January 25, 2019
The latest from the folks across the street from the Capitol

From Paddi's Desk
by Paddi LeShane

Now a month into the 2019 session, I've been trying to think of something pithy to write about and/or to report on. UMMMMM...

This week has seen many committees with early deadlines approving committee bills, to then be drafted for public hearings to follow. A few of the more tech-oriented committees held informational forums, where members of the industries under their jurisdiction came to "educate" members about the "who, what, why and how" of their industry. You can tell there are a lot of first-term members by the questions they asked, while the veterans dug deeper into the details of the industry and/or hot topics.

The Lamont Administration continued to select and announce new appointments to his Cabinet - the all-important Department of Administrative Services will see an angel investor/entrepreneur/tech kind of guy in Josh Geballe to head the agency. Hearing his name, we recalled back in 1998 - a year after he graduated from Yale - when at the age of 23 he challenged three-term incumbent State Senator William Aniskovich for the 12th Senate District. Geballe started his political journey in 1993 when he volunteered to work on Congresswoman DeLauro's (D-New Haven) campaign and, in 1996, she hired him as her political director. Since then, he's become an MBA Yale graduate and a tech executive at IBM, located in Europe. He periodically lectures at Yale.

With all the focus on Governor Lamont's ability to move the economy forward, this could set the tone for the state. As they say, "If someone does not know how to manage his 'family' (aka the Administration), how can he take care of others (the state)?" That's using a bit of poetic license, I admit.

All eyes are on the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), and the big idea Gov. Lamont has promised. Many are thinking, "What's his big plan? Will he tap someone from business with a proven track record of growing a business? Could be." Does he follow the post-election working group for economic development and lean towards a state cheerleader, aka a marketing pro who can serve as the states Chief Marketing Officer? Many think that's too small for his promises. Will he look to someone from out of state with a proven track record? Some think so. Or does he bring those innovative intuitions to bear and do something outside of the box. I'm betting on our Governor to think big, as he bets all his "money" (aka legacy) on turning around CT's economy. In a big way, and fast!

As they say - go big or go home!!

The Legislative Scoop
by Mike Johnson
Despite the desperate themes of gridlock being displayed in Washington DC, CT legislators and Governor Lamont came together this week to vote in favor of a public-private partnership to help furloughed employees receive interest-free loans from Webster Bank.
The session day on Tuesday had some thoughtful debate and even entertained a vote on a Republican amendment in the House to not have the state be a primary holder backing the loans. The amendment ultimately didn't pass, and the bill successfully cleared both chambers in a matter of three hours. A very positive tone was set by the governor bringing this idea to the table and having legislators quickly organize an immediate session and approval of the program.
The only contentious topic ahead of Governor Lamont's budget address is that of the Stratford election committee that was convened by the legislature to help decide the fate of the contested election for State Representative of the 120th district in 2018. The committee was recommended by the court system in order to formulate a recommendation for acknowledging the mistakes made during the election and how to prevent another similar scenario from occurring again. Hopefully the same collegial atmosphere is extended in an attempt to find a solution in that committee as well.

Did You Know?
This Week in History
January 23th, 1957
Bridgeport Toy company Wham-O produces first Frisbees

On this day in 1957, machines at the Wham-O toy company roll out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs-now known to millions of fans all over the world as Frisbees.

The story of the Frisbee began in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where William Frisbie opened the Frisbie Pie Company in 1871. Students from nearby universities would throw the empty pie tins to each other, yelling "Frisbie!" as they let go. In 1948, Walter Frederick Morrison and his partner Warren Franscioni invented a plastic version of the disc called the "Flying Saucer" that could fly further and more accurately than the tin pie plates. After splitting with Franscioni, Morrison made an improved model in 1955 and sold it to the new toy company Wham-O as the "Pluto Platter"-an attempt to cash in on the public craze over space and Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).
Today, at least 60 manufacturers produce the flying discs-generally made out of plastic and measuring roughly 20-25 centimeters (8-10 inches) in diameter with a curved lip. The official Frisbee is owned by Mattel Toy Manufacturers, who bought the toy from Wham-O in 1994.
In This Issue:

CT Agency Corner
By Chelsea Neelon

Reported by the Republican American earlier this week, Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary is "planning to launch a new agency to pursue big-ticket regional economic development efforts on behalf of the city and its neighbors."

His goal is to bring together pieces of the city of Waterbury's current and former quasi-public development agencies, the Waterbury Development Corporation and the Naugatuck Valley Development Corporation. He hopes this agency would "align the city with the state officials' growing preference for regional initiatives and shared services."

Important details regarding the proposed idea have not yet been hammered out, in terms of functioning, funding and which municipalities would be included in the agency. One point O'Leary did make is that the development of the agency would not come at a cost to city taxpayers.

As the idea of regionalism is thrown about more frequently each year, it will be interesting to see if this idea came come to fruition and if other municipalities will follow suit.

by Ryan Bingham

We've got some big local political battles in CT's cities on the horizon as the municipal elections will be held in November. 
Hartford is in the news this week with a challenge mounting against incumbent Mayor Luke Bronin. Bronin kicked off his re-election campaign with months to go before the Democratic nominating convention in July, and he will have a widening field of possible challengers.
So far, three other Democrats have filed paperwork with the Hartford city clerk to run for mayor. Craig Stallings, the chairman of the Hartford School Board is the most recent to file paperwork. Another is J. Stan McCauley, who owns and operates a local independent TV station that films Hartford municipal meetings and creates original programming has filed paperwork. The third possible challenger is Aaron Lewis, who founded a literacy and language institute in Hartford and kicked off his campaign last weekend.
The names of two Democratic state legislators also have surfaced: Sen. Douglas McCrory and Rep. Brandon McGee Jr. All of these challengers and potential challengers still have many months to go before the nominating convention and the subsequent primary. This will definitely make for an interesting municipal election to watch this year!

2019 Behind the Scenes
by Chelsea Neelon

Session is back in action and so are our "behind the scenes" interviews with members of CT's General Assembly!

This week, we featured Representative John Elliott who represents the 88th House District.

What are some of your legislative priorities for the session?
- The priorities are the legalization of cannabis, raising the minimum wage to $15, and enacting paid family and medical leave. Apart from that, I'm very interested in restoring voting rights to all people, the creation of a state bank, and providing  gigabit internet speeds to all CT residents.
What is some legislation that you are proud to have had a part in getting passed?
- I'm proud of those first three.
Last question! What's your favorite hobby?
I'm a HUGE board game nerd. Been playing Pandemic Legacy recently. But Gloomhaven has taken up a weekly Sunday night spot with my board games group (of which Representative Phipps is a "member.")