Erin Stewart Makes a Case for a Fifth Term as New Britain’s Mayor

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Incumbent Erin Stewart is running for a fifth term as mayor of New Britain this November. First elected in 2013, Stewart will become the longest continuously serving mayor in New Britain’s history if she wins reelection this fall. Democrats including State Rep. Bobby Sanchez, activist Alicia Hernandez Strong, and community leader Veronica DeLandro, are all running to challenge her for the seat.  In 2019, Stewart won handily, with 6,013 votes compared to Democrat Chris Porcher’s 3,592 votes and Independent Devione Tanksley’s 187 votes. The Connecticut Examiner spoke with Stewart about the city’s response to the pandemic, as well as how

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Parties Announce Candidates for Election in Clinton

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CLINTON — The Democratic, Republican, and Green Parties have officially announced their municipal slates for this fall’s local elections, led by nominees for three open Town Council seats.  The slates are led by candidates for open Town Council seats, for which Democrats endorsed Chris Passante, Paul Gebauer, and Carrie Allen. Republicans put up Tom Hollinger, and the Green Party nominated Eric Bergman. Bergman said he was “happy with the slate,” and glad to have the opportunity to afford voters “some additional options beyond a Democrat or Republican.”  Republican Town Committee Chair James Staunton called it “the RTC’s best slate in

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Scott Jezek Makes a Case for East Haddam First Selectman

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Scott Jezek, an East-Haddam-based attorney, is the Democratic candidate for first selectman, competing against State Rep. Irene Haines, the Republican candidate, who currently represents Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton at the State Capitol. The Connecticut Examiner sat down with Jezek to talk about what inspired his run, what differentiates him from his opponent, and what his priorities would be in office.  This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  What inspired your run for first selectman?  I’m a lifelong East Haddam resident. I have a long history with the East Haddam Lions Club, a service organization I’ve been a

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East Lyme Republicans Strike Bipartisan Tone with Election Slate

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EAST LYME — The Republican Town Committee endorsed its slate of candidates for this fall’s elections on Monday night.  “I’m incredibly excited by the level of enthusiasm and energy that was in the room tonight for our East Lyme Republican caucus,” said John Kleinhans, chair of the East Lyme Republican Town Committee. “We have a slate of bipartisan community leaders led by Kevin Seery who will put people over politics and continue to work for the betterment of our town.” In a surprise, Candice Carlson, who ran last election as a Democrat, and Alisha Bradley who ran as a Democrat

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Even With Route 82 Closed, Customers Flock to Salem Valley Farms Ice Cream

In order to repair bridges over East Branch Eight Mile River and Swamp Brook, the state has closed part of Route 82 in Salem from July 19 until at least September 21, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The project, which was awarded to the Brunalli Construction Company for more than $5 million last year, is scheduled to finish on November 7.  The two bridges, both built in 1924, are located a mere 200 feet apart, and the closure affects just a quarter mile of highway. Still, it has already had an impact on at least one small business:

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Businesses Scramble to Meet Demand as Tourists Flock to Mystic

After more than a year of social distancing, capacity limits and mask mandates as Connecticut fought COVID-19, Mystic’s small business owners were ready for a summer that got back to normal. Instead, they face yet another abnormal summer – but not in a bad way.  Owners of restaurants and shops in the coastal village report far more visitors than in a normal tourist season, which they perceive to be a result of pent-up desire for travel and activities after a year inside.  In January, just two percent of Connecticut residents had received a dose of the vaccine. By April, nearly

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Alberti Leads Democratic Slate in East Lyme

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The East Lyme Democratic Party released their municipal slate of candidates for the 2021 November elections on Thursday evening, after considering more than a dozen candidates and dealing with two contested seats.  First Selectman: Camille Alberti Board of Selectmen: Ann Cicchiello, Terence P. Donovan, Daniel Cunningham Tax Collector: Christine Dixon Zoning: Debbie Jett-Harris, Jay Ginsberg (alternate) Planning: Jason Deeble, Spencer Clapp (alternate) Board of Ed: Nickie DeLucco Padilla, Bill Derry, Laura Greenstein Board of Finance: Gary Upton Town Clerk: Karen Galbo (cross endorsed) Board of Assessment Appeals: Gary Cicchiello Town Treasurer: Mike Bekech Four candidates ran for the three Board

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Irene Haines on Running for East Haddam First Selectman

