June 2019 - In This Issue:

Crossing the Finish Line: 
A Legislative Roundup

The 2019 Legislative Session ended at midnight. Exhausted legislators, staff, and lobbyists have stumbled home to sleep it off; only the reporters must return today to write their follow-up stories. To be determined: when a special session to address tolls will take  place.

McDowell Jewett saw a number of wins for its clients:

Connecticut's newly-adopted biennial budget includes the historic partnership formed by Dalio Philanthropies and the State. The Partnership will benefit youth ages 14-24 and under-resourced communities throughout Connecticut as part of a five-year initiative. MJC has been proud to work with Barbara Dalio and Dalio Philanthropies for several years to strengthen public education in Connecticut through collaboration.

For the fifth year in a row we supported the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association in its efforts to prevent Tesla from implementing a risky direct sale model in Connecticut. MJC also supported the dealers' fight against double-taxing Connecticut consumers who trade in a car for a new one. The Association supports more than 270 dealerships throughout Connecticut with a focus on jobs and the future of our state's economy.

The state legislature sent a strong message to the wind industry that Connecticut is in the business of offshore wind. It approved a plan that could lead to 1,000 wind turbines in federal waters off the coast of Connecticut. Our client, the Connecticut Port Authority, is a partner in the new deal that will revitalize New London's State Pier and help to establish the region as a central hub in New England for the developing offshore wind industry.

MJC client Dominion and the state's two electric utilities came to an agreement in March to keep the Millstone nuclear facility in Waterford open for at least another decade. The shutdown of the plant would have exposed the region to a nearly 25 percent increase in carbon emissions, increased risk of rolling blackouts, billions of dollars in power replacement costs, and the loss of more than 1,500 well-paying jobs in Connecticut.

MJC partner Steve Jewett served as spokesperson for Insurance Matters to Connecticut. The coalition, comprised of the major Connecticut health plans, CBIA, health care retailers, and numerous chambers of commerce, is dedicated to preserving Hartford as the "Insurance Capital of the World." The group opposed government-run insurance proposals at the state legislature that had the potential to hurt our hometown health insurance industry.

MJC client, the New England Cable Television Association (NECTA), successfully fended off a legislative attempt to pass a net neutrality bill. NECTA argued that its members already abide by the net neutrality principles and because the Internet knows no state or even national boundaries, regulation should come from the federal government, not the states. 

ASCEND Summit 

MJC created the programming for the recent day-long  A SCEND Summit in New York City. Moderated by MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, the goal of ASCEND is to identify and promote the best strategies for advancing women to the c-suite and boardroom. Speakers and panelists included Valerie Jarrett, Carly Fiorina, Arianna Huffington, leading venture capitalist and Connecticut First Lady Annie Lamont, AWAY suitcase co-founder Steph Korey, and Co-CEO of Bridgewater Eileen Murray. This is the 10th women's event that Duby McDowell and Robyn Gengras have produced with Mika Brzezinski.

Mika Brzezinski with Valerie Jarrett
5 Ways to Help Your Message Stand Out in a Digital World

Bob Dylan said it best: "The times they are a changin'." With the birth of the World Wide Web and the swift development o f social media platforms, we ar e l iving in an age of super-connectivity; we have the power to reach people through new technologies and ever- evolving social platforms. Alexa, can I get an Amen!?   

Social platform Facebook launched in 2004 but its true power emerged in the 2008 election; that's when then-candidate Barack Obama motivated a grassroots effort by utilizing it. Connecting with a large group of people who believed in Obama's message was extremely effective for mobilizing support. These days social media is so widely used that it's omnipresent. Before launching a digital campaign, consider these 5 tips to help your message stand out in an overcrowded digital world:

The Message. The Medium.
As important as constructing a good message is delivering it on the right medium. The message should fit the medium. For example, advertising on Instagram is different than advertising on a news site. Take a tip from business writer John Hall: "The most innovative, exciting idea out there can die a painful, virtually unnoticed death if the wrong medium delivers it to the wrong audience."

Hashtag it
We live in a world of hashtags. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even blog posts and articles all categorize content by adding hashtags. Using hashtags is an easy way to join pertinent conversations and help supporters find you. #HashtagIt!

Keep it Simple
Less is more. According to Cision, the average attention span has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to only 8 seconds in 2018. What's more, most digital platforms enable a scrolling feature, which means your message needs to be concise and compelling to pique interest.

Video, Video, Video
Video is now a critical element to have in your digital messaging toolbox. According to Google, 6 out of 10 people would rather watch a video than television. And, "audiences are 10 times more likely to engage, embed, share, and comment on video content than blogs or related social posts." 

Utilize Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, so save yourself some time and use photos. Senator Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg are posting daily on Instagram to not only tell voters what they are doing, but show them as well. In reaching the 18-29 year old demographic, Instagram is the place to be.

Out of Politics, into Pasta
A conversation with the popular Jimmy Cosgrove, owner of MJC's favorite neighbor, Salute restaurant.

How have you seen Hartford change since you've been in the restaurant industry?

The 80's were such a different time from where we are now. People would get out of work and stay downtown for the rest of the day. A lot of stock brokers and lawyers. Weekends were a lot busier. Saturdays and Sundays were booming - there were a lot of stores there. The biggest thing was when people got out of work, they stayed downtown. When the Whalers left town in the late 90s....it actually helped our business. Opened up parking so people would come in on Wednesday night.

In time, you grew to miss the Whalers because it was a guaranteed two nights a week of a full house. From 2000s, business went up and down.

Any good stories?

A couple weeks ago we had Kobe Bryant in who was visiting Hartford with his daughter. As far as politicians go, we have a lot of fundraisers. We've had US Senators, the Governor....they are all nice guys. I don't know their politics but they are nice guys. But one thing we've always tried to do here is never get involved in politics.

How did you end up owning Salute restaurant?

I've been working downtown since 1981. My first job was as a bartender at a Japanese restaurant in the Civic Center. I stayed in the Civic Center until 1995 at which point I went to work for a restaurant called Hot Tomatoes. Hot Tomatoes in the early 90s was the spot. The owner got in a lot of trouble and went to jail. Another guy came in and bought him out and that is who I went to work for as a bartender. Within a couple months, I was running the restaurant. We went from being bankrupt in 1996 and by 2000 we had quadrupled our sales. I stayed there until 2009. The owner committed suicide in 2005 and his wife took over the business and gradually ran it into the ground, which is sad but I thank God everyday she did because I never would have come down here.

The story is, the restaurant at 100 Trumbull Street was built for Geno Auriemma - supposedly at the last minute he backed out. The next guy they brought in didn't have a lot of experience. He lasted about a year. Once he left, we came in.

Read more of our interview with Jimmy on our website.