May 5, 2016

State Senator Art Linares Voted “No” on New “Gun Violence Prevention” Legislation

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares voted “no” on the recently enacted, new Connecticut state law, entitled, “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.” Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy signed the bill into law on April 4.

In explaining his “no” vote the Senator said in a written statement, “Having witnessed the emotional accounts of parents, teachers and citizens after the Newtown tragedy, I am more committed than ever to help create a safer Connecticut.”

He continued, “After much consideration and talking with many residents of the 33rd district, I decided to vote no on the bill. While I support some of the individual elements such as criminal background checks and discontinuing the early release program for violent felons, I concluded that [the bill] did not correctly address the most important issues of safe neighborhoods, school security, and most importantly, mental health.”

Following three more paragraphs of explaining the reasons for his “no” vote, the Senator concluded, “Now that [the bill] has passed, I will continue moving forward, working with our school superintendents to address school safety issues, with our mental health experts to get access to needed resources, and with gun owners to help them understand the new regulations.”

Sen. Linares represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

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Sen. Linares Welcomes Essex Steam Train & Valley Railroad Officials to Capitol

Sen. Art Linares (center) welcomed FVRR Treasurer Bob Wuchert (left) and Essex Steam Train & Riverboat President Bob Bell.

Sen. Art Linares (center) welcomed FVRR Treasurer Bob Wuchert (left) and Essex Steam Train & Riverboat President Bob Bell.

On March 20, 22 volunteer organizations representing Connecticut state parks and tourist sites visited the State Capitol.   Among the groups was the Essex-based Friends of Valley Railroad (FVRR), a not-for-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the awareness, appreciation and historic preservation of railroads through education and participation.  For more details see www.friendsvrr.org ,  www.essexsteamtrain.com , and www.senatorlinares.com .

Sen. Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook. He can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov.

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Sen. Art Linares to Hear from Chester Taxpayers March 18

Sen. Art Linares (right) talks with a taxpayer during a Colchester town meeting.  Sen. Linares will hold a Town Hall Meeting at the Chester Elementary School auditorium from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Sen. Art Linares (right) talks with a taxpayer during a Colchester town meeting. Sen. Linares will hold a Town Hall Meeting at the Chester Elementary School auditorium from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on March 18

On Monday, March 18, Sen. Art Linares will hold a Town Hall Meeting at the Chester Elementary School auditorium from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Sen. Linares will take questions from taxpayers and discuss the state budget and efforts to make Connecticut more business-friendly.

Sen. Linares is co-sponsoring several pro-business measures, including a bill to eliminate the business entity tax and a bill which provides incentives for college and technical school graduates to establish a new business in the state.

“I look forward to talking with Chester taxpayers,” Linares said. “I’ve held similar town hall meetings in Deep River, Colchester, Essex, and Portland and I have found these discussions to be very helpful and informative.  I take your ideas and concerns and bring them with me to the State Capitol.  The taxpayers are my customers, so come out on March 18 with any questions you have.”

Those who cannot attend can contact Linares at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov or at (800) 842 1421. On the web: www.senatorlinares.com .

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Sen. Linares, Lyme, Deep River Leaders to Fight Property Tax Hikes

LinaresMar4COST

Sen. Art Linares, Lyme First Selectman and COST Board Member Ralph Eno, Deep River First Selectman and COST President Richard Smith, and Rep. Phil Miller.

At a March 4 press conference at the State Capitol complex, the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST) voiced opposition to the governor’s car tax plan.

Mayors and first selectmen discussed how the plan would cause municipalities to lose millions of dollars in tax revenue and be forced to make up for that loss in other ways, namely through increased local property taxes.

Sen. Art Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) was among those supporting the town leaders at the press conference.  “No one likes paying the car tax and we’d all like to see it eliminated,” Sen. Linares said.  “But the plan that is before the state legislature would lead to higher property taxes for everyone.  The bottom line is that we simply can’t afford higher taxes.  By working together and speaking with one voice, we can put this car tax plan in the breakdown lane.”

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Rep. Miller Honored at Heart Health Awareness Month Forum

State Representative Phil Miller

State Representative Phil Miller

Representative Philip Miller (D-Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam) was recognized by Lily’s Kids, Inc. and presented a certificate of appreciation for his work on promoting children’s health and heart health awareness. Rep. Miller was joined by Lily Gagliardi, BA – Founder and C.E.O.  and Amy D. Gagliardi, MA, IBCLC, RLC, Chief Operating Officer for Lily’s Kids Inc.

“How to live a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things we can teach our children. I am honored to be presented an award by Lily’s Kids and am proud of the work they are doing to promote good habits, heart health, and eating natural local food,” Rep. Miller said.

Lily’s Kids Inc. is a Non-profit Organization for Children is committed to ensuring that all children live healthy, productive lives.  We believe it is the right of all children to have a healthy start in life.  We support Maternal and Child Health initiatives and evidence based interventions and are especially focused on the prevention and treatment of heart conditions in children. For more information please visit: Lilyskidsinc.org

Heart Yourself engages the youth to learn about healthy lifestyle choices including healthy eating, exercise, and not smoking to help prevent heart disease. Through a combination of age appropriate hands on discussions and activities, children and young adults are exposed to fun and creative ways to keep their hearts healthy. This program was selected for us to present in Washington, DC at the 2012 National Health Promotion Summit in April. Heart Yourself has been brought to all ages from elementary school through college, it is now available for toddler and caregiver groups.

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Sen. Art Linares Tours Chester Firm AeroCision

Sen. Art Linares (left) listens to AeroCision CEO Andrew Gibson during a Feb. 27 tour of the Chester-based manufacturer.

Sen. Art Linares (left) listens to AeroCision CEO Andrew Gibson during a Feb. 27 tour of the Chester-based manufacturer.

Sen. Art Linares on Feb. 27 toured Chester-based manufacturer AeroCision with CEO Andrew Gibson.  Sen. Linares, who serves on the legislature’s Commerce Committee and is a member of the bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus, met with company employees and learned about AeroCision’s operations during the hour-long visit.

AeroCision CEO Andrew Gibson (center left) and Sen. Art Linares (center right) chat with AeroCision employees during Linares’ Feb. 27 tour of the Chester-based manufacturer.

AeroCision CEO Andrew Gibson (center left) and Sen. Art Linares (center right) chat with AeroCision employees during Linares’ Feb. 27 tour of the Chester-based manufacturer. 

AeroCision (www.aerocision.com) makes and assembles complex aerospace parts involving exotic metals and sophisticated processes. The company has built a reputation for having the best customer service culture in the business, and its employees are known for their superior engineering and machining skills.

“I am doing my very best at the State Capitol to improve our state’s business environment so that small manufacturers like AeroCision can grow and retain jobs,” Sen. Linares said.  “It was great to meet AeroCision’s talented employees and to hear directly from Andrew Gibson.  When companies like AeroCision succeed, our whole region benefits from that success.  As a legislator, I aim to be a voice in Hartford for businesses like AeroCision.”

Sen. Linares plans to reach out to high schools and vocational-technical schools throughout the area to raise awareness about the rewards of choosing manufacturing careers.  He has proposed a variety of pro-business legislation, including the elimination of the state’s business entity tax.

Sen. Linares (www.senatorlinares.com) can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov or at (800) 842 1421. He represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

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Sen. Art Linares Meets With Deep River Taxpayers

Sen. Art Linares (center) speaks with a taxpayers at his Feb. 20 Town Hall Meeting in Deep River.  Sen. Linares’ next Town Hall Meeting will be Tuesday Feb. 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Portland Senior Center, 7 Waverly Ave.