Irene Haines, who currently represents Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton in the state legislature, has announced that she is also running this fall on the Republican ticket for East Haddam first selectman. If elected, Haines said she would serve in both capacities. In her first campaign for the General Assembly, Haines defeated Democrat Teresa Govert with 52 percent of the vote in 2018, and was reelected last November with 56 percent of the vote, compared to Democrat Judd Melon’s 42 percent. Haines previously ran for town first selectman in 2017.  Haines also works as an insurance agent, serves as a

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CT Examiner Talks Congressional Run with George Logan

George Logan is a former state legislator who represented Ansonia in the Connecticut State Senate from January 2017 through January 2021. Logan lost to his Democratic opponent, now-Senator Jorge Cabrera, by just 77 votes last November.  Logan is now exploring a run for Connecticut’s fifth Congressional seat, currently occupied by Representative Jahana Hayes, a Democrat elected in 2018. Hayes won reelection in 2020 with 55.9 percent of the vote. Logan currently serves as director of community relations at Aquarion Water Company, where he has worked for nearly 30 years.  What lessons did you learn from your reelection loss in November? 

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Murphy and Blumenthal Press for Funding, New High-Speed Rail Corridors

Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal both said they would support new rail corridors through Connecticut, at a press conference with Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti at the Windsor train station on Friday. The public appearance was in support of a $117 billion plan released on Thursday, called Connect NEC 2035, that would move forward the first phase of the Federal Railroad Administration’s NEC Future plan for high-speed and commuter rail along the Northeast Corridor from Washington, DC to Boston. “I don’t think there was a lot of work put into the magic marker drawing that caused a lot of

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Protesters Gather at State Capitol as Lamont Seeks Extended Emergency Order

Connecticut legislators will convene a special session on Wednesday to address an extension of Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency powers. Connecticut and Rhode Island are the only states in the Northeast that have yet to lift emergency orders, while 27 states still have emergency declarations in place. Lamont has requested an extension of public health and civil preparedness emergencies until September 30. Lamont first declared a state of emergency in respond to the pandemic on March 10, 2020. The order allows the governor sweeping powers to address COVID-19, and some of those orders — like relaxing rules for outdoor dining and

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Connecticut’s Employers Navigate State and Federal Laws for Marijuana Use

Connecticut employers concerned about the use of legal marijuana on the job are faced with a dilemma given the limits of current drug testing technology and federal requirements, employment lawyers say.  “It’s not like a test for alcohol where you can immediately figure out someone’s current level of THC,” said John Blair, associate counsel with the Connecticut Business Industry Association. “I don’t think a test like that exists.”  Patrick McHale, an employment lawyer in Hartford, said the lack of a test that allows employers to determine whether a worker is under the influence of marijuana at the moment of testing

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Courtney Talks Electric Boat, Jobs, Marijuana

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Connecticut’s recreational marijuana law went into effect on July 1, meaning that residents can now consume marijuana without fear of legal repercussions. Still, consumption of the drug is not consequence-free – particularly for employees of federal defense contractors, as the drug is still illegal at the federal level. Concerns around attracting workers came up repeatedly during debate over the bill in the legislature, and State Rep. Joe de la Cruz, D-Groton, said his opposition to legalization was mainly due to fears for Electric Boat.  Connecticut Examiner caught up with Congressman Joe Courtney to get his thoughts on what the new law

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Recreational Marijuana Law will Phase in Funding of Social Equity and Substance Abuse Programs

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Connecticut’s new recreational marijuana law went into effect July 1, 2021, and over the next five years, the Office of Fiscal Analysis anticipates that the state will see nearly $75 million in new revenue due to the regulation and taxation of the recreational marijuana market.  Lawmakers spent the first half of the year debating the bill, and many of the points of tension  centered on where that money would go. In Gov. Ned Lamont’s original proposal, half of that revenue would go towards low-income communities in the state, and the other half would have funded the payment in lieu of

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Six Cones, Two Flavors: Taste-testing Ice Cream around South-central Connecticut

On one of the hottest June days in the state’s history, CT Examiner visited six of south-central Connecticut’s most celebrated homemade ice cream shops to beat the heat.  Walnut Beach Creamery, Milford  Steps from the sandy Walnut Beach in Milford, the single-batch Walnut Beach Creamery serves creative, refreshing flavors perfect for cooling down after a day relaxing by the sea. From baklava, ginger, and pistachio to honey vanilla and thai rice pudding, the shop thinks out of the box for savory, subtle flavors that somehow just work.  We ordered a waffle cone with two flavors: lavender and fig, and berry

