January 8, 2021
In This Issue:
From Paddi's Desk
CT Agency Corner
Municipal Roundup
From Inside The Golden Dome
Good News Spotlight
This Day in CT History
January 6, 2021 - What a day.

Opening Day at the State Capitol in Hartford brought with it the first ever outdoor swearing-in ceremony for the 187 newly elected legislators, a rowdy crowd (to say the least) of about 1,000 protesters calling for Governor Lamont to fully reopen the state, the legislature to avoid the removal of the school-age exemptions for mandatory vaccinations and the U.S. Congress to negate the recent election results. Less than a full house of newly minted state legislators arrived at 10 a.m.—some needing to quarantine, some with health concerns and some who felt their age was a deterrent to attending a large group outing. All in all, the day went smoothly. Sworn in were the top leaders of the House and Senate—New Haven’s Martin Looney as President Pro Tempore of the Senate and Matt Ritter of Hartford as Speaker of the House. Some legislators were accompanied by their families, and also roaming the Capitol campus were a small cadre of reporters, a handful of lobbyists (Patrick and I being two of them) and a dozen or so state party leaders. 

The noisy and rambunctious demonstrators gave the newly elected senators and representatives a living example of the mantle of democracy they were taking on: respect freedom of speech even if you disagree, and protect our inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was somewhat uncomfortable and loud for all, but such is the pageantry of democracy.

Hartford compared favorably to Washington, D.C., where unruly crowds were whipped into protest not over issues such as human rights or racial injustice, but by a President unwilling to accept the result of an election. Before the sun would set, protesters would batter their way into the U.S. Capitol and drive the Congress into lockdown in the midst of their certifying the election of a new president.

2020 was a year of protests across the world. Carnegie Mellon’s Endowment for International Peace tracks protests across the world, reported recently that many of 2020’s global protests centered on the core issues that have driven the global protest wave of recent years—corruption, judicial reform and violence against women.

The United States and the world saw protests over police brutality and systemic discrimination, from the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States to Nigeria and France. Electoral manipulation and political transitions sparked worldwide protests, as well. Protests about vote rigging and corruption in Kyrgyzstan led to the downfall of President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, while in Peru, demonstrations over an unpopular impeachment forced the interim president to resign after only five days in office.

But let’s face it: Afghanistan and Peru are a long way from Arizona and Pennsylvania, and lost elections have no comparison to lost lives. And while we will have a new president, we should understand that unresolved pain, fear and economic stress felt by all Americans is still smoldering, and it’s not unlikely that protests will flare up again if our political leaders don’t take aggressive efforts to forget the blame game and focus on reversing this anxiety.

Joyce Meyer says, “We don’t grow when things are easy – we grow when we are challenged.” We need to take up the challenge of listening, working together, creating a place where we can disagree and oppose others’ opinions, but respect that everyone has a responsibility to fix the problem. In Hartford, the newly elected leaders made some poignant points on how they intend to lead their caucuses.

Connecticut’s legislative leaders showed this week that they understand this by the things they said. Among them:

Speaker Matt Ritter spoke of the need of building respectful relationships that enable you to fight your cause—not each other.

“We all need to identify our red lines—where we can’t go—and then roll up our sleeves and figure out where we can go together to make it work. Relationships make it work—get to really know those you will work closely with. Being popular isn’t as important as being respectful. Make an effort to get to yes, but if someone can’t follow your lead, respectfully fight like heck to pass the bill. Then grab a cup of coffee and start anew.”

House Republican Leader Vin Candelora spoke from the heart about his family and all the sacrifices that Connecticut has made to manage the epidemic so far. He spoke about the honor he felt being elected to represent his party in the House and also committed to set a strong course of “open dialogue, honest debates.”

“Find where we can agree and respect where we can’t. We need to avoid the tug of right or wrong opinions. Opinions are comfortable or uncomfortable but they belong to the person who holds them.”

Majority Leader Jason Rojas summed up the House leaders movingly. When addressing Vin Candelora he said:

“You are conservative, I am a fiscal moderate and liberal in my social policy. But we have worked together for years finding the right direction because we trust each other, we respect each others’ opinions and see what’s best for the state at the end. We might not vote the same but I know we have the same motivations and goals—we’ll just get there sometimes a different way.”

Rojas addressed his Republican counterpart and his House with this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King: “’A leader does not search for consensus... a leader molds consensus,’ and that you can count on from me in the sessions ahead.”

Their words made me proud to be in Connecticut and work as a lobbyist. We all are Connecticut. We can’t look back, we need to move forward with a sense of history and passion about making all our residents a better tomorrow. In the words of Governor Lamont as he wrapped up the day’s Opening Day ceremonies: “These are Connecticut values.”