Sen. Art Linares (center) speaks with a taxpayers at his Feb. 20 Town Hall Meeting in Deep River. Sen. Linares’ next Town Hall Meeting will be Tuesday Feb. 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Portland Senior Center, 7 Waverly Ave.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, State Sen. Art Linares held a 90-minute Town Hall Meeting at Deep River Town Hall.

The meeting, which was attended by about 20 taxpayers, allowed area residents to question Sen. Linares about the state budget and discuss his efforts to make Connecticut more business-friendly.

“We had an excellent discussion, and I thank Deep River taxpayers for stopping by,” Sen. Linares said.  “For those who could not attend, feel free to contact me with any questions you have about taxes, spending, or any topics you wish to discuss.  I can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov or at 800 842 1421.”

Residents may sign up for Sen. Linares’ State Capitol e-alerts at www.senatorlinares.com .  His next Town Hall Meeting will be Tuesday Feb. 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Portland Senior Center, 7 Waverly Ave.

Sen. Linares represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

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Linares – Working to Grow Latino Businesses

State Sen. Art Linares (left) at the State Capitol complex with former Hartford State Rep. Art Feltman (center) and Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) Executive Director Julio Mendoza (at right)

State Sen. Art Linares (left) at the State Capitol complex with former Hartford State Rep. Art Feltman (center) and Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) Executive Director Julio Mendoza (at right)

State Sen. Art Linares on Feb. 4 met at the State Capitol complex with former Hartford State Rep. Art Feltman  and Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) Executive Director Julio Mendoza to discuss policies which can help Connecticut small businesses grow jobs.

Sen. Linares is trying to make Connecticut more business-friendly by eliminating the state’s business entity tax, which is currently paid by more than 118,000 Connecticut businesses.

The Spanish American Merchants Association (www.samact.org), is a Connecticut non-profit organization created to assist business people, in particular Latinos, to acquire a better understanding of economic principles. The organization seeks to promote business expansion, job creation, economic growth, and new entrepreneurship. The group now boasts the membership of more than 500 Hispanic business owners and organizations statewide.

Sen. Linares  (www.senatorlinares.com) can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov or at 800 842 1421.  He represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

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Sen. Art Linares Attends Middlesex County Chamber Gathering

LinaresJan18mdlsxcmbr

Sen. Art Linares (right) listens to the concerns of an area business owner during the Jan. 18 Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast.

Sen. Linares, who serves on the Commerce and Banks Committees in the state legislature, is proposing a host of pro-business initiatives, including the elimination of the state’s business entity tax.  Sen. Linares, who co-founded a renewable energy company based in Middletown when he was 19 years old, said he hopes he will gain support for his proposal from legislators on both sides of the political aisle as well as from business owners in his district.

Sen. Linares (www.senatorlinares.com ) represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook. He can be reached at Art.Linares@cga.ct.gov or at 800 842 1421.

 

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Stae Senator Art Linares Begins Work at State Capitol

LinaresJan9oath

Sen. Art Linares takes the oath of office on the first day of the 2013 session of the Connecticut General Assembly. The 24 year old Westbrook resident represents the 33rd Senate District, which encompasses Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook. Linares has been named Ranking Member of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Banks Committee and Ranking Member of the Select Committee on Children. Linares will also serve on the Commerce and Education Committees. His website iswww.senatorlinares.com and he can be reached at 800 842 1421.

View video of Sen. Art Linares’ address during opening day of the Connecticut General Assembly’s 2013 Legislative Session at this link:

http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/2013/01/sen-linares-introduces-his-family-during-opening-day-of-session-video/

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Democrats Carry Chester, Deep River and Essex Despite Senate Loss for Crawford

AREAWIDE— Led by the Obama/Biden presidential ticket, Democrats carried all races on the ballot Tuesday in Chester, Deep River, and Essex, despite narrow margins in the 33rd Senate District race that contributed to the defeat of Democratic nominee Jim Crawford.

Crawford, a former teacher and state representative from Westbrook, lost to Republican nominee Art Linares Jr., a 24 year-old businessman and former U.S. Senate intern, in a race where Green Party nominee Melissa Schlag pulled nearly 10 percent of the total vote. Linares, also a Westbrook resident, carried seven of the 12 district towns, including Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme, and portions of the district in Old Saybrook. Crawford carried Chester, Deep River, Essex, Portland, and Westbrook.

The unofficial final result, including Colchester numbers that were not available Tuesday night, are Linares- 26,896, Crawford- 21,220, and Schlag- 4,316. Crawford carried Essex by only a single vote, 1,750 for Linares to 1,749 for Crawford, with 243 votes for Schlag. The vote in Chester was Linares- 795, Crawford-976, and Schlag-229. In Deep River, it was Linares-1,052, Crawford-1,079, and Schlag-195.

Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller carried the three area towns on his way to winning a full term in the 36th House District over Republican Vince Pacileo. Miller, a former four-term first selectman of Essex, had 2,210 votes in Essex to 1,588 for Pacileo, also a former town selectman. The Chester result was 1,315 for Miller to 676 for Pacileo. In Deep River, it was 1,419 for Miller to 894 for Pacileo. The total result was 7,105 for Miller to 5,352 for Pacileo, with Pacileo carrying Haddam.

In the presidential results, Democrats Obama/Biden carried Essex, with 2,230 votes for Obama/Biden to 1,701 votes for Republicans Romney/Ryan. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson had 29 votes. In Chester, it was Obama/Biden-1,380, Romney/Ryan-707, and 16 votes for Johnson. In Deep River, it was Obama/Biden-1,479, Romney/Ryan-932 and 16 votes for Johnson.

Democrat Chris Murphy carried the three towns in the U.S. Senate race. for Essex, Murphy-2,060, Republican Linda McMahon-1,650 and Libertarian Paul Passarelli-94. For Chester, Murphy-1,270, McMahon-711, and Passarelli-53. For Deep River, Murphy-1,354, McMahon-984, and Passarelli-63.

Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney carried the three towns to win a fourth term in the 2nd Congressional District. In Essex, it was Courtney-2,418 votes to 1,293 votes for Republican challenger Paul Formica. In Chester, Courtney-1,481, Formica-481. In Deep River, it was Courtney-1,629, Formica-658. Green Party candidatre Colin Benett had 38 votes in Essex, 45 in Chester, and 43 in Deep River. Libertarian Roger Reale had 49 votes in Essex, 18 in Chester, and 25 in Deep River.

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State Representative Phil Miller Wins a Full Term; Saddened by Running Mate’s Loss

State Representative Phil Miller smiles wearily at his victory celebration on Election Night at the Griswold Inn in Essex

Although State Representative Phil Miller won his race by a comfortable margin, the fact that his running mate for State Senator, Jim Crawford, lost, cast a pall over his own victory. In beating his Republican opponent, Vin Pacileo, Miller won with a comfortable margin of over 1,700 votes.

Early totals had Miller receiving 7,083 votes to Pacileo’s 5,344 votes. In his 36th House district race Miller carried the towns of Essex, Deep River and Chester. However, he lost Haddam to his Republican opponent.

Looking ahead Miller said that among other environmental issues, he would work to clean up existing pollution sites in the state. Miller is presently the Vice Chair of the House’s Environmental Committee. He said that at the next session he might attain the post as Chair of the committee.

