troopers Coalition also endorsed Malloy on Wednesday, explaining in a press release that Malloy "has taken consistent steps to consult State Police leadership and he has worked with rank and file troopers to imrpove public safety and officer safety."

Malloy will face GOP challenger Tom Foley and unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti on Election Day.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Malloy, Visconti Debate at NBC Connecticut Forum]]> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:40:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/malloy+visconti+at+forum.JPG

One of three chairs sat empty in the NBC Connecticut studio leading up to Thursday’s gubernatorial forum, which GOP challenger Tom Foley opted not to attend.

Unaffiliated candidate Joe Visconti went head-to-head with Gov. Dan Malloy, the Democratic incumbent he hopes to unseat, in a discussion spanning issues from gun control to the Common Core that was heated at times but civil throughout.

All three qualifying candidates for governor were invited to participate in Thursday night's forum, which aired at 7 p.m. on NBC Connecticut. Anchor and moderator Gerry Brooks was joined by panelists Susan Haigh of the Associated Press and NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss.

Foley said earlier in the week that he would not attend the forum, claiming that his campaign could not “come to terms” with NBC Connecticut "in a timely manner."

The Republican candidate stood his ground. As Malloy and Visconti took the stage Thursday evening, a third chair set up for Foley remained empty and was removed as the forum got underway.

"That brings us to the elephant who is not in the room," Brooks said at the beginning of the forum. "Republican Tom Foley has elected not to take part in tonight's discussion of the issues. We have been in constant touch with Mr. Foley's camp in the weeks leading up to the event; they have never articulated a particular objection to tonight's format."

Gun Legislation

Malloy and Visconti clashed over a number of issues, and gun control took center stage. The governor stood by his gun law, explaining that universal background checks has prevented weapons from falling into the wrong hands, "including one woman who wanted to buy a gun and then go to a school and shoot more children."

But Visconti called the gun law an infringement upon constitutional rights.

"There are background checks, but there are not background checks for criminals. And this is the fallacy of the Malloy administration and the liberal agenda, that somehow we're going to pass all these laws and criminals are going to follow these laws," Visconti said. "They're not going to follow these laws."

He asserted that the only way to prevent another tragedy like the one at Sandy Hook is to place a police officer at the door to every school in the state.

Visconti pledged to repeal the limitations on high-capacity magazines and called Sandy Hook a "political tragedy gain."

"If they wanted to do something, they could have looked at the 30-round magazine that Adam Lanza used and just targeted that," he argued. "But they didn't. They went to handguns. They went everywhere. Because there was a liberal agenda."

But Malloy fired back, reminding Visconti that two Democrats and two Republicans worked together to develop the legislation and that he wasn't included in discussions about the bill.

"I made a solemn oath that I would do everything I could to make our children as safe as possible," Malloy said. "I'm sorry that people have been inconvenienced to register the [magazines] they already have, but I'm proud that we've stopped the sale of those things in the future. Those of you who are law-abiding citizens have the same rights you already have, but children are safer."

Mental Health

The conversation shifted to the topic of mental health and each candidate presented plans to improve mental health services in the state.

"I think this is one of the areas ... where money has to go," Visconti said. "We have to look at this and say, 'Why aren't we doing more?'"

He alluded to family members who have struggled with mental health and emphasized the importance of mental health screening to address problems in their early stages.

"Every year that I've been governor, we have passed additional legislation to increase mental health services in Connecticut," Malloy said, adding that he has also worked to fight bullying and train professionals to identify mental health issues among students.

It was one of the few topics Malloy and Visconti agreed upon.

"I'm not here to debate all the failures or even the successes of Gov. Malloy," Visconti said. "But this one here, I will give him a thumbs up."


The issue of education was a polarizing one. While Malloy outlined his accomplishments – including improving the high school graduation rate, cutting back on standardized tests and increasing the number of students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams – Visconti attacked Common Core standards.

"Common Core itself is something that's being rejected by students, by parents, by teachers, by everyone," he said, explaining that the best way to improve education is to strengthen student-teacher relationships.

"Common Core is dead on arrival if I'm your governor," he said.

Malloy, on the other hand, reminded Visconti that two teachers' unions have endorsed him for governor and that "towns and communities like Wallingford have done an exceptional job" implementing Common Core.

"We have to make sure that our children are properly educated and they can compete with any nation in the world," Malloy said.

Negative Campaign Ads

Despite Foley's absence, his name circulated with frequency throughout the forum.

The ongoing battle between the two frontrunners has been intensely negative, with both Malloy and Foley airing attack ads and trading personal jabs.

This topic of conversation was one of the first to come up between Malloy and Visconti on Thursday night.

"Everyone says it's very negative, and I suppose it is – every campaign has its own flavor, I suppose – but this is an examination of people's records," Malloy said, explaining that voters need to know the candidates' backgrounds and what they bring to the table.

Visconti, whose limited campaign budget has kept him out of the ad game, decried both Malloy and Foley for their bitter attack ads.

"Are you kidding me? Come on," he said. "The negative ads from the Malloy administration and also the Foley campaign are ridiculous."

Tax Reform and the Economy

Visconti pointed out that taxpayer money is funding the negative campaign ads and explained his mission to make major reforms to state tax code.

"We need to be real with the people because some people can't afford to live here anymore," he said. "No, I don't want tax increases, but I don't know – when we're working on a budget – how we can get there without cutting services."

Visconti said it's important to let the public know that tax increases "are a possibility" and said that if tax hikes become a reality, he will turn first to large corporations.

"We cannot go back, if we need to, to the income tax," Visconti explained. "The middle class is burdened. They're leaving the state."

Malloy acknowledged the challenge but said Connecticut was deeply burdened by the Great Recession.

"I never took a pledge not to raise taxes the last time, because I knew what was wrong with Connecticut and that it was going to take shared sacrifice to solve," Malloy said. "From the 2011 budget on, we've done nothing but cut taxes."