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New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker Makes His Case for a Second Term

Incumbent New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker is running for reelection this November, facing a primary challenge from Karen DuBois Walton, executive director of New Haven’s public housing authority. Elicker defeated three-term incumbent Toni Harp to become mayor in 2019. Connecticut Examiner spoke with Elicker about his platform for improving public safety in New Haven, as well as his platform on education, PILOT, and more.  This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  What have you been doing to improve public safety in New Haven?  We’re seeing a significant uptick in violence around the nation, and New Haven is unfortunately

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Porter on the ‘Real Reason’ Lamont Threatened Marijuana Veto

As the state senate was voting to legalize marijuana, Paul Mounds, Gov. Ned Lamont’s chief of staff, released a statement that threatened to upend the entire process. Mounds made clear that the governor would veto the marijuana bill as written, unless an amendment added that day was removed.  The amendment, introduced by State Sen. Winfield, D-New Haven, would have prioritized people previously convicted of marijuana-related crimes and their immediate family members for  licenses to sell marijuana. But according to the statement, Lamont opposed letting anyone previously convicted of marijuana-related crimes, “regardless of financial means,” qualify for a special social equity

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Consider the Shrimp Roll

One month after Gov. Ned Lamont eliminated nearly all pandemic-related restrictions on businesses, two thirds of Connecticut residents are at least partially vaccinated and COVID cases are lower than ever. Demand for dining out, restaurant owners say, is higher than ever. Warm weather and the beginning of a return to normalcy should mean that Connecticut’s restaurants are having an incredible summer. But restaurant owners are at a breaking point.  Margaret Colangelo, owner of the Po Cafe in Litchfield County, said she’s broken down in tears multiple times talking to customers, fielding their complaints about long wait times and missing menu

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Michael DiGiovancarlo Explains His ‘No’ Vote on Legalized Marijuana

Last Thursday, the state legislature passed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana, sending the proposal to the desk of Gov. Ned Lamont, who has said he will sign it into law on Tuesday. Effective July 1, possession of limited amounts of marijuana will be legal for people aged 21 and over, and legal sales of the drug are expected to begin next summer. The House passed the legislation 76-62, with one Republican voting in support, and 12 Democrats opposing.  One of those 12 Democrats is State Rep. Michael DiGiovancarlo of Waterbury, who defeated Republican incumbent Stephanie Cummings 52.9 percent to 47.1

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Joe de la Cruz Talks Marijuana, Jobs at Pratt & Whitney and Electric Boat

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Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill into law on Tuesday that legalizes recreational marijuana. Effective July 1, possession of limited amounts of marijuana will be legal for people aged 21 and over, and legal sales of the drug are expected to begin next summer. The House passed the legislation 76-62, with one Republican voting in support and 12 Democrats opposing. Ten Democrats and three Republicans were absent from the vote.  One of those Democrats was State Rep. Joe de la Cruz of Groton, who ran unopposed in 2020 and beat his Republican opponent handily in 2018. The Connecticut Examiner spoke

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Christine Goupil Weighs in on ‘No’ Vote to Legalizing Marijuana

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Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana into law on Tuesday, after the state legislature passed the legislation last week. Effective July 1, possession of limited amounts of marijuana will be legal for people aged 21 and over, and legal sales of the drug are expected to begin next summer. The House passed the legislation 76-62, with one Republican voting in support, and 12 Democrats opposing.  One of those 12 Democrats is State Rep. Christine Goupil of Clinton, who defeated Republican John Hall by just 274 votes last November. The district had previously been represented by Republican Jesse

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Peggy Lyons Makes Her Case for a Second Term

Madison First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons is running for a second term in the town’s top elected office, facing challenger Republican Bruce Wilson, a Republican and member of the Board of Selectmen. Lyons was elected first selectwoman in 2019, upsetting Republican Tom Banisch by a few hundred votes. Lyons sat down with the Connecticut Examiner to discuss her goals for a second term.  This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  What have you’ve learned from your time as First Selectwoman?  We have an incredible staff that is so dedicated to serving our community, and there is a huge support

