November 1, 2019
The latest from the folks across the street from the Capitol

From Paddi's Desk
by Paddi LeShane

Trick or treat....

As the Governor and first lady hosted their first Halloween trick or treaters at the Governor's residence last night, they took the opportunity to also promote the great cultural, sport and entertainment venues by hiding golden tickets into the UCONN Munson-made candy bars they handed out. Rumor had it they purchased a fog machine to add some drama up the walkway!

Many were wondering about the treats that might be in the soon to be revealed transportation package that the Republican caucuses got a first glimpse at earlier this week. From reports, the Governor came prepared not only to explain the proposal and defend it but to have a larger discussion on this topic so they can move forward with this and others they will face in the coming session.

Some elements leaking out demonstrate the real need and urgency of making this fix now. With cars getting greater gas mileage, the use of public transportation and the now common place transportation network providers like Lyft and Uber, folks just aren't driving as much. That means the funding mechanisms for the repair and maintenance of CT's highways and byways is shrinking. As the price of gas is much more elastic than in years past, and that too impacts the long-term planning needed to keep our hundreds of bridges and roads maintained safe and repaired. Add that to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection agency's Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) announcement at this week's Annual Energy Forum sponsored by Connecticut Power and Energy Society of a large initiative moving CT towards electric car transportation. The future isn't looking so good for the currently structured transportation fund.

There are skeptics for sure in the Republican caucus, but the one thing that was good about the Governor's presentation was that he didn't make it all about the transportation plan. He took it to a gubernatorial level and talked about the problem and tried to reframe the issues as one of policy, Connecticut's future, the importance of being able to move people, cars, goods, and products around and through the state.

Maybe the Governor was listening in to last week's lecture at Stanford University on reframing the issue to gain consensus. Who knows?

Hot Races: Election 2019
By Chelsea Neelon

Mayor Joe Ganim (D) vs. Marilyn Moore (D)
Mayor Joe Ganim defeated challenger State Senator Marilyn Moore in the September primary for the Democratic nomination after a late push of absentee ballots put him over the top. However, the saga didn't end there. Moore called for an investigation into possible voter fraud due to "questionable" absentee ballots. Hearst Connecticut Media did report widespread problems occurring with absentee ballots in the primary, which added fuel to the fire and eventually the State Election Enforcement Commission (SEEC) voted to open an investigation into the irregularities. But wait, there's more! Even if Moore didn't win the Democratic nomination, her Working Families Party endorsement, along with the proper amount of signatures collected, was enough to have her on the ballot in November. In a stunning turn of events, the Secretary of the State informed Moore's campaign that they had not collected the proper amount of signatures to be on the ballot, and thusly would not be listed on the November ballot. Moore has no other option than to push her campaign as a write-in candidate on Tuesday to become the city's next mayor.

New Haven
- Mayor Toni Harp (D) vs. Justin Elicker (D)
One of the other hottest mayoral races in the state was in New Haven, after former city alderman Justin Elicker was able to defeat incumbent Mayor Toni Harp 58%-42% in the September primary. The primary was heated and shortly after the loss of the Democratic nomination, Harp chose to suspend her campaign. Then in an odd turn of events, with only a few weeks left before the election, Harp chose to unsuspend her campaign. She did not reopen her campaign office or hire campaign staffers, and relied only on the funds from the political action committee she formed during the primary and volunteer help on the doors. While many believe Elicker is heavily favored on Tuesday, many are still focused on how everything shakes out in New Haven. 

East Haven
- "Big" Steve Tracy (R) vs. Joe Carfora (D)
- Down in East Haven, an open seat is looking to be filled after Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. (R) decided not to seek reelection. (Maturo Jr. previously served as Mayor for five terms from 1997-2007 and again from 2011-2019) It is important to note that earlier this year, State Representative James Albis (D) was pulled into the Lamont administration to work for DEEP, and in a special election, Joseph Zullo (R) won to replace Albis. This shows a Republican shift  in the town, and now Councilman "Big Steve" Tracey is looking to fill Maturo Jr.'s seat. Tracey will be taking on Democrat Councilman Joe Carfora in the highly contested race.  

- First Selectman Michael Tetreau (D) vs. Brenda Kupchick (R)
- State Representative Brenda Kupchick is looking to unseat after First Selectman Michael Tetreau after his almost eight years in office. While First Selectman Tetreau has remained pretty popular over the last three terms, a recent controversy regarding issues with an ongoing fill pile in Fairfield is swaying the race's momentum towards Kupchick. The state's Republican Party has gone on the offensive, blaming Tetreau for the contamination. The Fairfield Democratic Town Committee has called the Republican efforts "fear-mongering." Either way, a lot of eyes will be on Fairfield to see what happens on Tuesday.

