April 2023

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It's officially spring as we see from the re-emerging bears and crocuses. While they were hibernating, many of us stayed busy working on projects to protect our democracy. Thank you, everyone, who pitched in on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race (See below). We have high hopes for a favorable result this Tuesday.

Please read below to find out about important local news, including Democratic victories in three CT House special elections, the groundbreaking on a new healthcare center in Canaan, and upcoming budget votes. Our municipal elections are scheduled for this fall and we are looking for candidates interested in running for various public offices and commissions (See below). Our event calendar includes some important (and fun) events that you won't want to miss. Finally, read down for our news clips that we always hope will be informative and perhaps even alarming.

We are ever-grateful for your support and ideas for ways to make this newsletter better. Please send us your event announcements and ideas for news we should include.

Meanwhile, please don't feed the bears!

As always,

Your faithful editor


Salisburians rose to the challenge of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race and the opportunity to change the court’s composition from a 4-to-3 conservative majority to a 4-to-3 progressive majority on April 4. Readers of this newsletter have heard this race referred to as what may prove to be the most consequential election anywhere in the country this year. Wisconsin is a key swing state, so at stake in the state court race are issues with big national impact, including voting rights, voting maps, and abortion rights. For an excellent analysis of how the Republicans took over Wisconsin and how this election might break their stranglehold, read this opinion piece by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times.

Our intrepid postcarders, led by Sarah Zarbock, John Hoffman, Sophia deBoer, and Kathy Voldstad, have gathered over the past two months to write postcards encouraging Wisconsin voters to get out and vote and to support progressive candidate Janet Protasiewicz over MAGA-supported conservative Daniel Kelly. (This election is officially non-partisan, so the candidates do not carry party affiliations, even though the battle lines are clear.) The group has written more than 2000 postcards to voters.

In addition, Lee Greenhouse has been working remotely with the Wisconsin Democrats' voter protection team, focusing on “ballot curing,” the process through which a voter whose absentee ballot has been flagged by elections officials as undeliverable or deficient (e.g., lacking required voter signature or witness signature and address) can fix the problem so that their ballot can be counted. The WisDems have mounted a substantial operation to reach out by phone to thousands of voters whose ballots have been flagged as needing curing and then providing the necessary assistance. Thanks to everyone who stepped up to help protect democracy. 


Democrats claimed victory in special elections on February 28 for three Connecticut House seats opened by the death of Quentin Williams (D-Middletown) and resignations of Dan Fox (D-Stamford) and Edwin Vargas Jr. (D-Hartford). The wins by James “Jimmy” Sanchez of Hartford in the 6th District, Kai Juanna Belton of Middletown in the 100th District, and Anabel Figueroa of Stamford in the 148th District restore Democrats to the 98-53 majority won in the November election.  


Mark your calendar for important upcoming votes. To start, there will be public hearings on the First Selectman’s budget and the Salisbury Central School budget on April 24 at 7:30pm via Zoom. Votes on these budgets will take place on May 3 at 7:30 via Zoom. A separate vote on the Region 1 budget will take place on May 2 from 12-8pm at Town Hall. You are eligible to vote if you are an elector of the Town of Salisbury. You may vote if you are a US citizen at least 18 years old who is liable to the Town of Salisbury for taxes on an assessment of not less than $1,000. Corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, trusts, and other legal entities are not citizens of the US and therefore are not eligible to vote. Meeting agendas and Zoom links for remote meetings can be found closer to the dates at


A Community Health and Wellness Center (CHWC) in North Canaan officially started construction on East Main Street on March 3. The CHWC will provide access to primary and behavioral healthcare services regardless of ability to pay. The new center will be the third location for CHWC, following two others located in Torrington and Winsted. According to CHWC CEO Joanne Borduas, the center will offer individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, women’s health, and child and adolescent care, among other services. CHWC was awarded a bond contract of $3 million for construction from Governor Ned Lamont’s office and a $1.3 million grant from the Foundation for Community Health. Rep. Maria Horn, who attended the groundbreaking, said the center is “going to make a huge difference for the whole Northwest corner.” Construction is expected to be completed by the end of November 2023.