The governor highlighted economic growth as a means of generating revenue and explained that he has added hundreds of millions of dollars to a rainy day fund that was empty when he took office four years ago.

Malloy said said he has minimized spending increases and worked to protect public services, such as affordable housing, and veterans services, alongside legislators from both parties.

He said his administration has created 11,500 jobs in Connecticut, a number that's expected to hit 25,000 by the end of the year. Malloy also pointed out that crime is down 20 percent in Bridgeport and homicides have decreased by 32 percent.

"That's a wise investment. That's making sure that people have communities that we can build jobs around," Malloy said, touting recent investments by corporations such as Electric Boat and United Technologies.

Public Service Cuts

But Visconti said it's not enough. In an effort to avoid overburdening taxpayers and stimulate the economy, he said nonessential services will need to be cut.

"Everywhere we can that takes away from education, from the disabled from veterans... We have to decide what we are going to do in Connecticut," he explained, referring to tourism and the arts. "How are we going to get out of this?"

Visconti said he would "identify every grant, every program that is nonessential those needs, put them into a lottery system and... decide by lottery what has to go."

Malloy countered his argument by pointing out that Visconti's numbers accounted for a more-than-7 percent yearly spending increase, while he has adhered to an annual increase of 2.8 percent.

"I'm proud that we're seeing rapid increases in the state of Connecticut. In fact, the job numbers in tourism are out of this world... Because we're participating in advertising again and that pays for itself," Malloy said, although Visconti alleged that most of the jobs that have been created are lower paying.

Closing Statements

"I wish Tom was here," Malloy said at the end of the forum. "I think this has been a very useful discussion between Joe and I. I respect Joe; we have differences, but at least he tells you what he's going to do. Tom Foley has been dancing around these issues for months."

Voters who are anti-Malloy should be pro-Visconti, the incumbent governor said.

But he reminded residents that the state has seen its lowest unemployment rate – and fastest job growth – in years, and that crime is down and test scores are up.

"We're making real progress. Is this the time that we turn our state back over to the same people who drove it into the ditch?" He said. "We can't go back in the direction that we once were traveling. Otherwise our children will suffer; our cities and towns will suffer, and the progress that we have made will dissipate and disappear."

Visconti thanked his supporters and called himself the "people's candidate."

"It's been a great learning experience to just see how many Connecticut residents want something different," he said. "I will work for your. I can win this thing. Connecticut is a beautiful state. We have to stay and fight for it."

Tom Foley's Absence

NBC Connecticut executives released the following statement earlier in the week regarding participation in Thursday's forum:

“All candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate in the NBC Connecticut Gubernatorial Forum on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., including Mr. Foley. Mr. Foley meets all the criteria to participate. We’ve had ongoing discussions with all the candidates on a consistent basis and welcome their participation.”

Malloy said he was "surprised and disappointed" by Foley's absence.

"It's a strange thing but I also think it's disrespectful. The people of Connecticut deserve to hear from the candidates. He accepted this invitation, he then, for whatever reason... he's not here," Malloy said. "I think it's a missed opportunity to have a real discussion in a different kind of context."

He pointed out that Visconti's attendance may have contributed to Foley's decision to opt out.

Visconti is currently drawing 9 percent of the support of likely voters, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday that shows Malloy barely nosing ahead of Foley.

"Tom's got a lot of things he doesn't want to talk about," Malloy said. "I just wish he was here so I wouldn't have to remind you of all the positions he's taken."

Visconti said he "foresaw this," admitting he wasn't surprised by Foley's choice.

"The public deserves a debate on the issues, on the specifics, and what I have seen, and the majority of Connecticut residents have seen, in this campaign are just negative ads, negative ads, negative ads," Visconti said, alluding to the bitter battle that Malloy and Foley have waged against each other. "Tonight I hope we can address [the] issues and keep it civil... and have conduct that's becoming of a governor."

Visconti's Pledge

About 15 minutes into the forum, Brooks asked Visconti the question on everyone's mind.

"Under any circumstances, in the days leading up to the election, would you drop out of this race and throw your support to Tom Foley?" he asked.

Visconti shook his head.

"I don't believe at the present time that Tom, I could help carry him over the finish line, Gerry," he responded. "So if I considered it, I don't think that would happen."

He then commented on Malloy's frequent references to Foley's absence. Visconti said he hoped to avoid discussing Foley for the rest of the night and focus instead on the issues.

As he segued into the topic of public transportation and the idea of turning state highways into toll roads, Brooks steered him back.

"Are you in it until election day?" Brooks asked.

"I am," was Visconti's reply.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[South Windsor Police Issue Warning After Several Break-Ins]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:54:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Burglary-Series-generic.jpg

South Windsor police are urging residents to secure their homes after several residential burglaries several August.

Police said many of the burglaries have happened while the homeowners were on vacation while other break-ins have happened overnight as residents slept, police said. 

Residents should lock their houses and condominiums, lock doors and using outside lighting and alarm systems, police advise. 

Police also urge resident to watch over your neighbors’ homes if they are out of town for an extended period of time. 

If you see any suspicious behavior, people or cars, call 911.

If you have information about the break-ins, call the anonymous tipline at 860-648-NABM(6226) or dispatch at 860-644-2551.

Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego]]>
<![CDATA[Rivals Debate in NH Senate Race]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:06:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2014-10-21-21h11m54s10.jpg

Scott Brown continued to hammer away at Democrat Jeanne Shaheen's record in Washington as the incumbent repeatedly accused her Republican opponent of fear mongering during a debate in New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race Tuesday.

Brown accused Shaheen of "outsourcing independence" by voting for policies backed by President Barack Obama. Shaheen, meanwhile, sought to distance herself from the president, who has low approval ratings in New Hampshire.