Miller also said that he had no regrets about his sending out a letter to constituents during the campaign, pointing out that in the 33rd district State Senate race that a vote for Green Party candidate Melissa Schlag could lead to the election of the Republican candidate.   This is of course exactly what happened.

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Republican Art Linares Wins 33rd Senate District Race

AREAWIDE— Republican Art Linares Jr. of Westbrook was elected as the new state senator for the 33rd District Tuesday, defeating the Democratic nominee, State Rep.Jim Crawford of Westbrook, in a race where Green Party nominee Melissa Schlag of Haddam garnered more than 10 percent of the total vote.

Linares, who succeeds ten-term Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook in the 12-town district, becomes the first Republican to hold the seat since 1992, and at age 24, one of the youngest state senators in Connecticut history. Linares carried only half of the district towns, but ran up wide margins in the northern towns of the district to outpoll Crawford by about 2,000 votes.  A preliminary total showed Linares with 20,236 votes to 18,153 for Crawford, with Schlag pulling nearly 4,000 votes.

Linares carried Clinton, Colchester ,East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Lyme and the sections of Old Saybrook in the district. Crawford carried Westbrook, the home town for both he and Linares, Chester, Deep River, Essex and Portland. But the Democrat’s margins were narrow in some towns, less than 50 votes in both Deep River and Essex. Schlag polled more than 1,000 votes in her hometown of Haddam.

The results in the three Region 4 towns include Chester- 975 for Crawford, 793 for Linares, and 228 for Schlag. In Deep River, it was 1,073 for Crawford, 1,049 for Linares, and 195 for Schlag. In Essex it was 1,762 for Crawford, 1,754 for Linares, and 243 for Schlag.

The mood was quiet among supporters at Crawford’s gathering at the Griswold Inn in Essex. The candidate remained sequestered in a side room with family members and his closest supporters as results from the four towns were phoned in. By 9:30 p.m. it became clear that Crawford was trailing. Daily and her husband, Jim, were also on hand with the group of supporters.

Crawford later told supporters he was more disappointed for them than for himself. “This did not turn out the way we hoped it would,” he said, adding “the kid worked hard and made it happen. We did the best we could, still it has been a hell of a lot of fun.”

There was excitement at the Linares gathering at the Water’s Edge in Westbrook, with more than 100 supporters cheering as Linares arrived to claim victory around 10:15 p.m. Linares hugged two key supporters who are both former state representatives for the 35th House District that has been represented for the last two years by Crawford, Republican Sidney Holbrook and Democrat Robert Landino. Holbrook held the House seat from 1982 to 1995, and was succeeded by Landino, who held the seat from 1995 to 2000.

Linares, who was a student in Crawford’s social studies class at Westbrook Middle School, praised his former teacher as “an honest and decent man.” He promised to “reach out” to both Crawford and Schlag and “welcome their input.” Linares also thanked his parents, father Arthur Linares Sr and mother, Robin, and his younger brother, Ryan, who served as campaign manager. “We have seen what business as usual has done to our state and tonight marks the dawn of a new era,” he said.

Schlag said she has no regrets about the race.  “I am very proud of my accomplishments and a grass roots campaign,” she said. Schlag said she wishes Linares “strength and courage to fight for the people and not become a pawn of his party.”

Erratum
Please note than an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Art Linares lost the town of Lyme.  Linares won the vote in the town of Lyme by 655 votes to Crawford’s 583 votes.

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The Polls on Election Day in Essex, Deep River and Chester; They Close at 8:00 p.m.

The early morning rush had just ended, but there was still a steady stream of voters coming into the polling stations of Essex, Deep River and Chester. By and large it looked like a large turnout of voters in the three towns.

In Essex the largest polling station in town is at Essex Town Hall. Although campaign supporters are not permitted to get too close to the Town Hall entrance door, they are permitted to hold their campaign signs at the entrance of the Town Hall parking lot.

State Representative Phil Miller at Essex Town Hall parking lot

State Representative Phil Miller of the 36th House district was personally on hand, as were sign carrying supporters of State Senate candidates in the 33rd Senate district, specifically, Democratic candidate James Crawford and Green Party candidate Melissa Schlag.

Also, in the parking lot, just after they both had voted, were the Republican 36th House district candidate, Vin Pacileo, and his wife, Laura. Neither Miller nor Pacileo made an outright prediction that they were going to win the race, though Miller said that he was “cautiously optimistic.”

Republican State Representative challenger Vin Pacileo and his wife, Laura

Up in Deep River at the polling place just behind the Deep River Library, there was also a steady stream of voters.  Working alone at the very entrance of the parking lot was local Deep River architect, John Kennedy. Kennedy is an avid supporter of Melissa Schlag, the 33rd Senate district candidate on the Green Party Line, as his decorated van illustrated.

“Melissa Schlag for State Senate” supporter, John Kennedy in Deep River

Although fervent in his support for Schlag, Kennedy hesitated to make a prediction that her victory was a “shoe in.”

Next stop, going up the west bank of the Connecticut River is the Town of Chester. By far the busiest voting station in Chester is at the Town Hall. A steady stream of voters was entering Town Hall from the parking lot to cast their ballots late in the morning.

On hand to great voters at the very entrance of the parking lot were two Democratic stalwarts, Peter Zamarei and Larry DiBernardo. Both said that the polls had been very busy throughout the morning. However, as Zamarei pointed out, “Voting is a very personal thing,” and he felt that people do not talk a lot about who they voted for.

Democratic Party supporters, Peter Zanarei and Larry DiBernardo in Chester

Also, DiBernado said that there had been no arguments at the polls. “It is too late to argue,” was the way he put it.  The campaign signs beside the two campaigners mentioned the entire Democratic ticket, including the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama.

Obama re-election signs were not evident at either the Essex or Deep River polling stations mentioned above.

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“Linda,” the Winner of the Political Lawn Sign War in Essex

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon has besieged Essex with lawn signs

Regardless of her qualifications for the U.S. Senate, pro or con, the clear winner of the campaign sign war in Essex is without question Republican candidate Linda McMahon.  Even a town fire hydrant is not safe from the draping of a “Linda” campaign sign.

McMahon’s campaign sign effort has two distinctive characteristics. One is that her campaign signs appeared in Essex weeks before any other candidate.  Also, in most cases McMahon shares her campaign sign positions with other Republican candidates, such as Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and State Representative candidate Vin Pacileo.

“Linda’s” lawn signs share positions with other Republican candidates as well

Democrats Came Late to the Lawns of Essex

Even now, as close as it is to the Election Day, President Obama and other Democratic candidates are way, way behind in lawn sign postings in this shoreline town. When the Democratic campaign sign postings finally did come into view, they included the signs of McMahon’s Democratic opponent for U.S. Senate, Chris Murphy, and in a few cases the top of the ticket of Obama/Biden.

Late in the campaign a few lawn signs for President Obama and Senate candidate Chris Murphy appeared

In the polls Murphy appears to be leading McMahon, regardless of the Republican candidate’s lawn sign advantage.

The reason for the paucity of lawn signs by the Democrats in towns like Essex, could well be that national Democratic strategists take for granted that Connecticut will vote for the Obama ticket.

So why waste precious campaign resources? Better to concentrate on the “Battleground States,” which virtually all commentators say will decide the national election.

This Republican sign poster wants to sell his house as well as his candidates

Foul Play in Lawn Sign War Alleged by Essex Resident

According to Essex resident Jane Siris, her Obama lawn sign, and those of several of her neighbors, are now “missing. “There were few of them to begin with,” she also said.