Rep. Maria Horn hosted a small group of Salisburians in Hartford on March 3. The group included Sophia and Lee deBoer, Kathy and Michael Voldstad, Judith and Ray McGuire, Flora Lazar, and Lee Greenhouse. The visit started with an informative tour of the historic capitol building conducted by the League of Women Voters and was followed by lunch, during which Rep. Horn and the group discussed a range of legislative issues, including gun violence, right to die, voting rights, and the environment. She also provided an insider’s view of how the legislative process actually works. Yes, it is good to know how the sausage is made. This outing was the result of a winning bid at last year’s STDC auction, in which Rep. Horn had generously offered the tour and lunch as an auction item. Rep. Horn welcomes other groups that would like to come for a tour of the capitol. Anyone who is interested should contact her at [email protected].


The Salisbury Democratic Town Committee is looking for people wishing to run for elected office in the 2023 Municipal Elections this fall. It’s gratifying to serve your community, and it's fun and easy to run because we take care of the campaign work and expense. Contact Al Ginouves at 860-248-9892 or [email protected] to find out more.

If you are not a resident of Salisbury check with your town's Democratic Town Committee about running for office.


March 31-April 1: Salisbury Book and Tag Sale sponsored by Noble Horizons Auxiliary. Featured items include books, furniture, china, glassware, linens, jewelry, and wide variety of household items. This free event takes place 9am-2pm on both days at Noble Horizons, 17 Cobble Road, Salisbury.

April 8: Kid's Fishing Derby. Open to anglers up to age 15, the derby runs from 7-9am at the Town Grove. Prizes will be awarded at 9am. There is no cost to enter.

April 18 at 6pm via Zoom: Salisbury Democratic Town Committee. The SDTC will hold its regular monthly meeting. Meetings are open to the public and we welcome the input of all citizens. The SDTC is committed to promoting good government and democratic principles at every level of our civic life. The SDTC recruits candidates for local elective and appointed offices and supports the most qualified Democrats to run in municipal, state, and national elections. Meetings are usually on the third Tuesday of every month. Until further notice all meetings are by Zoom. The schedule is posted on the SDTC website. Contact Al Ginouves to receive a copy of the agenda and the link to the meeting.

June 1: Torrington Pride Annual Flag Raising. Everyone is welcome. The event takes place at 10am at Torrington City Hall.


Lakeville Village Planning Study Presentation. On March 18, at an open meeting sponsored by the Planning & Zoning Commission, Colliers Engineering and Design of Madison presented ideas and got feedback on planning ideas for Lakeville village. The presentation was followed by a brainstorming session with residents. Colliers is a multi-disciplinary professional services firm with expertise in land-use planning, civil engineering, landscape architecture, traffic engineering, environmental services, and surveying. The engineering firm is being paid with federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to study and evaluate potential improvements for pedestrian access and safety, bicyclist access and safety, accessibility and utility of public greenspaces, traffic circulation, parking, and stormwater management. The documents from the meeting are available on the town website.

As Hospital Labor and Delivery Wards Close, A New CT Bill Would Permit Birth Centers. Governor Lamont has proposed legislation aimed at allowing birth centers to open and operate independently, as an alternative to hospitals for low-risk pregnancies and deliveries. Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said that if passed, S.B. 986: An Act Protecting Maternal Health, will fill the gaps left by labor and delivery unit closures at hospitals statewide. Read the story from Connecticut Public Radio.

CT Gun Safety Bill Advances. The day after a mass shooting in Nashville, Connecticut lawmakers voted this week to advance gun legislation that would ban the open carry of firearms and the bulk purchase of handguns, as well as raise the minimum age for purchasing long guns to 21. House Bill 6667 was approved by the legislature’s Judiciary Committee 23-to-14, advancing it to the full legislature. The bill, proposed by Governor Lamont, still has to pass through both the House and Senate to become law. Read more in CT Mirror.

Senator Blumenthal and CT Health Advocates Call on Walgreens to Reverse Decision On Selling Abortion Pill. US Senator Richard Blumenthal, along with CT health advocates, including Planned Parenthood and Pro Choice CT, are asking Walgreens to reverse what these groups say is its decision to put profits and politics over people, by denying millions of people access to abortion pills in their stores. On March 2, Walgreens announced that it would not sell mifepristone in 21 states after threats of legal action from those states’ Republican attorneys general. Connecticut is not one of those states. Blumenthal said he plans to organize his colleagues in Washington to protest what he calls a “truly craven surrender to the hard right ideological opponents of reproductive rights.” He said, “Let’s be very clear. The FDA, 20 years ago, approved mifepristone, medication abortion, as safe and effective. The FDA says medication abortion through mifepristone is safe and effective. That is the federal law and it supplants any state restrictions under the Constitution. Nobody can deny that federal law is supreme.” Read more from the Hartford Courant. 