"In some ways I approve, in some ways I don't approve," of the president's decisions, Shaheen said when asked to answer "yes or no" if she approves of Obama's job in office.

The latest efforts to contain and prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the United States also became a hot topic, as Brown pushed for a travel ban from West Africa. Shaheen reiterated a comment from a day earlier that she would consider one if it would make a difference. That position was a reversal from last week, when she said she didn't think the idea "makes sense." 

The Democratic incumbent accused her rival of fear mongering on the Ebola virus, border security and the threat of terrorism posed by ISIS.

The two rivals remain locked in a close race as they headed into Tuesday's televised debate, which was hosted by New England Cable News, the Concord Monitor and the University of New Hampshire. A recent WMUR Granite State poll showed Shaheen leading her GOP challenger 44 percent to 38 percent among likely voters at the start of the month. Seventeen percent remained undecided.

The competitive race has attracted campaign cash and headlines from across the country, as one of several competitive seats Republicans are targeting in their bid to win control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

Chuck Todd, NBC's "Meet the Press" host, moderated the debate from the Capitol Center for the arts in Concord.

Shaheen said she was proud of her vote for the Obama's landmark heath care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act, while Brown insisted Granite Staters wanted to repeal Obamacare.

Sparks also flew on the topics of immigration and border security.

"The border is secure when people don't come across it," Brown said to the applause of supporters after Todd asked him to define a secure border.

Shaheen attacked Brown's record on abortion rights, which he says he supports; Brown, while senator for Massachusetts, supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer with moral objections to opt out of requiring to cover birth control in 2012.

When Brown said Shaheen was anti-nuclear as the subject of rising energy costs came up, she countered, "No, I'm not!"

Brown suggested repeatedly that Shaheen backs a new national energy tax, an assertion PolitiFact has deemed "mostly false."

In a final lightning round, Shaheen said her priority after being re-elected would be to refinance student loans; Brown said he would push the U.S. Senate to come up with a budget. Both declined to say they'd back their respective party heads in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for another term in leadership. 

Barbs were also thrown after Brown defended his decision to run in New Hampshire this year instead of seeking to win back the Massachusetts seat he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012 by saying he didn't run "because I live here." 

"I don't think New Hampshire is a consolation prize," Shaheen said.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Foley Says He Won't Change His Mind About Thursday Forum]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:57:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tom+foley+still.jpg

Tom Foley provided reporters with myriad reasons he won't appear Thursday at a gubernatorial candidate forum hosted by NBC Connecticut.

Foley insisted his campaign could never “come to terms” with NBC Connecticut.

When asked what would be his version of a “perfect debate format,” Foley responded by saying, “I don’t know. I don’t determine that.”

NBC Connecticut executives released the following statement earlier in the week regarding participation in the forum:

“All candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate in the NBC Connecticut Gubernatorial Forum on Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., including Mr. Foley. Mr. Foley meets all the criteria to participate. We’ve had ongoing discussions with all the candidates on a consistent basis and welcome their participation.”

Gov. Dan Malloy said he’s not fazed by the prospect appearing on stage alongside only petitioning candidate Joe Visconti.

"I'm hoping we'll have a good discussion about how bad Tom Foley would be for the state of Connecticut,” Malloy said following a forum hosted by the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities on Tuesday.

Political observers say Foley’s absence may not factor much into the results of the election.

“We’re two weeks out,” said Jerold Duquette, a political science professor at Central Connecticut State University. “The undecided voter is a very small group of people. The polls may tell us that 8 percent are undecided. That's probably inflated. The vast majority of folks who will actually show up have already decided."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Foley Won't Be at Gubernatorial Forum]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:19:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Decision+2014+generic.jpg

NBC Connecticut will host a gubernatorial forum on Thursday and has invited three candidates to attend.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, Republican challenger, Tom Foley, and unaffiliated candidate, Joe Visconti were invited to participate in Thursday's forum, which will air live on NBC Connecticut at 7 p.m.

Through a spokesperson, Foley said he will not attend the forum.

"We were unable to come to terms with NBC 30 (Connecticut) in a timely manner, so we will not be participating in their forum, said Mark McNulty, communications director for Foley's campaign, in a statement on Monday.

NBC Connecticut released a statement about Foley's decision on Monday:

"All candidates on the ballot have been invited to participate in the NBC Connecticut Gubernatorial Forum on Thursday, October 23 at 7 p.m., including Mr. Foley. Mr. Foley meets all the criteria to participate. We’ve had ongoing discussions with all the candidates on a consistent basis and welcome their participation."

The debate can also be viewed live on NBCConnecticut.com or on the NBC Connecticut News App beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Rival Gets Hands on Campaign Book]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:40:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

A new bombshell dropped Friday in the race for California’s 52nd Congressional District when both candidates confirmed a Carl DeMaio campaign strategy book, allegedly stolen during an office break-in, found its way into the hands of incumbent Scott Peters’ staff.

It is the latest revelation in an already ugly race peppered with attack ads and sexual harassment allegations.

The two had a chilly meeting Friday morning at a taping of NBC 7’s Politically Speaking, as DeMaio walked right by Peters’ hand outstretched for a handshake.

During the session, DeMaio discussed the burglary and vandalism at his campaign headquarters on May 28. Cords and cables were cut, water was poured over laptops and printers, computer screens were smashed in and one important item was taken: DeMaio’s campaign playbook.

The candidate confronted Peters about the book on “Politically Speaking.”

“And Mr. Peters, I just want to ask a very simple question. Did your campaign come into possession of our strategy book, all of our direct mail pieces in the last five months?” asked DeMaio.

Peters responded with: “In early June, information was forwarded to our campaign which we immediately turned over to the police.”

DeMaio pressed the issue, asking Peters why he did not let his opponent’s campaign know that he had seen DeMaio’s playbook all along.

