Advocacy Group Taps Ruben Rodriguez to Push for Hispanic Votes in Connecticut

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The Republican National Hispanic Assembly is launching a new state chapter in Connecticut.  The advocacy organization, which already has chapters in 19 states and in Puerto Rico, asked Waterbury Republican Ruben Rodriguez to lead its statewide effort in Connecticut. Rodriguez previously ran for the seat of the fifth Congressional district and for the Connecticut state legislature.  The assembly’s national treasurer, Santiago Avila said he reached out to Rodriguez about expanding into Connecticut because he saw potential to be more aggressive about courting the Hispanic vote in the state.  “Connecticut has a really big Hispanic base, but Republicans don’t pursue them,”

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Mike Madru Jumps into Ellington Race, Offers a Case for First Selectman

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Mike Madru is challenging Ellington First Selectwoman Lori Spielman. Madru entered the race just a few weeks ago after the original Democratic nominee, Charlotte Ward, stepped down due to what she described as a personal medical emergency.  Spielman has led Ellington for three terms, winning reelection most recently against Democratic challenger Peggy Busse in 2019, with more than 60 percent of the vote.  The Connecticut Examiner spoke with Madru, an insurance industry professional, about his campaign and priorities if elected. This interview has been edited for clarity. What led you to run for first selectman of Ellington?  The candidate supported

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State Rep. Hilda Santiago Discusses a Possible Bid for Secretary of the State

In June, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, a Democrat, announced that she would not be running for re-election, opening the door for a slew of candidates to express interest in the position. One of those is Democratic State Rep. Hilda Santiago, who announced the formation of an exploratory committee in late August. Santiago has represented Meriden in the General Assembly since 2012.  Three other possible Democratic candidates, State Sen. Matt Lesser of Middletown, Rep. Josh Elliott of Hamden, and New Haven Alderman Darryl Brackeen Jr., have also formed exploratory committees. A Republican has not served as Secretary of

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Mark Bettencourt Makes His Case for Norwich Mayor

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Norwich City Council President Pro Tempore Mark Bettencourt is running against incumbent Mayor Peter Nystrom, who is seeking a third term. In 2017, Nystrom was elected with 57 percent of the vote. Bettencourt, who lost to Nystrom in the 2009 Norwich mayoral race, has served on the City Council for a collective ten years.  The Connecticut Examiner spoke with Bettencourt about what inspired his run, and what policies he would prioritize if elected.  This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  What inspired you to run for Mayor of Norwich?  I lost election to the City Council six years

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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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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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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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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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Alberti Announces Her Second Run for First Selectman of East Lyme

EAST LYME — Democrat Camille Alberti, a member of town’s board of finance since 2013 and chair for two years, announced her second run for first selectman to an audience of about 25 people on Thursday evening.  She will compete against Republican Kevin Seery, who has served as a selectman since 2011 and as deputy first selectman since 2015. He previously served on the Board of Education for 14 years, including six years as board chair.  In 2019, Alberti was a late entrant to the race against First Selectman Mark Nickerson, replacing a candidate who needed to drop out. Nickerson

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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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Republicans Choose Party Veteran Ben Proto as State Chairman

NEW HAVEN — Connecticut Republicans elected Ben Proto, a veteran of GOP politics, as the new head of the state party on Tuesday night. Proto, 62, has a legal practice in Stratford specializing in business and real estate law. Proto led the campaign for Donald Trump in Connecticut, and earlier supported Steve Obsitnik’s campaign for governor in 2018. Proto was the state coordinator for John McCain’s presidential run in 2000. On Tuesday night, Proto beat Gary Byron, of Newington, who served as a state representative from 2015 to 2019 and is now a radio talk show host at WDRC-AM, as

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Caroline Simmons Makes Her Case for Mayor

State Rep. Caroline Simmons, D-Stamford, announced a primary challenge against incumbent Democrat David Martin in the Stamford mayoral election. Also competing for the seat, is independent candidate Bobby Valentine, a former Major League Baseball manager and player. What inspired you to run for Mayor of Stamford?  I love this city, and I want to make it work better for the people of Stamford. I believe we’re at a critical turning point right now. Amidst this pandemic, we can’t go back to the way things were.  So many people are struggling, and thousands are out of work. We’re facing challenges to

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Bobby Valentine Makes His Case for Mayor

Former Major League Baseball player and manager Bobby Valentine announced an independent run for mayor of his native Stamford last week, challenging incumbent Democrat David Martin and State Rep. Caroline Simmons, D-Stamford. Valentine owns a restaurant and sports academy in the city, and currently serves as athletic director at Sacred Heart University.  What inspired you to run for Mayor of Stamford?  I was inspired by the timing of my life. If I’m ever going to get into public service, which is one of the boxes I’ve always wanted to check, it’s now or it’s never. In the aftermath of the

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Latina Leaders in Connecticut Meet to Encourage Women of Color to Run for Local Office

Latina leaders in Connecticut are encouraging women of color to run for local office in order to represent the needs of their communities.  In a Zoom conversation hosted by Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz on Thursday afternoon, eight elected city councilwomen, representatives and alderwomen shared their experiences and their suggestions for getting into politics.  Many of these women faced similar obstacles in running for office — lack of funding, difficulty networking, and being branded as overly emotional or being told to “wait their turn.”  “The first thing that I would say to women that decide to run in, don’t read the

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