Federal Judge Orders Reinstatement of Medicaid Benefits Lost under Trump Rule.

A federal judge has ordered the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reinstate Medicaid coverage for people who lost it as a result of a rule instituted by the departing Trump administration. The ruling from Judge Michael P. Shea of the US District Court of Connecticut said that the secretary of CMS must follow the rules that were previously in place and which prohibited people from being removed from state Medicaid rolls during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The entire Connecticut congressional delegation had previously signed a letter urging CMS to tell states that they had to reinstate Medicaid coverage to people who had lost it under the Trump rule and that they receive retroactive coverage. Read the full story in The Register Citizen

2024 Trump is Even Scarier Than 2020 Trump. On the Republican side, no potential candidate has registered in the national polls as anything close to a Trump-toppler, and that includes, so far, the much-touted governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. When the front-running ex-President campaigns on a platform of “retribution” and “termination,” it’s best to take him seriously. Read this article by Susan B. Glasser in The New Yorker.  

Social Security Needs Fixing. Fortunately, It Doesn’t Have to be Painful - By the Editorial Board of The Washington Post. Social Security, now almost a century old, epitomizes modern America’s commitment to a more humane democratic capitalism. Americans aged 65 and up were once the poorest age group in the country; they now have the lowest poverty rate, thanks largely to Social Security. Contrary to common misconception, Social Security does, indeed, contribute to federal debt and deficits. The good news is that there is still sufficient time before the actuarial day of reckoning to take the necessary measures to stabilize Social Security. The even better news is that there are plenty of plausible ways to do it. Read the full editorial in The Washington Post.

Ron DeSantis’s Plan to Strip First Amendment Rights From The Press. Florida’s governor wants to eliminate the First Amendment safeguards that prevent lawsuits seeking to strong-arm the press into silence. He’s been very clear about this goal: In February, DeSantis led a roundtable discussion brainstorming ideas to weaken the press’s First Amendment protections. Flanked by a panel dominated by defamation plaintiffs and lawyers, the governor attacked the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) for, in his words, empowering a media that will “find a way to smear you.” Read the full article in Vox.  

How the North Carolina GOP Completely Changed Its Mind on Medicaid Expansion.

Ten years ago, Republicans in the North Carolina state House were lining up to vote against opening up Medicaid to anybody with income below or just above the poverty line. The federal government would have picked up most of the cost through the Affordable Care Act. Republicans argued that the existing Medicaid program was too expensive. They warned that the federal government might reduce its contributions in the future, and that offering more people Medicaid would give them less incentive to work. And they said that voting for expansion was tantamount to voting for “Obamacare,” which was politically toxic among Republicans, and even some non-Republicans as well. Things have changed: In March, most Republicans in the North Carolina House lined up to vote for Medicaid expansion, helping it pass the House by a total margin of 87-to-24. The vote came a week after the GOP-controlled Senate approved the same proposal by an even more-lopsided 44-to-2 margin. Find out how and why things changed in this article from HuffPost.

‘Back to One Meal a Day:' SNAP Benefits Drop as Food Prices Climb.Teresa Calderez is 63 and lives in Colorado Springs. Disabled and unable to work for years, she used to get a little over $20 a month in food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP. That would run out very quickly. But as one of the millions of Americans who got extra federal assistance during the pandemic, her balance jumped to $280 a month. She said she was finally able to eat whenever she felt hungry. But that extra money is gone now as the government winds down its pandemic assistance programs. The boosted benefits expired this month and payments are dropping by about $90 a month on average for individuals, and $250 or more for some families, according to an analysis by a nonpartisan research institute, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Read the full story from NPR.