“I’ve obviously never seen it,” said Peters. “We turned it directly over to the police within 24 hours of getting it because what was contained in it was potentially part of a criminal investigation.”

He added his campaign manager “looked at it enough to know what it was.”

On Friday evening, Peters' Communication Director Alex Roth sent out the following statement about the revelation:

"To clarify, we do not know what a campaign playbook is; nor has our campaign ever received anything that could be characterized as 'a campaign playbook' as Mr. DeMaio called it. To reiterate, our campaign staff received information in early June that we immediately transmitted in its entirety to the police.This is nothing more than an attempt by Mr. DeMaio to divert attention away from the Filner-esque sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him.”

During the show's taping, Peters said he felt as if he had been cast as the perpetrator of the break-in, which was portrayed with Watergate-like overtones when it first happened.

DeMaio told his opponent he does not believe Peters had anything to do with the burglary.

Instead, he blames former aide Todd Bosnich.

Bosnich has publicly accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him while he worked for the former San Diego City Councilman, releasing the results of a polygraph test that he says support his claims.

Called the allegations “outrageous lies,” DeMaio said Bosnich is trying to get revenge for being fired as a suspect in the break-in.

However, the candidate said he will not take a polygraph exam to rebut Bosnich’s allegations.

CNN reports Bosnich's lawyers sent the news outlet the results to a second polygraph test Friday in which Bosnich was asked if he broke into the campaign headquarters last May. The test shows Bosnich's "no" answers were "truthful and found "no deception."

Bosnich confirmed the story to NBC 7 via text message.

DeMaio's spokesman David McCulloch defended the candidate, saying in a statement, "Both Carl DeMaio and Tommy Knepper — named in a series of vile smear attacks — have taken lie detector tests that have shown these smears are baseless. Meanwhile, Mr. Peters admitted on NBC7/39 this morning that his campaign received stolen property from our campaign — begging the question: who provided this sensitive campaign material?"  

McCulloch later clarified that statement that the lie detector test taken by DeMaio was one in August 2013 after a former colleague accused DeMaio of lewd acts in San Diego's City Hall.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2014: The NBC Connecticut Debate Preview]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 10:09:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/visconti+foley+malloy+decision.jpg

One this week's episode of NBC Connecticut's "Decision 2014," we preview the upcoming NBC Connecticut Gubernatorial Forum.

Moderator of the debate Gerry Brooks discusses what to expect with Max Reiss and Associated Press reporter Susan Haigh. Reiss and Haigh will serve as panelists.

  • Watch: Gerry Brooks, Max Reiss and AP Reporter Susan Haigh analyze the gubernatorial campaigns and what to expect at Thursday's NBC Connecticut debate.

Gov. Dan Malloy, GOP candidate Tom Foley and unaffiliated petitioning candidate Joe Visconti are invited to take part in the one hour debate schedule to air live on NBC Connecticut at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Also on this week's show, write-in candidate for governor Jonathan Pelto breaks down the New London debate.

  • Watch: Write in candidate for governor and former State Rep. Jonathan Pelto sits down with George Colli to talk about the race for governor.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal talks with Todd Piro about what measures are being taken to prepare Connecticut residents for a potential Ebola outbreak.

  • Watch: Sen. Richard Blumenthal talks with Todd Piro about how the state is preparing for a potential Ebola outbreak.

"Decision 2014" airs Sundays at 10 a.m. on NBC Connecticut.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Connecticut Governor's Race Garners National Attention]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:15:50 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dan+malloy+tom+foley.jpg

The race for governor Connecticut has become one of the most closely watched in the country.

With incumbent Gov. Dan Malloy in a tight political contest, the Republican Governors Association circled the race as a target in 2014.

The cameos to Connecticut alone show how important Connecticut is to political power brokers.

Friday night, Louisiana governor and long-rumored presidential candidate Bobby Jindal will hold a fundraiser for Republican Tom Foley at a private home in West Hartford.

Earlier in the week, Malloy was supposed to welcome President Barack Obama for a campaign visit that was later shelved after the president opted to stay in Washington to work on the government's response to Ebola.

"Coming down the stretch of the race, it's in the interests of both candidates to bring in whatever heavyweights they've got because we've left the persuasion stage of the campaign and entered the rally base, bring out the voters," said Jerold Duquette, a political science professor at Central Connecticut State University.

He said it's telling that Foley would hold a private event with such a major GOP name like Bobby Jindal that places him in a particular political light.

"Even he is going to abandon worries about being pegged as a Republican at this point because three weeks out, people have decided [who they're going to vote for]," Duquette said.

Despite Obama's low approval ratings, in a state like Connecticut, Malloy has more to gain than lose by welcoming a presidential visit, according to Duquette.

"Even if the president isn't particularly popular, it has always been to the governor's advantage to remind folks that this is a race between a Democrat and a Republican, and so whenever he can call attention to the national political dialogue between Democrats and Republicans, it's useful to him," Duquette said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also cancelled an event with Foley earlier in the week. It's possible, and likely, that both Christie and Obama will return to Connecticut to campaign.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Campaign Ad Featuring James Foley Pulled]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:58:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_james_foley_ejecucion_isis_syria.jpg

A conservative ad campaign that featured James Foley, the New Hampshire journalist slain by ISIS, moments before his execution, will be pulled, the group responsible for the ad said.

Secure America Now President Allen Roth said in a statement that his group didn't intend to upset Foley's family with the ad attacking Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and that they "apologize for any pain we inadvertently caused.“

“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down," the statement continued. “The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”

Foley, a Rochester native, was beheaded by Islamic State militants in August, nearly two years after he was kidnapped in Syria. His parents say the ad was "deplorable" and told NECN in an emotional interview that they were demanding that the ad be pulled from New Hampshire.