Originally, there was an Obama lawn sign here as well, but it was removed by persons unknown

Finally, there is an interesting footnote to the lawn sign story in Essex. On one of the most expensive properties in town, overlooking the water at Foxboro Point, there are just two campaign lawn signs in view. One is for “Linda,” and the other is for Romney.

The lawn signs of choice of a large land owner on Foxboro Point, “Linda” and Romney

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Vin Pacileo Releases Statement on August Unemployment Figures

Vin Pacileo, Republican candidate for the 36th State House District

Vin Pacileo, Republican candidate for State Representative in the 36th House District, released the following statement on the biggest jump in Connecticut’s unemployment rate in 36 years:

“The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics just released Connecticut employment data for the month of August, which showed that the state lost 6,800 jobs. This caused the unemployment rate to shoot up from 8.5 percent to 9 percent – the single largest jump since 1976.”

“These numbers are a sobering reminder that the policies initiated by Governor Malloy and supported by Phil Miller have unfairly burdened individuals, families, seniors, and business owners. It is puzzling that our Governor continues to express open skepticism on the accuracy of these statistics, when it is obvious that the pace of economic recovery is weak at best.”

“Adding to the state’s woes, last week the University of Connecticut’s quarterly economic journal reported that the Connecticut economy will not recover all of the jobs lost during the recession until the year 2018. It is clear that the policies coming out of Hartford are not working.”

“State government continues to spend more than it earns and borrows more than it can pay back. We need to stop this irresponsible growth and expansion of state government. As your State Representative, I will roll back the income, sales, and business tax increases that were passed last year – including restoration of the full $500 property tax credit for each homeowner – while thoughtfully reducing the budget. If we work together, we can restore common sense principles to the legislature.”

The 36th State House District is comprised of the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam. Learn more about Vin’s plan to return common sense leadership to Hartford at www.vinpacileo.com.

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Linares Renews Call to End “Early Release Program”

Art Linares, 33rd District State Senate Candidate

Westbrook, CT – – 33rd District Senate Republican candidate Art Linares has renewed his call to end the states early release program.

Linares made his comments in an early morning speech on Saturday after police reported that Joseph Mabery, who had 28 prior convictions and was part of the early release program, was arrested for lewd behavior on a public bus in front of a 14 year old girl in the Middletown area. In a statement later released by his campaign, Linares called upon his opponent Representative Jim Crawford, for the third time, to abandon his support of the program and join his call for Governor Malloy to halt the program. Linares continued by saying that since the program began over 700 early release criminals have committed a crime and have been returned to jail.

“How can Governor Malloy and Jim Crawford still support this program after 700 crimes? What is the number that will make them give up on this failed policy? Will it be 1000, 2000, 5000. How many murders will it take three four five what is the number that will make them start protecting the citizens.”

At the end, Linares said, “The incarceration of prisoners should be left up to Judges and prosecutors and not a bunch of Politicians in Hartford.”

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Democrat Jim Crawford Receives Environmental Group Endorsements in Senate Race

Democratic State Rep. Jim Crawford of Westbrook receives endorsements from 12th District Democratic State Senator Edward Meyer of Guilford, Martin Madore, legislative and political coordinator for the Sierra Club, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman and 36th House District Rep. Phil Miller.

AREAWIDE— Democratic State Rep. Jim Crawford of Westbrook Tuesday received endorsements from the state chapters of the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters in the Nov. 6 election contest for the 33rd Senate District seat.

Crawford, a former Westbrook selectman elected to represent the 35th house District in 2010, was joined in the gazebo at the Essex Town Park by Martin Madore, legislative and political coordinator for the Sierra Club chapter. Madore said the endorsement was based on Crawford’s responses to a detailed 15-page questionnaire on environmental issues, and a subsequent interview.

“It’s not a light weight process,” he said.

Crawford also received endorsements from 12th District Democratic State Senator Edward Meyer of Guilford, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Environment Committee, and 36th House District Rep. Phil Miller of Essex, who is a vice-chair of the environment Committee. Miller, who was also endorsed by the Sierra Club and LCV chapters, had endorsed Crawford previously in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary for the state senate nomination. Meyer and Miller were present at the park Tuesday, along with Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman.

Madore said Crawford’s two opponents in the Nov. 6 election, Republican Art Linares of Westbrook and Green Party candidate Melissa Schlag of Haddam, also received the Sierra Club questionnaire, but did not reply.

The candidates are competing to succeed 20-year Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook. The 33rd District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton ,Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

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Letters: Candidates Should Debate!

To The Editor:

Vin Pacileo of Essex is challenging incumbent Phil Miller of Essex for the State Representative seat that represents Essex, Deep River, Chester and Haddam (the 36th District).  We need these candidates to face each other in a debate and discuss how they intend to overcome the challenges facing our state.

We must elect a representative that truly represents our local interests.   A great way to make an educated decision about who can best represent us is by contrasting and comparing candidate responses during a debate.

Sincerely,

Susie Beckman
Ivoryton, CT

 

 

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Vin Pacileo Receives Independent Party Endorsement

Vin Pacileo, Republican candidate for the 36th State House District

AREAWIDE – Vin Pacileo, Republican candidate for the 36th State House District, today announced he has received the endorsement of the Independent Party of Connecticut, the third largest political party in the state.

“I am honored to accept the endorsement of the Independent Party of Connecticut,” Pacileo said. “The Independent Party is dedicated to ensuring open, honest government, with realistic objectives. My campaign is equally committed to these goals. Voters look to their elected leaders for assurance that the government is operating with integrity and I will work to restore a culture of accountability and transparency in Hartford.”

“We are pleased to endorse Vin Pacileo for State Representative in the 36th District,” said Michael Telesca, State Chairman of the Independent Party of Connecticut. “I want to be clear that the Independent Party is not simply a rubber stamp for the Republican Party. As our name implies, we are independent. Vin is a worthy candidate for office in the eyes of Independent voters because his principled and evenhanded approach to governance are qualities necessary to solve the significant problems affecting our state.”

Pacileo continued, “The Independent Party endorsement of our campaign demonstrates the broad appeal of our message among independent-minded voters who want common sense leadership on the issues that affect our communities. My plan is to roll back the 2011 increases in income, sales, and business taxes supported by my opponent. In addition, I will work to restore the full $500 property tax credit for homeowners. These actions, combined with thoughtful budgetary reductions, will bring a halt to the culture of uncontrolled spending that exists in Hartford.”

The 36th Assembly District is comprised of the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

 

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Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller Files Delayed Campaign Finance Report

AREAWIDE— Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller has filed a campaign finance report that had been due with the State Elections Enforcement Commission on July 10. The report, received by the commission on Sept. 5, shows Miller had raised $684 for a 2012 re-election campaign as of June 30, the end of the reporting period for the July 10 report.

Miller’s filing was delayed after his campaign treasurer and deputy treasurer, Essex residents Carla Feroni and Claire Tiernan respectively, resigned from the positions at the end of June. They were replaced in July by Fred Vollono, the Democratic town chairman in Essex who continues to serve as campaign treasurer.

The former first selectman of Essex from 2003 to 2011, Miller was elected to represent the four-town 36th House Disrtrict in a February 2011 special election. The $100 contributors to Miller include Nancy Fischbach and Carl Kaufman of Deep River, Janice Atkeson of Essex, and Matthew Gianquinto of Hartford, a registered lobbyist with the Judith Blei Government Relations firm of Hartford.