- Jill Oberlander (D) vs. Fred Camillo (R)
- With First Selectman Peter Tesei (D) not seeking reelection, State Representative Fred Camillo (R) will be taking on Greenwich's Board of Estimate and Taxation Chair, Jill Oberlander (D) for the town's new CEO. Camillo has deep roots in Greenwich, as his family has lived in the town for four generations. He has also been involved in positions in the town's government prior to becoming a State Representative. While Oberlander is not a native of Greenwich, she has been active in the community and town government since she and her family moved there 13 years prior. While the first selectman's seat was previously held by a Democrat, Camillo's name recognition and history in Greenwich may be enough to put him over the edge.

- First Selectwoman  Vicki Tesoro (D) vs. Michael Herbst (R)

- An interesting race will be happening down in Trumbull, as First Selectman Vicki Tesoro is seeking her second term against Michael Herbst, father of Tim Herbst, former Trumbull First Selectman. After former First Selectman Tim Herbst (R) left office, Tesoro was able to successfully flip the seat and become the new town's new leader. Michael Herbst is a former member of the Town Council and a former teacher, coach and athletic director in the Trumbull school system. All eyes will be on Trumbull to see if Herbst will be following in his son's footsteps.


Did You Know?
This Week in CT History
October 29, 1784
The First Issue of the Country's "Oldest" Newspaper

For over two and a half centuries, the Courant has reported on every single major American historical event since the mid-eighteenth century, surviving ownership turnovers, economic panics and depressions, paper shortages, and even a libel lawsuit from Thomas Jefferson. 

The publication has also undergone a number of name changes, although the word "Courant" has always been a prominent part of the newspaper's masthead. The paper started producing daily editions in 1837, and first began publishing Sunday editions in 1913. The Courant celebrated its sestercentennial (i.e., its 250th anniversary) in 2014 with a year-long retrospective on its coverage of major events in Connecticut, national, and world history, proudly sporting the motto "Older than the nation."

Today, as the Hartford Courant, the newspaper enjoys a daily statewide circulation and, centuries later, is still published in the heart of Connecticut's capital city.
In This Issue:

by Ryan Bingham

Sustainable CT, a statewide initiative that inspires and supports communities in becoming more efficient, resilient and inclusive announced its "2019 Certified Towns" this week. Thirty-two municipalities met the high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments to qualify for the certification. A program that empowers municipalities to create high collective impact for current and future residents, Sustainable CT is managed under the leadership of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University. 

Coventry, Guilford, Mansfield, Middletown, New Haven, Simsbury, South Windsor, Vernon and Windham have achieved Silver Certification, the highest honor in the program.  Another twenty-three municipalities are being recognized with Bronze Certification: Ashford, Bethany, Bloomfield, Brookfield, Burlington, Cornwall, Darien, East Hartford, East Lyme, Essex, Groton, Manchester, New London, North Stonington, Norwich, Old Saybrook, Portland, Scotland, Waterford, West Haven, Weston, Wilton and Woodbury. Congratulations to those communities that were selected for their commitments to sustainability!

And as we all know, Election Day is fast approaching (this Tuesday) and there is a reason they call it "Silly Season!" Lots of craziness happens as we get closer and closer. For example, a Greenwich Police Captain has been placed on administrative leave for breaking "rules, regulations, or policies" by purchasing the signs, which first appeared Friday and read "Vote Republican - Vote Team Trump/Camillo" and "Make Greenwich Great Again." The signs were placed at various locations around town without the consent of local Republicans. These signs were not the only ones to cause controversy in a local race last week. On Tuesday, signs likening Democratic candidates in Farmington to sexually transmitted diseases appeared in several spots around town. Local Republican leaders condemned the signs, denying any involvement. It remains unknown who put up those signs. I think I can speak for a lot of local voters that we are excited to see the results on Tuesday come in and get the silliness behind us.

CT Agency Corner
Helping Combat the Opioid Epidemic
by Michael Johnson

This week a program called NarxCare was rolled out by the Department of Public Health (DPH), Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) that outlines a no-cost added feature to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP).
The added benefit for prescribers and pharmacies is a breakdown of "risk scores" for certain prescriptions that are given and also the inclusion of resources and data for other types of treatment that could be available for patients with certain conditions.
The PDMP is the system required by all prescribers to use for drugs classified as schedules two through four and in some case schedule five. Since the program's inception, the biggest area of attention has been opioids being logged into the system and providers monitoring if a patient has received opioids continuously from someone in the state.
According to the state, NarxCare is available at no cost to all eligible Connecticut healthcare prescribers and pharmacists accessing the CPMRS. DCP is funding the first year of NarxCare through the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-based Program (COAP) grants from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The second and third year of NarxCare will be funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Overdose Data to Action grant that was recently awarded to DPH.

For more information on this program please click here.

Upcoming Events

Senate Democrats 2020 Campaign Kick-Off Fundraiser
Wednesday, November 13
Red Rock Tavern
Hartford, CT

House Democrats Fundraiser
Wednesday, November 13
Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Ave,
Hartford, CT

Senate Republicans Fundraiser
Wednesday, December 11
Zandri's Stillwood Inn
Wallingford, CT