Secure America Now used the image in a 15-second Internet ad attacking Shaheen, who is locked in a tight race against Republican Scott Brown, and other Democratic incumbents in critical Senate races nationwide.

"It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son's death for their own political purposes," Mrs. Foley said.

Shaheen issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon condemning the ad.

"This is a disgraceful ad that dishonors the memory of a respected journalist and New Hampshire native," she said. "It hurts all who loved and knew Jim, and the people behind this ad owe the Foley family and apology."

According to Elizabeth Guyton, communications director for Scott Brown, Brown said, "This is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Foley family.”

Roth says the group did not contact the Foley family before making the ad public.

Secure America Now emphasized that the Foley execution video and the image have been used in other campaigns across the country several different times.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Gabby Giffords Campaigns for "Sensible" Gun Policy in West Hartford]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:54:51 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Giffordspic00000000.jpg

Former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was seriously injured in a 2011 shooting rampage, visited Connecticut on Thursday to help protect women from gun violence.

After a lengthy recovery from serious injuries, Giffords has become an unrelenting advocate for what she calls responsible gun laws. Today her campaign brought her to West Hartford as part of the Protect All Women tour, a national initiative focused on her campaign for stronger gun laws to defend women against gun violence.

“Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women,” Giffords said at a roundtable discussion at West Hartford’s Kingswood Oxford school on Thursday.

She was joined by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and more than a dozen legislators and leaders in the fields of domestic violence and law enforcement.

“The message is very simple: Enough,” said Blumenthal.

Connecticut was the third stop on Giffords’ tour. The former congresswoman plans to visit nine states in nine days to raise awareness and encourage women to speak up, since the prevalence of domestic violence and the availability of guns often makes for a deadly combination.

“Women can lead the way. We stand for common sense. We stand for responsibility,” Giffords said.

Giffords is a co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, which seeks to reduce gun violence and increase “sensible’ gun control legislation. She encouraged those on hand not to give up the fight, regardless of the setbacks.

“We can change our laws. We can win elections,” she said. “Please join your voice with mine.”

<![CDATA[AFL-CIO Stumps for Malloy]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:50:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dan+malloy+5.jpg

The National President of the AFL-CIO, one of the largest organized groups in the United States, visited Connecticut Tuesday to campaign for the state's Democratic Governor in his bid for reelection.

"For working families of Connecticut, Dan Malloy has the agenda" Richard Trumka said before a group of union members, organizers, and members of the press.

Trumka used the open microphone to criticize Republican Tom Foley in much the same ways Democrats in the state have throughout the campaign.

“Losing looks exactly like Tom Foley" Trumka said. "Tom Foley is the personification of the corporate agenda and that is frankly the last thing the working people of Connecticut need.”

Trumka said Foley's record working with TB Woods in Pennsylvania is something that should concern Connecticut voters.

During a campaign stop just minutes from the AFL-CIO event in Rocky Hill, Tom Foley and Lieutenant Governor candidate Heather Somers toured Fair Weather Acres, a farm and store. Foley defended his record with unions and TB Woods to reporters. He repeatedly said, "We covered this last month" and reiterated that employees at the company received bad advice from their union, which led to some of their dismissals."

Foley said, "Some chose to return to work and some didn’t." He added, "Others lost their jobs and that’s unfortunate but when a union puts their employees at risk by recommending a strike to them, they’re at risk and if things don’t work out for them that’s the union’s fault, not the employer’s fault.”

The Republican candidate for governor reiterated a point he's made throughout the campaign when it comes to unions. "I'm not pro union or anti-union" Foley said. "I'm pro worker."
Trumka with the AFL-CIO said Foley will take his business practices with him if he becomes governor.

“He’s a CEO who sinks companies, destroys jobs, makes war on his employees and walks away with his arms full of money” Trumka said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Malloy Answers Questions About Rental Income]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 07:30:30 -0400

As the campaign for governor heats up, Republican candidate Tom Foley is criticizing Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for taxes he paid in rental income on his former home in Stamford, which was valued at around $200,000.

According to his tax filings, Malloy only paid $1,795 on the taxable income.

On the seemingly small amount, Malloy said, “These are the same deductions that you claim on your own home when you live in it, for instance, property taxes or a mortgage as well as other expenses that go into the base of your house.”

Foley started laughing when he was asked about the tax issue during an event in Rocky Hill on Tuesday.

“I at least included everything in my summary on my income" Foley told reporters. "He apparently failed to include income on a summary he provided. $180,000.”

Foley released three years worth of tax filings to the press last month, but reporters were only allowed to view the documents and take notes, but were prohibited from making copies.

The Republican said he filed for an extension on his 2013 tax filings and when he was asked about whether he would release them soon he said, "I haven't thought about it."

As for Malloy's rental income, he said he did what any homeowner would have done to limit his tax liability.

“We paid the mortgage. We paid the taxes. The depreciation was a little, and maintenance was the rest of it and that’s what it is" Malloy said.

<![CDATA[NH Lawmaker Calls Congresswoman "Ugly as Sin"]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:22:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Steve+Vaillancourt.jpg

Candidates for New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District are speaking out after a state lawmaker described one of them as "ugly as sin."

The story has gained national attention and has both candidates denouncing the remarks. Republican state Representative Steven Vaillancourt wrote a blog post on Friday after he says he saw a poll that claimed more attractive candidates have the upper hand with voters.

In the blog, he wrote, "Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin?"

Vaillancourt then compared her to a drag queen.

"Look, it's rude and offensive," Congresswoman Kuster said. "But I have a thick skin."

Kuster's Republican challenger, Marilinda Garcia, said the post was just plain mean.

"She doesn't deserve to be treated that way," Garcia said.

Congresswoman Kuster said Vaillancourt's comments reflect a broader issue with the Republican Party.

"I am more frustrated with the positions they stand for, and frankly, that leads to an environment where people say disrespectful things," Kuster said.