Miller faces a Nov. 6 election challenge from Republican nominee Vincent Pacileo of Essex. Pacileo served as the Republican minority member of the Essex Board of Selectmen during the  first six years of Miller’s tenure in the top job, from 2003 to 2009. The 36th House District includes the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

Pacileo, who emerged as a candidate at the May 16 GOP district nominating convention, reported campaign contributions totalling $3,575 in his July 10 filing. On August 1, Pacileo announced he had qualified for a $26,850 funding grant under the state’s Citizens Election Program by raising at least $5,000 in contributions of between $5 to $100 from at least 150 contributors living in the four district towns.

The deadline for candidates to qualify for a funding grant from the Citizens Elections Program is Sept. 27. The next campaign finance report for 2012 legislative candidates is due with the state commission on October 10, covering contributions received in the period from July 1 to Sept. 30.

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Pacileo Endorses Rails to Trails Proposal

Vincent A. Pacileo, III

AREAWIDE – Vin Pacileo, Republican candidate for the 36th State House District, today announced his endorsement of the Rails to Trails proposal that would convert approximately 9.25 miles of Connecticut Valley Railroad track – running from Eagle Landing State Park in Tylerville north to Maromos in Middletown – to a multi-purpose trail that would be open to the public.  Currently, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) leases this stretch of track to the Valley Railroad.

Speaking in support of the proposal, Pacileo said, “It is a goal of my campaign to create an environment of opportunity for individuals, families, and business owners throughout the 36th District.  This is an excellent example of local residents driving an idea that will bring substantial benefits to the community. It is because of their demonstrated robust enthusiasm for the project that I know it will continue to gain momentum for success.”

“For many years, my family has enjoyed the year-round experiences that the Valley Railroad provides, particularly the unique riverfront views. We are all vested in its continued success as a destination for residents and visitors and must work cooperatively with the Valley Railroad by sustaining an ongoing dialogue that includes sound business planning. Using this approach, the Rails to Trails proposal is not only compatible with the Valley Railroad’s goals, but will enhance their operations as well. This is accomplished by generating more diverse marketing prospects while expanding ridership to bikers, hikers and those interested in exploring this portion of the Connecticut River and the Lower Connecticut River Valley.”

Pacileo continued, “The portion of track under consideration has remained unused for decades and is in disrepair. It is neither a sound business decision nor a practical application to use this track for freight or passenger traffic. As a result, the Rails to Trails proposal will provide a unique opportunity to bring both environmental and economic benefits to Haddam and the entire 36th District. If we work together, we can make this vision a reality.”

The 36th Assembly District is comprised of the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

 

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Jim Crawford’s Campaign Responds to Partisan Attack

WESTBROOK — Less than 48 hours after the conclusion of Tuesday’s primary elections, Jim Crawford, the Democratic candidate for State Senate from the 33rd District, was hit with a partisan attack from his Republican opponent. The negative statement attempted to begin the general election campaign by making political hay of a recent tragedy in Meriden, CT.

Crawford’s campaign manager David Steuber responded with the following statement:

“It is very disappointing that Mr. Linares has chosen to begin his general election campaign by choosing a partisan attack fueled by the more extreme members of his party, which attempts to score points on a recent tragedy,” Steuber said.

The messaging on the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program began with State Sen. Len Suzio, who promptly had to apologize for racially insensitive language when first making his case on the issue. Suzio also asked for assistance freeing an inmate under the program who was convicted of embezzlement.

“Had Mr. Linares asked ranking Republican leaders who voted for the bill, he would have learned that it saved taxpayers millions in incarceration costs, and actually increased the length of time served by criminals like the Meriden suspect.”

In the Meriden case which Mr. Linares raises, Rep. Crawford’s vote resulted in the accused individual serving more time than he otherwise would have: 91% of his full sentence, rather than only 85% under preexisting law. Ranking Republicans in the General Assembly voted in both the Appropriations Committee and the Judiciary Committee to create the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program.

Forty five of 50 states, including Texas, already have similar cost-saving legislation on the books.

“It’s a shame to see Mr. Linares begin this general election campaign with such a partisan attack. We just finished a very civil, respectful primary this summer. I hope the Republicans will give some consideration to that example for the fall,” said Steuber.

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Linares Invites Opponent to Join Call to Suspend Early Release Program

Art Linares, candidate for State Senate in the 33rd district

Art Linares, candidate for State Senate in the 33rd district, last week urged his opponent to join him in asking Governor Dannel Malloy to suspend the early release program for violent criminals.

“The cold-blooded murder of Ibrahim Ghazal on June 27th was tragic proof that early release is a threat to our community,” said Linares.  “Public safety must be the first priority of government.  I urge Governor Malloy to suspend this misguided program immediately, and I urge Representative Crawford to join me in that demand.”

Under the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program, violent felons—including armed robbers, arsonists, terrorists, rapists, and repeat sex offenders—are eligible for early release from prison if they attend certain classes and meet other bureaucratic criteria.  Frank Resto, accused of the murder of Mr. Ghazal, was released under the program, despite a history of violent behavior in prison.

“I don’t know what Representative Crawford was thinking when he voted to let these criminals out early,” said Linares.  “Not only did he support the bill, but he voted against amendments that would have removed sex offenders and violent criminals from the program.

“Whatever his reasoning, now that we’ve seen the results of this policy, it’s time to do the right thing and suspend the program.  Meanwhile we are all in danger, and I honestly believe it’s only a matter of time until early release results in another horrific attack.

“It’s clear that oversight and review required to make such a program work safely simply aren’t in place.  Until that happens—and until the legislature has a chance to revisit the topic next session—we should keep violent criminals behind bars until their sentences are served.

“I believe that’s what the people of this district want—it’s what I will work for as a State Senator, and what I believe has to happen now.”

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Letter: Klinck Thanks Voters

To the Editor:

I want to take this opportunity to thank all my supporters in this past  33rd State Senate race. I met and talked to many voters and enjoyed it tremendously. I knew it was an uphill battle against an endorsed candidate but  I wanted to take on the challenge. I am glad I did. I am proud to have run a clean and honest campaign. Now that the Democratic voters have had the  opportunity to choose their candidate, we must now support the truly endorsed democratic candidate Jim Crawford in the November election.

Let’s keep the state senate democratic to help the middle  class, seniors,small business and  the environment.

Thank you for the opportunity to run.

A sincere thank you

 Mary Ellen Klinck

 

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Mary Ellen Klinck Endorses Jim Crawford for State Senate

EAST HADDAM — Following the conclusion of Tuesday’s State Senate primary election, challenger Mary Ellen Klinck offered her endorsement and support to Democratic candidate Jim Crawford. Crawford thanked Klinck for a hard-fought, yet entirely civil and respectful primary.

Mary Ellen Klinck said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my supporters. I met so many voters, and enjoyed it enormously. Both sides worked very hard this summer, and ran a good, respectful campaign that all can be proud of. The voters have had their say, and Jim Crawford is now the Democratic candidate. I will be supporting Jim this fall, and I hope all of my supporters will do the same. Now is the time for everyone to come together, and work to rebuild Connecticut’s economy and create more jobs for the middle class.”