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Bruce Wilson Makes His Case For Madison First Selectman

Madison Selectman Bruce Wilson is challenging Democratic incumbent Peggy Lyons for Madison First Selectman. Wilson, a Republican, seeks the town’s top elected job after years serving on the Madison Board of Selectmen and a previous stint on the Board of Education. Lyons was elected first selectwoman in 2019, upsetting Republican Tom Banisch by a few hundred votes. Wilson sat down with the Connecticut Examiner to discuss what inspired him to join the race.  This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  What are some of the biggest issues facing Madison right now?  We don’t seem to get a lot

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Cook Weighs in On ‘Nay’ to Marijuana Bill

Last Thursday, the state legislature passed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana, sending the proposal to the desk of Gov. Ned Lamont, who has said he will sign it into law on Tuesday. Effective July 1, possession of limited amounts of marijuana will be legal for people aged 21 and over, and legal sales of the drug are expected to begin next summer. The House passed the legislation 76-62, with one Republican voting in support, and 12 Democrats opposing.  One of those 12 Democrats is State Rep. Michelle Cook of Torrington, who beat Republican Molly Spino by just 304 votes last

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50 Years After War On Drugs Announced, Connecticut Votes to Legalize Marijuana

On June 17, 1971, then-President Richard Nixon spoke from the White House to declare that “America’s public enemy number one in the United States is drug abuse, and in order to fight and defeat this enemy, it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.”  Fifty years later, on June 17, 2021, the Connecticut state legislature passed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana, sending the proposal to the desk of Gov. Ned Lamont, who has said he will sign it.  During debate on the House floor Thursday morning, State Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, highlighted the date’s historical significance, and said

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House Members Debate Marijuana Before Expected Vote

Legislators debated recreational marijuana on the House floor for hours on Wednesday after a tumultuous week for the proposal.  The State Senate passed legalization in the final days of the regular session, but the House ran out of time to take up the bill before the session came to a close. The Senate passed the bill again on Tuesday to start the special session, but not without adding an amendment expanding eligibility for social equity licenses.  Gov. Ned Lamont, a proponent of marijuana legalization, said the amendment “opens the floodgates” for individuals to exploit the social equity licensing system, and

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Lamont Threatens Veto of Marijuana Bill

The State Senate opened the special session by passing recreational marijuana legislation on Tuesday evening, but as legislators cast their votes, Gov. Ned Lamont threatened to veto the version of the bill they were voting on.  Earlier in the day, legislators amended the marijuana bill to prioritize people previously convicted of cannabis possession applying for licenses to start legal recreational marijuana businesses.  Half of all recreational marijuana licenses have been set to go to “social equity applicants,” who were previously defined by their place of residence and income: applicants from low-income areas or areas with high unemployment, or individuals whose

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837-page Budget Bill Has Republicans Crying Foul

The State Senate was scheduled to convene a special session at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, but did not gavel in until 3:30 p.m. Just hours before, Democrats unveiled the 837-page implementer bill, a piece of legislation executing new programs and services funded in the budget that can also serve as a catch-all for unfinished legislative business.  While the budget itself passed with significant bipartisan support, Republicans expressed their opposition to the implementer bill, arguing that they will not have sufficient time to read the document before voting.  “The fact that they’re not in, speaks volumes to the problems with the

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DuBois-Walton Makes Her Case for New Haven Mayor

Karen DuBois-Walton is challenging incumbent New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker in the Democratic primary. She has focused much of her campaign on addressing a significant rise in incidents of homicide and assault with a deadly weapon after a decade of steadily declining crime in New Haven. DuBois-Walton is executive director of New Haven’s Housing Authority, and previously served as the city’s chief of staff and chief administrative officer under Mayor John DeStefano Jr. Connecticut Examiner spoke with DuBois-Walton about why public safety is at the core of her campaign platform, as well as how she differs from her opponent on

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Votes on Marijuana, Carbon Caps, Head to Overtime in Special Session

While this year’s legislative session came to a close on Wednesday night with the bipartisan passage of the state budget, lawmakers will be back in Hartford shortly for a special session to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana, along with other Democratic legislative priorities.  The Senate passed a bill on recreational marijuana before the close of session early Tuesday morning, but will be forced to vote again in special session, after Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, declined to call the bill for a vote in the House on Wednesday, after Republican leaders would not agree to limit debate on the legislation to

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