Garcia said she is frustrated that exactly three weeks before the election, the conversation has turned to this.

"Looks and appearance seem to supersede commentary and observation and the other things that are more important," Garcia said.

In Vaillancourt's blog, he called Garcia, "One of the most attractive women on the political scene anywhere."

Garcia, who has worked with Vaillancourt during her four terms as a state representative, said the comments are not surprising and she is not at all flattered.

"He certainly is an equal opportunity offender," Garcia said.

NECN tried to reach Vaillancourt for comment, but no one answered when crews knocked at his Manchester home. He later sent an email referring NECN to his latest blog entry, which was posted Monday evening. Vaillancourt answers reporters' questions about whether or not he stands by his statements, writing, "Stand by the fact that Ms. Garcia is better looking than Ms. Kuster? If the reporters themselves don't see that, then they should question their own abilities to function."

In that same blog, Vaillancourt makes it clear, none of this is about supporting his party affiliation. In fact, he went on to criticize Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

"Anyone who has followed what I've written (more than 500 posts this past year) knows that neither looks nor race nor sexual orientation nor sex matters a whit to me," Vaillancourt wrote.

As for the 2nd Congressional District Race, the most recent poll shows Kuster with a two point lead over Garcia.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Stumps for Malloy in Hartford]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 23:14:05 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Clinton_Stumps_for_Malloy_in_Hartford_1200x675_341810243970.jpg Former president Bill Clinton was in town to support Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's campaign for governor. ]]> <![CDATA[Treasurer Denise Nappier Defends Record and Campaign]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 19:50:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/denise+nappier+2014.jpg

In an exclusive sit-down interview Wendesday, state Treasurer Denise Nappier told NBC Connecticut that her campaign has been active and that she has not been avoiding the press or the public.

“I’ve been speaking at churches and other speaking engagements,” Nappier said. “I haven't neglected the electorate, the voters, my fellow citizens. I've been out there.”

Nappier was scheduled to square off Tuesday evening in a debate with Republican Tim Herbst, but contacted the forum’s organizers earlier that day to say she wouldn’t be attending.

“As it was reported, and it was accurate, for personal reasons, I didn't attend,” Nappier said.

“If I was to tell you [the reason], then it would no longer be personal," she added.

Nappier has held the office of state treasurer since 1999 and was the first African American woman ever to hold the office in Connecticut.

During her watch, the state’s pension funds for state employees and teachers have seen their ups and downs. A recent nationwide study by Standard & Poor’s ranks Connecticut second to last when it comes to funding ratios, with the state standing at 49 percent for current pensioners.

Nappier defended her record on Wednesday, saying her office successfully weathered the storms of the Great Recession.

“We have generated $19.8 billion in investments and we did so by taking on less risk by taking on less risk than more than 50 percent of similar pension funds in the country," Nappier said.

Tune in to Sunday morning's episode of "Decision 2014" to watch the full interview with Nappier, who delves further into the fiscal health of the state of Connecticut, and further defends her campaign.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Kennedy, Jr. Faces Campaign Finance Complaint]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 22:41:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/530PKENEDYSTILL100714MAX00000000.jpg

In a short complaint filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, Ted Kennedy, Jr.'s State Senate opponent alleges that the Democrat has skirted campaign finance law.

Thomas Banisch, the campaign manager for GOP candidate Bruce Wilson, filed a complaint Monday alleging that Kennedy, Jr. and his wife and business associates contributed $40,000 to the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Banisch and Kennedy are vying for the Branford State Senate seat.

In the paperwork, Banisch argues that the campaign's later expenditures totaled a similar amount, which prompted him to file a formal complaint.

“My understanding is that there are laws in place where you can’t have a quid pro quo situation," said Rep. Vincent Candelora, a Republican from North Branford.

Republicans allege that not only was the transfer improper, but that the $10,000 in donations exceeded individual contribution limits to campaigns.

Kennedy's campaign denies any wrongdoing, saying the candidate is well-versed in Connecticut campaign finance law.

"There's nothing there" said John Murphy, Kennedy's campaign manager. "He's running as a clean elections candidate. He’s raised money in the past in different years for the state party and he raised money for the state party this year. It’s no different than any other year.”

The campaign hasn't even officially received the complaint and no charges have been filed.

It's possible the SEEC may decide to disregard the complaint after an investigation.

<![CDATA[Obama Returns to Connecticut]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:50:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Obama-NU-2.jpg

President Barack Obama returned to Connecticut on Tuesday to attend a fundraiser in Greenwich where some guests shelled out as much as $32,000 per ticket.

The president's motorcade led him to Conyers Farm Estates on Tuesday evening to support the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, an organization focused on reelecting Democratic incumbents.

The president made two stops in New York City along the way. His helicopter landed at the Greenwich Polo Club just after 5 p.m

Real estate mogul Richard Richman and his wife hosted the event in their exclusive community where the smallest lot spans 10 acres and some homes sell for more than $20 million.

Obama told donors at the fundraiser that the country has more work to do on raising the minimum wage and investing in infrastructure.

His visit came a day after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stopped in Trumbull to help Republican Tom Foley in his campaign for governor.

<![CDATA[Treasurer Nappier Withdraws From Candidate Forum]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:40:44 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Denise+Nappier.jpg

Democratic state Treasurer Denise Nappier abruptly cancelled a scheduled appearance at a candidate forum Tuesday night citing "personal reasons," according to a campaign spokesperson.

The event at the Hartford Public Library had been scheduled for several weeks.

Her challenger, Republican Tim Herbst, says Nappier has been avoiding the press for months and even if she has personal business to attend to, she has to be open with Connecticut residents.

“I find it incredibly troubling that a sole fiduciary who’s in control of $26 billion in assets and has been in office for 16 years doesn’t think she has to answer for her record and continues to ignore the public and the media at every turn," Herbst said during an interview Tuesday.