Jim Crawford said, “I want to publicly extend my thanks to Mary Ellen Klinck for what proved to be a spirited yet entirely civil primary campaign over these past few months. As I have said before, Mrs. Klink is an excellent public servant and businesswoman, entirely deserving of all the support she received on Tuesday. We had a very friendly conversation Tuesday night. I wish her well in everything, and look forward to benefitting from her support this fall.”

Crawford added, “As a retired teacher and small business owner, I know that we need to do more to help businesses grow and thrive in our state, and to help young people get off to a good start in life. I hope all of Mary Ellen Klinck’s loyal supporters will join me in that cause.”

Jim Crawford is the Democratic candidate for State Senate from the 33rd District. He is a recently retired public school teacher and small business owner, currently serving his first term as a State Representative.

The 33rd Senatorial District is comprised of twelve towns which stretch from the shore of Long Island Sound up the Connecticut River toward the center of the state: Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

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Linares Urges Governor To Suspend Early Release Of Violent Criminals Blasts Crawford For Voting For Dangerous and Irresponsible Program

Art Linares, R-33, candidate for State Senator

Art Linares, R-33, candidate for State Senator, today urged Gov. Dannel Malloy to suspend the Risk Reduction Earned Credit (RREC) program, in light of a recent murder committed by a repeat violent criminal let out of prison early under the program.

“This tragedy has caused serious concern throughout the state about the wisdom of the program and the method of its implementation,” Linares wrote in his letter to the governor. “Because public safety must be our first priority, I urge you to suspend the Risk Reduction Earned Credit program, pending an investigation into its procedures and a thorough review by the legislature next year.”

“What was State Representative Jim Crawford thinking when he voted for this reckless program? He stood with the apologists for violent criminals, and against public safety”, Linares stated.

Linares referenced the cold-blooded murder of 70 year-old Ibrahim Ghazal, a small business owner shot in his store in Meriden on June 27. Inmate Frankie Resto, a violent repeat criminal released under the RREC program, stands accused of the crime.

Resto was sentenced in 2007 for two cases of armed robbery. “Resto qualified for early release even though his behavior in prison showed he had not reformed,” Linares said. “While a prisoner, he was cited for theft and fighting in 2006; for assault and for conspiring to possess contraband in 2007; for fighting and assault in 2008; for disobedience in 2009, at which time he was identified as a gang member and a special security risk; and just last year, for intoxication and for setting fire to his mattress.

“Where is the evidence that this man was ready to reenter society?” Linares asked. “How could this man have been released before his sentence was completed?”

“Michelle Cruz, The Connecticut Victim Advocate, stated that this misguided early release scheme is a “danger” to the citizens of our state. We must heed her warning,” Linares said.

According to the Department of Corrections, 7,589 inmates have been released through the RREC program since it began in September of last year. “I don’t believe we can afford to wait,” Linares wrote to the governor. “The risks of the program have been all too vividly demonstrated, and another such tragedy remains a daily threat.”

Violent criminals belong behind bars, and I will work to keep them there, ”Linares concluded.

 

Contact Art Linares Headquarters at 860 391 8458 for details.

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Party Endorsed Candidates Carry Area Towns in Primary

AREAWIDE— The Democrat and Republican party endorsed candidates each carried the three towns of Chester, Deep River, and Essex in Tuesday’s primary. In the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate nomination, businesswoman Linda McMahon easily out-polled her challenger, former Congressman Christopher Shays. In the contest for the GOP nomination in the 2nd congressional; District, East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica out-polled challenger Daria Novak.

In Chester, the result was 105 votes for McMahon to 34 votes for Shays. In Deep River, it was 124 McMahon to 39 for Shays. In Essex, McMahon had 343 votes to 139 votes for Shays. For the congressional nomination, the results were 96 Formica to 38 Novak in Chester, 112 McMahon to 48 Novak in Chester, and 335 Formica to 104 Novak in Essex. McMahon and Formica won the party endorsements at nominating conventions in May.

In the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate nomination, Congressman Christopher Murphy out-polled former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. In Chester, it was 179 votes for Murphy to 76 votes for Bysiewicz. In Deep River, the result was 150 votes for Murphy to 105 votes for Bysiewicz. In Essex, the result was 329 votes for Murphy to 127 votes for Bysiewicz. Murphy won the party endorsement at the state convention in May.

The closest area result occurred in the primary for the Democratic nomination in the 12-town 33rd Senate District, where party-endorsed State Rep. Jim Crawford of Westbrook out-polled challenger Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam. Crawford and Klinck were competing for the nomination to the seat left open by the retirement of  ten-term Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook.

Crawford carried Chester and Essex by wide margins, with a vote of 153 for Crawford to 87 for Klinck in Chester, and 325 for Crawford to 124 for Klinck in Essex. The result was much closer in Deep River, where longtime Democratic First Selectman Richard Smith endorsed Klinck. In Deep River, it was 131 votes for Crawford to 120 votes for Klinck. The district-wide result was 2,505 votes for Crawford to 2,007 for Klinck.

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Jim Crawford Wins Democratic Nomination in 33rd Senate District

Jim Crawford winner of Democratic Nomination for State Senate in the 33rd Senatorial District

AREAWIDE— State Rep. Jim Crawford of Westbrook won the Democratic nomination in the 33rd Senate District Tuesday, defeating challenger Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam by about 480 votes in the Democratic Primary in the 12-town district.

Crawford, a former teacher who was elected state representative for the 35th House District in 2010, claimed victory around 9:15 p.m. after learning that he had carried Haddam, the last of the towns to report results. Crawford awaited the result with a group of supporters in the parking lot at 190 Westbrook Road in Essex, outside the law office of Adam Stillman, a supporter who serves as Democratic town chairman in Old Saybrook.

Unofficial returns showed Crawford with 2,499 votes and Klinck with 2,007 votes. Klinck carried four of the 12 district towns, winning her hometown of East Haddam by a vote of 438-86, and also carrying Colchester, East Hampton, and Lyme. The result was close in Deep River, where longtime First Selectman Richard Smith supported Klinck, with 131 votes for Crawford and 120 votes for Klinck.

Crawford carried the other district towns, taking his hometown of Westbrook by a vote of 233 to 40. Crawford carried Essex by a vote of 325 to 124, also winning in Chester, Clinton, Haddam, Portland, and Old Saybrook.

After taking a phone call from Gov. Dannel Malloy, Crawford said he was pleased the contest with Klinck was a “clean race,” that helped him become better known throughout the large district without dividing district Democrats. “This was as tight as I thought it was going to be,” he said, adding “now we need to make sure this seat remains Democratic.”

Klinck, contacted at her headquarters in East Haddam, said she was “disappointed, but proud of what we did”, adding “I have proven that at any age you can be a contender.”  Klinck pledged to actively support Crawford in the Nov. 6 election, adding that she had urged her supporters to rally behind Crawford in the fall vote.

Crawford said he is ready for the November contest with Republican nominee Arthur Linares of Westbrook and Green Party nominee Melissa Schlag of Haddam. Crawford said he expects to participate in “more than one” public debate with all three candidates during the campaign.