New Report Finds Untapped Opportunity for Federal Agencies to Promote Voting Access. On March 7, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14019 Promoting Access to Voting, a visionary executive order that has the potential to make registration and voting more accessible for millions of Americans, including many communities historically excluded from the political process. Two years later, the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a nonpartisan group, joined a diverse coalition of advocates in issuing a report to highlight the initial progress that has been made, and to explain what actions still need to be taken to fulfill the executive order’s promise. Overall, the report finds that while a few agencies have made noteworthy progress, most have either made minimal progress or have left important opportunities on the table. The report estimates that if these agencies integrate voter registration programs for the people they serve, they could collectively generate an additional 3.5 million voter registration applications per year. Click here to read the CLC’s report. 

Republicans Face Setbacks in Push to Tighten Voting Laws on College Campuses.

Alarmed over young people increasingly proving to be a force for Democrats at the ballot box, Republican lawmakers in a number of states have been trying to enact new obstacles to voting by college students, who tilt heavily Democratic and whose turnout has surged in recent elections. Read the story in The New York Times.

The Conservative Legal Movement’s Latest Target. In March, a voting rights case in Texas headed to court in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals., the nation’s largest voter registration nonprofit, brought the lawsuit, but was joined by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Why is the DOJ so invested in the outcome of a case challenging a technical element of Texas’ voter registration policy? It is because Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is arguing that a key voting rights protection is not privately enforceable, meaning that individuals and organizations like do not have the ability to bring lawsuits under this provision. Without the validity of the legal concept known as a “private right of action” only the DOJ – not individuals or groups -- can file a lawsuit under a statute, making the given statute largely unenforceable. The vast majority of cases safeguarding the right to vote today come from individuals, political parties, and their affiliated groups or civil rights organizations, so an adverse ruling from the court would severely undercut the efficacy of numerous federal laws. Read the entire analysis from Democracy Docket.

The Supreme Court Conservatives’ Favorite New Weapon for Kneecapping the Administrative State. Over the last two years, the Supreme Court’s six conservative justices have wielded tremendous power over federal decision-making by striking down a wide range of consequential policies, including the Centers for Disease Control’s national eviction moratorium, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Covid-19 testing mandate, and a moribund Obama-era rule on power-plant emissions. If the justices likewise nullify President Biden’s executive order on student debt relief, they will use the same mechanism as in those prior examples: the major questions doctrine. That doctrine, which allows the justices to overturn a federal regulation if they think Congress didn’t “speak clearly” enough to authorize it, has seen a meteoric rise amid the court’s increasingly conservative tilt. And unlike most legal doctrines frequently cited by the court, this one does not have a long and distinguished history. Read the full story in The New Republic.


We are continuing to add recommendations to our picks for worthwhile sources of news, information, and context:

Civil Discourse with Joyce Vance. Vance, who served as the US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during the Obama Administration serves up her legal knowledge and analysis for advocates of our democracy, along with a dose of savvy optimism. Learn more and sign up here.

The Brennan Center for Justice publishes concise, cogent analyses and recommendations for how we can make our democracy work better. This non-partisan law and policy institute works to advance reforms in a range of policy areas, including voting rights, electoral reform, redistricting integrity, campaign finance reform, criminal justice reform, and liberty and national security. Learn more and sign up for their bulletins.

Letters from an American is a daily newsletter by Boston College history professor Heather Cox Richardson offering historical perspectives on today's politics. Subscribe free here.

Robert B. Hubbell’s daily newsletter provides his clear-headed perspective on what’s going on in our democracy and what we can do as concerned citizens. Read issues and subscribe free here.

Chop Wood, Carry Water is a weekday newsletter from Jessica Craven providing easy, effective political actions we can take to make change and stave off despair. Sign up here.

Ultra, a podcast by Rachel Maddow. This eight-part series tells the all-but-forgotten story of how our democracy was almost brought down just prior to World War II by extremists aided by members of Congress. You will no doubt see the parallels with our perilous times in this engrossing story. Get the podcast here.


Please send us any news or announcements that you would like us to share with our community. We publish on the first of each month, so please send us any submissions at least one week earlier. Please submit to the editor at [email protected].


All previous issues of this newsletter are available on the Salisbury Democratic Town Committee's website.

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Paid for by the Salisbury Democratic Town Committee,

PO Box 465, Salisbury CT 06068, Pamela Kelley, Treasurer

Editor: Lee Greenhouse, [email protected]

Associate Editor: Sally Andre


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