Nappier has held her current position since 1998.

NBC Connecticut has made numerous requests to sit down with Denise Nappier for interviews over the past month and she is scheduled to appear on NBC Connecticut's "Decision 2014" this Sunday at 10 a.m.

Nappier's campaign has confirmed that despite her cancellation Tuesday night, she will appear on Decision 2014.

<![CDATA[Decision 2014: Herbst Calls Nappier Out for Avoiding Debates]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 10:21:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/malloy+foley+herbst.jpg

On this week’s episode of "Decision 2014," we take an in-depth look at the two gubernatorial debates held this week.

The first debate was held Tuesday at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, and the second took place Thursday at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

Todd Piro breaks down the highlights – and lowlights – from both debates.

  • WATCH: Todd Piro breaks down the two gubernatorial debates from the last week.

Christine Stuart analyzes the debates with George Colli.

  • WATCH: George Colli and Christine Stuart discuss the nasty tone of the gubernatorial campaigns and if the candidates admitting they’ve smoked marijuana matters with voters.

And GOP candidate for treasurer Tim Herbst tells George Colli that incumbent Denise Nappier is avoiding him and refusing to take part in any debates.

  • WATCH: GOP treasurer candidate Tim Herbst tells George Colli his opponent, Denise Nappier, is avoiding him and any potential debates.

<![CDATA[Voters Respond to Candidates' Jabs at Debate]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 17:50:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/malloy+foley+fox+debate.jpg

Forget the gloves – the last 10 minutest of Thursday night’s gubernatorial debate between Gov. Dan Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley looked more like a bare-knuckle brawl.

Both candidates threw jabs, even snuck in a sucker punch or two, and it looks like the voters at home were hit the hardest.

“It was different than Tuesday's debate, which was more about policy,” explained CTNewsJunkie’s Christine Stuart. “I think Thursday’s debate got a little personal.”

The discussion Thursday night at the University of Connecticut started with economic issues, but ended with Foley calling for a truce.

That call came almost an hour after Foley dropped a line about Malloy alluding to his time as Stamford mayor.

“He also was investigated for corruption while he was mayor of Stamford, and he leaves that out,” Foley said.

That investigation found no wrongdoing, but Stuart says it set the stage for the fight that followed.

“It hit a nerve and Malloy just unloaded all of Tom Foley’s indiscretions on him at that point,” said Stuart.

Malloy went after Foley over two car crashes, including an arrest in 1981 when Foley was accused of hitting parked cars in Southampton, New York. Foley has been arrested twice but not convicted.

“I’m not the person that got fined $16,000. I’m not the person who failed to disclose to the FBI that he got arrested," Malloy said. "I’m not the person who didn’t tell the full truth about incidents involving women in a car that you struck five different times at rates of speed going as fast as 50 mph.”

NBC Connecticut took it to the voters Friday for their reaction.

“They are getting a tired, a little cranky,” said Michael Dunne, of West Hartford, “almost as tired as I am of all the negative campaigning.”

According to the Wesleyan Media Project, this is the third most negative governor’s race in the country right now.

“The things that disappoints me is that both candidates are spending a huge amount of time on negative campaigning, giving us all the reasons why we should not vote for the other guy,” said Dunne. “What they are not telling us is why we should vote for him.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Recommends Grandmotherhood]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 20:39:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/tlmd_hillaryclinton7.jpg

Thousands waited hours in the sun to see Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday in South Florida.

Clinton was signing copies of her new book "Hard Choices" at Books & Books at 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables.

There, she spoke about her book and about becoming a grandmother just a few days ago, saying, "I highly recommend it!"

Earlier on Thursday, Clinton spoke at the Crew Network Convention & Marketplace at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach.

Her message for the 1,200 professional women at the event was one of empowerment.

"You can't get tied into knots by what others say and think, because we all know women sometimes get judged by different criteria -- even powerful women in powerful positions," she said.

Karyl Argamasilla, with the Miami Crew chapter, said she took Clinton's message to heart.

"At the end of the day, she's someone who has broken all the glass ceilings," Argamasilla said.

At one point, a woman in the audience shouted out, "2016!" -- the only mention of a possible presidential run during Clinton's Miami stops. But those in attendance said they don't doubt she'll be joining the race.

"She's already been to Iowa," said Steve Sails. "She's running."

<![CDATA[Pelto Sends Message With Write-In Candidacy for Governor]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:45:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/93014pelto00000000.jpg

Former Democratic state representative Jonathan Pelto failed to collect enough qualifying signatures to earn a spot on the November ballot, but that hasn't stopped him from running for governor.

“My sense is we went up to the gate, we shook the gate, we weren’t able to knock it down but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to say we’re here,” Pelto said during an interview Tuesday.

Pelto is running a write-in campaign for the state’s highest office and has registered with the Secretary of the State to receive votes.

Any Connecticut voter can write in a candidate for office, but the votes will only count if the candidate has registered prior to the election.

He says he wants to use his candidacy as a way to showcase issues that are the most important to him and to Connecticut residents who urged him to run.

“It’s a way to be pushing the envelope,” Pelto said. “It’s a way to be heard and so we’ve learned that we got to use every possible route you can against a system that doesn’t like to hear outsiders.”

Pelto says he’s received hundreds of messages and phone calls urging him to get into the race. The main issue most people have talked to him about is the role of the Common Core Standards in Connecticut public schools.

The standards were developed by governors several years ago and were adopted by nearly every state in the U.S. Pelto says the process by which they’ve been implemented has been anything but transparent.

“The Common Core, the standardized testing, the privatization of our schools, the fact that Gov. Malloy and his education commissioner basically lied to parents about their rights under the common core testing system,” Pelto said, listing his grievances.

Gov. Dan Malloy has continuously defended his record on the education.