Let’s do it, the clock starts now - 148 days and counting…

2021 Agency Proposals

This week we saw state agencies finally release their legislative priorities!
Click on this link to see the full list of state agency legislative proposals (https://portal.ct.gov/OPM/Bud-Division/Documents/2021-Legislative-Proposals) but needless to say there are some hurdles before these proposals are taken up.
Traditionally, the proposals are drafted then vetted by the governor's budgetary office which is the Office of Policy and Management (OPM). Following that, they are considered by the Governor before being officially released to the public.
Please identify with your S&L team member any questions or concerns you may have with these proposals that have been released. Our firm’s priority has always been to assist in outreach as soon as possible if there are changes to be made since there’s usually room to negotiate before the legislature officially files any of these proposals.
Agency staff do an incredible job walking the line between parties to ensure nonpartisan proposals have a high chance of passing but are also open to discussing changes as long as they are flagged in time! Please take the time to review and looking forward to working with you all this session.
Back to School Yet Again

Many CT public schools have been shut down for a prolonged period of time, with a mix of online education and regularly scheduled holiday break. Several schools in CT have chosen to wait two weeks after the holiday break to return to school, giving some time between the inevitable family gatherings and the resuming of in person education. January 11th, this upcoming Monday, and January 18th are the days that many children across our state will return to school in person.
In Shelton, newly appointed Superintendent Ken Saranich and his board of education chose this Monday. The return to in-person instruction will mean more students back in school. Saranich said the principals have informed him that more families are opting to send their students back to school rather than remain on distance learning. Saranich said the Reopen Shelton Schools executive committee will reexamine the situation at the end of the month. Depending on the number of positive COVID cases, Saranich said the committee will make additional recommendations at that time. In all, 110 people district-wide have tested positive for the virus since schools reopened in September. Of the 110 positive tests, 91 have been reported since November 1st.
Good Luck, Senator Leone!
One fewer State Senator was sworn in this week than was elected last November. Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) recently resigned from his position following the acceptance of a new role, working as a Special Advisor to the Commissioner at the CT Department of Transportation.
In this new role, he will be working with his former colleagues on advancing the Governor’s transportation policy agenda. He brings unique experience to this position, having served as the Senate Chair of the Transportation Committee in the legislature for the past two years, and in the Senate since 2011.
In order to fill this vacancy, a special election will be held in Stamford in the coming weeks. A House member of the Stamford delegation is a likely choice to succeed Senator Leone, and State Representative Pat Billie Miller (D-Stamford) seems to be the preferred candidate and has the backing of the Stamford Democratic Party. If she is elected to the Senate, another special election will be needed to fill her vacancy in the House. Representative Miller currently serves in a key leadership position on the Finance committee, as the Bonding Sub-Committee chair. Representative Miller has served in the House since 2009.
Leadership Transition of Connecticut’s Kid Governor
This week, you likely saw that Governor Ned Lamont addressed the General Assembly in a virtual setting with his State of the State Address. Annually, this speech marks the beginning of a new session and begins to shed light on his administration’s priorities for the legislative session.
You may not have seen, however, that Connecticut’s Kid Governor Myra Stanfield is preparing for her last few days in office, and on January 22, 2021 a new Kid Governor, Reese Naughton, will take over in this position.
Each year, Connecticut’s Kid Governor is elected by fifth-graders across the state as part of a civics program teaching students about state government, the Office of the Governor, and much more. Thanks to Connecticut’s Old State House, you can join both Myra and Reese on Tuesday, January 12, at 7 pm on Facebook Live to hear the outgoing Kid Governor reflect on her past year in office and to learn more about the incoming Kid Governor’s priorities.
January 8, 1825: Eli Whitney's Best Idea Comes Home

Eli Whitney, who died today in 1825, is best known for his invention of the cotton gin. But Whitney also left a lasting legacy on American manufacturing and society through his creation of the first “manufacturing community” in America, the factory village in southeast Hamden still known as Whitneyville. Whitney’s manufactory was designed not to make cotton gins, but weapons for the federal government. In the process of creating a model worker’s community, Whitney also revolutionized American manufacturing with his idea of the “Uniformity Method.”

With tensions rising in the late 1700s in the wake of the XYZ Affair (a diplomatic scandal involving the U.S. and France), the federal government sought private contractors to help arm the nation.

At the time, producing firearms was the province of skilled gunsmiths. These craftsmen’s production methods could be personal and idiosyncratic, making gun production a fiddly and time-consuming business. Whitney believed that by using water-powered machinery and standardizing manufacture to involve only simple tasks and uniform parts, he could train a small group of unskilled workers to produce weapons that were cheaper, more reliable, and easier to repair. On the strength of that belief and a “shake-the-club-tie” connection to fellow Yale graduate and Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Whitney secured a contract on June 14, 1798 to provide 10,000 muskets to the U.S. government using the novel approach he called the “Uniformity Method.”

This article was provided by the Office of the State Historian, and CT Humanities. Click here to view the full article.
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