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Polls Open 14 Hours Tuesday for Democratic , Republican Primaries

AREAWIDE— Polls in Chester, Deep River, and Essex will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday for Democrat and Republican primaries  to decide party nominations for U.S.Senate, 2nd District Congress, and the 33rd State Senate District.
Republicans will choose between businesswoman Linda McMahon and former fourth district Congressman Christopher Shays for the U.S. Senate nomination, and East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica and challenger Daria Novak for the GOP nomination for the 2nd Congressional District that comprises eastern Connecticut. McMahon and Formica won the party endorsement at conventions in May.
Democrats will choose between Congressman Chris Murphy and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz for the U.S. Senate nomination, and state Rep. Jim Crawford and challenger Mary Ellen Klinck for the party nomination in the 12-town 33rd Senate District that includes Chester, Deep River, and Essex. Murphy and Crawford have the convention endorsement. Voting will be at the Deep River Public Library community room, Chester Town Hall, and Essex Town Hall.
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Jim Crawford of Westbrook and Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam Compete in Cordial Democratic Primary for 33rd Senate District Nomination

After a campaign with no public debate and few differences on issues, State Rep. Jim Crawford of Westbrook and party activist Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam face off in a Democratic primary Tuesday for the open state senate nomination in the 12-town 33rd Senate District.

Tuesday’s vote marks the conclusion of an abbreviated contest that began on May 15, when ten-term Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook announced she would not seek a new term this year. Three candidates emerged at the Democratic nominating convention on May 21, including Crawford, Klinck, and former state Rep. Dean Markham of East Hampton. After four ballots, Crawford edged Klink for the party endorsement on a 31-27 delegate vote. Contending both candidates were not well known by district Democrats, Klinck decided to wage a primary for the nomination.

Crawford, 62, is a lifelong Westbrook resident who, after serving in the U.S. Army, in 1974 began a 37-year career teaching social studies in the Westbrook school system. Crawford and his wife, Elaine also ran the Maples Motel on Route One in Westbrook, which was owned by Crawford’s family from 1947 to 2001. The couple are parents of two grown children. Crawford was elected to the Westbrook Board of Selectmen in 2007, serving nearly two terms until 2010, when he was elected state representative for the 35th House District comprised of Clinton, most of Westbrook, and Killingworth.

Klinck, a 58-year East Haddam resident who declined to specify her exact age, has been active in the Democratic Party for decades, serving on the East Haddam Board of Selectmen in the 1970s, and as Connecticut’s Commissioner on Aging through most of the 1980s during the administration of the late former Governor William O’Neill of East Hampton. A widow since 1984, Klinck is the mother of three grown children with six grand-children. A realtor for decades, she also ran the Hale and Hearty Restaurant in East Haddam for 11 years.

In telephone interviews this week, both candidates declined to criticize each other, and suggested the lack of a public debate during the primary campaign was no accident. “We have agreed to keep it clean,” Klinck said, suggesting a debate would have spotlighted criticism and differences that could sow divisions among Democratic voters.

Klinck contended the primary would help each candidate become better known in the large district that extends along both sides of the Connecticut River to include the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

Crawford said he and Klinck “are both good Democrats,” adding “I have nothing but respect for what she has done for the party.” But Crawford maintained his single term as a state legislator over the past two years gives him an edge in experience. “It comes down to her experience and my experience, and my experience is current,” he said.

A review of likely issues for the 2013 legislative session shows few differences between the two candidates. Both would support authorization of red light cameras for traffic enforcement under a pilot program, and both are open to new state restrictions on assault rifles and multiple-shot ammunition clips in the wake of the recent mass gun killings in Colorado and Wisconsin. Both say spending cuts must take priority over new or higher new taxes to deal with any lingering state budget deficit. Crawford, who supported tax increases last year as part of Governor Dannel Malloy’s budget plan, said “I don’t think there is any way we can raise taxes more.”

One issue that has emerged involves the controversial, but now cancelled, Connecticut River land swap that had been supported by Daily as an economic development measure for the Tylerville section of Haddam. Crawford had supported the land swap in a House vote last year, while a recent mailing to district Democrats declares Klinck is ” a Democrat you can trust to make the right decision with open space.”

Party support and endorsements have broken down largely along geographic lines within the district, with leaders from the southern shoreline towns supporting Crawford, and leaders from the northern and east-of-the-river towns backing Klinck. Crawford has received endorsements from Daily, Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller of Essex, and Democratic first selectmen Willie Fritz of Clinton, Norman Needleman of Essex, and Edmund Meehan of Chester. But longtime Deep River First Selectman Richard Smith is backing Klinck, who has also received support from longtime Democratic State Rep. Linda Orange of Colchester, and donations from Nicki O’Neill, widow of the former governor, and former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, who owns a house in East Haddam.

Both candidates have received a $37,590 state Citizens Elections Program campaign finance grant, and each has nearly $50,000 on their campaign coffers leading up to the primary. The two rivals have campaigned door-to-door in various towns, and sponsored multiple political mailings to registered Democrats in the district.

The winner of Tuesday’s contest will face Republican nominee Art Linares of Westbrook and Green Party candidate Melissa Schlag of Haddam in the Nov. 6 election.

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Letter: Despite Previously Enjoying Klinck’s Support, Daily Endorses Crawford

To the Editor:

Wow!  What a surprise and disappointment.  I just received a promotional piece for Jim Crawford—candidate for the 33rd District State Senate seat.  While I am sure Mr. Crawford is a worthy candidate, as is his opponent Mary Ellen Klinck, I was shocked to see he is heavily endorsed by retiring Senator Eileen Daily.

Twenty years ago Mary Ellen Klinck worked tirelessly to help Ms. Daily get elected to her first term as State Senator.  Over the years, Mary Ellen donated time, money, her years of experience with the Democratic Party, and even her home to host fundraisers—all to benefit Ms. Daily.

I would have hoped Ms. Daily to be a better person.  For her to turn her back on a loyal, hard-working friend is discouraging and wrong.  The better solution would have been for Ms. Daily to simply wish both candidates good luck.

Sincerely,

Jim Johnson
Moodus, CT  

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Rep. Phil Miller Endorses Jim Crawford for State Senate

ESSEX –– State Rep. Philip J. Miller (D-Chester, Deep River, Essex, Haddam), offered his support today to Jim Crawford, the party endorsed Democratic candidate for State Senator from the 33rd District.

“Jim Crawford knows how important it is to protect our local environment and I have no doubt he will be a staunch defender of it,” Miller said, “Jim raised his family here, taught several generations of students here, and ran a family business here for more than two decades,” Miller said.

Rep. Miller is Vice Chair of the General Assembly’s Environment Committee and serves with Crawford in the state House of Representatives. Both are serving their first terms as legislators and have worked closely together as their districts border one another.

Miller pointed to Crawford’s 100% 2012 legislative rating from the League of Conservation voters along with his bipartisan work on the Shoreline Preservation Task Force to protect the shoreline from rising sea levels. He also praised Crawford for his efforts on the Energy & Technology Committee.

“The groundbreaking energy legislation Jim helped to pass last year has put Connecticut on the map as a leader in renewable energy. Dozens of Connecticut renewable energy companies are now growing rapidly thanks to the programs created in that bill.”

Crawford pledged to continue his work to protect the local environment.

“The Connecticut River valley and Long Island Sound are defining characteristics of our region, essential to its character and our local economy in so many ways. I will always make their conservation a top priority,” Crawford said.

The 33rd Senatorial District is comprised of twelve towns which stretch from shore of Long Island Sound up the Connecticut River toward the center of the state. The towns include Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

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Terrance Lomme, Private Lawyer for Private Legal Clients, While Serving as State Judge of Probate

Attorney Terrance Lomme representing a private client before the Essex Zoning Commision

Essex resident Terrance D. Lomme is a busy man.  Not only is he the personal attorney for private clients, such as the New York City developer involved in the Foxboro Point case in Essex, but also Lomme is also a sitting state Judge of Probate, who has exclusive jurisdiction over probate cases in nine Connecticut towns.