Pelto and his running mate Ebony Murphy say their main goal is to keep issues that are important to them and their modest following in the forefront. They pledge to work long after the election to make that happen.

Pelto and Murphy will be getting the word out about their candidacy using a direct mail effort.

“Even if we can only use our limited resources, a subset of the electorate, it’s part of the process,” Pelto said.

<![CDATA[1 Month to Register to Vote in General Election]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:22:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Voting-Sign-Generic-Ballot-1.jpg

If you have not registered to vote, you have a month to register to vote in the November general elections.

To cast a ballot on Nov. 4, you must register online htpps://voterregistration.ct.gov or by mail by Tuesday Oct. 21 and the final deadline to register to vote in-person at town or city offices is Tuesday, Oct. 28.

This year alone, at least 53,940 new voters have registered, including 15,924 Democrats, 10,303 Republicans and 26,276 unaffiliated voters, according to the Secretary of the State’s Office.

Overall, there are a total of 1,931,880 registered voters in Connecticut, 706,211 of whom are Democrats, 402,840 of whom are Republicans and 803,564 of whom are unaffiliated voters. 

“I strongly encourage any eligible voter with a driver’s license to use our online voter registration system to sign up to vote,” Merrill said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Nov.  4, polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Following is the breakdown of voter registrations in Connecticut:

  • A Better Future: 2
  • A Brookfield Party: 3
  • A Connecticut Party: 1
  • A Sentinel Party: 23
  • Canterbury First: 2
  • Chatham Party: 10
  • Democratic: 706,211
  • Enfield Taxpayers Party: 2
  • Friends Of Saybrook: 13
  • Green: 1,641
  • Guilty: 1
  • Independence: 13
  • Independence For Montville: 8
  • Independent: 15,446
  • Independent Choice: 1
  • Libertarian: 1,691
  • Milford Independent Party: 6
  • Norwich for Change: 1
  • Open: 8
  • Pro-Bethel: 2
  • Realistic Balance: 4
  • Reform: 11
  • Republican: 402,840
  • South Windsor Citizens: 1
  • Spring Glen Party: 8
  • Swing: 1
  • The Hampton Party: 1
  • U-It: 6
  • U/i: 1
  • Unaffiliated: 803,564
  • Unaffiliated (Conservative): 1
  • We The People: 44
  • Winsted Independent: 37
  • Working Families: 276
  • ===========
  • TOTAL 1,931,880
  • Democratic 15,924
  • Green 70
  • Independent 1,205
  • Libertarian 138
  • Reform 1
  • Republican 10,303
  • U/i 1
  • Unaffiliated 26,276
  • Winsted Independent 1
  • Working Families 21

Learn more at the Secretary of the State’s office Web site, including if you are registered to vote, how to register to vote, where your polling place is or to download an application for an absentee ballot if you will be out of town or physically unable to be in their polling place on Election Day.

<![CDATA[CA Plastic Bag Ban Approved]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:23:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/212*120/Plastic+Bag+Ban+Store+Counter+copy.jpg

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags Tuesday.

The measure, first proposed by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, would prohibit single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies in 2015 and at convenience stores in 2016.

It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge 10 cents each for paper and reusable bags.

The bill had sparked one of the most contentious debates in the last weeks of the legislative session, with aggressive lobbying by environmentalists and bag manufacturers.

Moments after Brown signed the measure, the American Progressive Bag Alliance called it a “back room deal between grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit – all under the guise of environmentalism.”

The group plans to launch a referendum effort for the November 2016 ballot to repeal the measure.

San Diegan Laura Quinn-Stalker had mixed feelings about the news.

“Although I reuse my plastic bags constantly and will miss that,” she posted to NBC 7’s Facebook page, “I think this is important to do.”

“Won't see a dime saved in my pocket. Now, I have to buy garbage bags,” Oxnard resident Wade Wilson posted.

For years, a statewide plastic bag ban has been an elusive goal for lawmakers trying to reduce the buildup of plastic waste in oceans and waterways that costs millions of dollars to cleanup.

About 100 local jurisdictions in California already have adopted similar bans, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Education Group Backs Malloy]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:35:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/dan+malloy+5.jpg

One of the state's biggest teachers unions announced Monday that its board believes Gov. Dan Malloy deserves another four years.

"It wasn't a close vote" said Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association, a group that touts a membership of more than 40,000.

The group cited its history with the governor, as well Malloy's priorities of improving public education as its rationale for throwing its support behind the Democrat in the race.

“We examined the facts associated with both candidates based on the interests that were expressed to us by our members, and an examination of those facts shows clearly that the governor is the better candidate for teachers, students and the betterment of public education," Waxenberg added.

Malloy said the endorsement didn't come as a surprise, given the topics that are important to him.

“We know what works," Malloy said following an event in Middletown on Monday. "Good summer programs, more intensive teacher involvement, team teaching, allowing teachers to have time to work together to turn around a school is important.”

Both the CEA and the governor used the platform of the endorsement to slam Republican Tom Foley's education plans that he rolled out last week.

Waxenberg and Malloy called Foley's framework for improving schools a "disaster."

“Up until the last few weeks he had no plan for public education" Waxenberg said. "We did the research on his plan and what we found is that plan is a recipe for disaster.”

Foley's education priorities included creating a new system to allow students in failing schools to transfer into better public schools and allowing the money to follow the child.

Foley also proposed establishing an A-F grading system for all public schools to allow parents to see the quality of school that their child attends.

In a statement, a Foley campaign spokesman responded to the CEA support for Foley saying, "Tom Foley remains committed to real education reform, including addressing the needs of the 100,000 children who are in under-performing schools and closing Connecticut's achievement gap which remains the worst in the nation."

Malloy, in full campaign mode while talking to reporters in Middletown, said Foley's "education plan was horrendous, quite frankly.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>