It should be noted that Lomme’s representation of private legal clients, while serving at the same time as a Judge of Probate, is perfectly legal under Connecticut state law.

Furthermore, when it comes to any conflicts between his two roles, as private attorney and judge, Lomme says, “I have never had a problem.”  However, he did admit in a recent interview, “I do have to be very sensitive to conflicts, and the appearance of conflicts.”  Also, Lomme said that he had mentioned his position as a Judge of Probate to the private developer of Foxboro point, Frank Sciame, Jr., and, “It was never a problem.”

Judges of Probate Are Paid $110,000 a Year

In addition to the monies that he earns from his private practice of law, as a State Judge of Probate, Terrance Lomme also receives an annual salary of $110,000 a year from the state.  This amount is calculated at 75% of the salary paid to a Connecticut Superior Court judge.

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme in his judicial chambers at Old Saybrook Town Hall

However, judges of the Superior Court, as well as judges of the Appellate Court and Supreme Court, are prohibited from engaging in the private practice of law.  Among these judges, only Judges of Probate are permitted to have private law practices.

Lomme’s Very Public, Private Practice of Law

Terrance Lomme has some high profile clients in his practice of law, as illustrated by his appearance as the private attorney of the would-be developer of Foxboro Point.  Not only did Lomme represent the developer at the at the July 12 meeting of the Essex Planning Commission, he has done the same at five previous hearings as well.

Lomme estimates that there could be two or three more Planning Commission meetings on the Foxboro Point development before all outstanding issues were resolved.  Lomme, himself, will be on hand at every one of these future meetings, as the developer’s private attorney.

Also, on July 16 Lomme appeared before yet another Essex regulatory body, this time it was the Essex Zoning Commission.  Lomme was representing as a private client, the developer of a senior citizens housing development in Essex.  In this appearance Lomme made an extensive presentation, complete with large picture boards that he showed to the commission.  He also participated in an extensive discussion of his client’s application with commission members.

Lomme’s arguments on behalf of his client were successful in this instance, and the Zoning Commission approved the construction of the senior citizen development with certain attached reporting requirements.

Lomme also had a second private client at the July 16 meeting of the Zoning Commission, which was the Foxboro Point developer.  However, the commission deferred consideration of this matter for a future meeting.

Lomme’s Official Duties as a State Judge of Probate

In his official position as a Judge of Probate, Judge Lomme decides probate cases in the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  Also, the judge is assisted in his official duties by a staff of nine clerks.

The Old Saybrook offices of Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme staffed by nine clerks

Lomme’s probate headquarters is located in the Town Hall of Old Saybrook, and it consists of a multi-room suite of offices and an official hearing room.  Whenever there is a probate matter to be adjudicated in the judge’s nine town district, it will be done by Judge Lomme, acting on his interpretation of the law and the facts of the case.

Limits on Practicing Law by Judges of Probate        

Although expressly permitted to engage in the private practice of law, under the state’s Code of Probate Judicial Conduct, there are some general prohibitions that Judges of Probate must obey.  They include a provision that, “A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in the judge’s activities.”

Also, “A judge shall conduct all extra-judicial activities as to minimize the risk of conflict with judicial obligations.”  In addition, the Code includes a specific reference to the fact that a Judge of Probate law, “Can maintain a private law practice.”  Under the Code, there are eight specific Canons that must be obeyed by the state’s Judges of Probate.

Jurisdiction of State Judges of Probate

As for the kinds of cases that the state’s Judges of Probate decide, they are limited although extremely important. Among the powers of Judges of Probate, in addition to the probating of wills, they include passing on the formation and maintenance of Trusts and Estates, as well as overseeing testamentary and living trusts.

Also, a Judge of Probate has extensive jurisdiction over Guardians, Conservators and Civil Commitment cases.  These include the power to appoint the guardians of a child, as well as to order the sterilization of a person of intellectual disability.

In addition, a Judge of Probate like Lomme has jurisdiction over removing children from unfit parents, and hearing the claims of paternity of unwed fathers.  Also probate judges can grant name changes, approve or disapprove of the marriages of persons under the age of 16, and can assist persons in obtaining passports.

And these are by no means all of the significant powers of state Judges of Probate.

Finally, the web site of the Judges of Probate makes the point that, “In carrying out their responsibilities, the probate courts strive to protect the rights of individuals while affording those involved in probate matters an approachable and consumer friendly environment.”

Still, unless there is a change in state law, Judges of Probate such as Judge Lomme will be permitted to continue to represent private legal clients, while at the same time they exercise their important judicial duties.

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Mary Ellen Klinck Qualifies for Public Financing

Mary Ellen Klinck, the Democratic candidate for the 33rd district senate seat

Mary Ellen Klinck, the Democratic candidate for the 33rd district senate seat, has met the qualifications for funding under Connecticut’s Citizen Election Program (CEP).

To earn CEP dollars, which help level the political playing field, a senate candidate must raise $15,000, with 300 of the contributors being residents of the 12-town district.

“I have raised more than $15,000 and have more than 300 contributors,” Klinck announced Thursday.  “It was hard work.  I thank all my supporters for contributing so quickly.  Now I can concentrate on talking to the voters about my campaign.”

Klinck has a very diversified resume and has been an active volunteer in Middlesex County for years.  Her past accomplishments include serving as State Commissioner on Aging, as an East Haddam Selectman, as a 33rd District State Central Committeewoman, as Chair of East Haddam’s Democratic Town Committee, and as Chairman of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce.  Presently, she is Vice-president of the East Haddam Historical Society, and President of the C21 Root Real Estate Agency, having previously owned an insurance office and a restaurant.

Widowed, she is the mother of 3, devoted grandmother of 6, and loyal friend to hundreds of people

“My platform includes home care and housing for Seniors, educational review, college, housing, and energy affordability, environmental and open space protection, job reaction,  and respect for veterans’ rights,”  Klinck said.  “I promise honest leadership, open government, and help for small and medium businesses.”

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CT League of Conservation Voters Names Phil Miller Legislative Champion

State Representative Phil Miller who is serving his first term representing the 36th Assembly District of Essex, Chester, Deep River and Haddam. He is Vice Chair of the legislature’s Environment Committee.

The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) has named State Representative Phil Miller, who represents Chester, Deep River, Essex, Haddam in the Connecticut General Assembly, a ‘Legislative Champion’ for fighting proactively to promote the state’s open space plan and advancing the GMO (genetically modified organisms) labeling bill.

“I’m humbled to be so recognized. I am grateful to the people of Haddam, Chester, Deep River and Essex for encouraging me to vote well on conservation issues which help ensure air and water quality in Connecticut. I also want to thank the Speaker of the House, Chris Donovan, for appointing me Vice Chair of the Environment Committee in my first term,” said Rep. Miller, who has received a perfect environmental score two years in a row.

“Phil spent every day ensuring that all significant legislation we supported stayed on the agenda of committees and his chamber. Environment was his top priority this session, and his enthusiasm and support for even the most difficult issues—from GMO labeling to reducing chemical exposure to children to water conservation incentives—really helped make this year a good year for the environment at the Capitol. We applaud his work” said CTLCV Executive Director Lori Brown.

CTLCV annually grades lawmakers on their environmental voting record. Rep. Flexer received a perfect score of 100% in The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters’ 2012 Environmental Scorecard. This year the scorecard grades legislators’ votes on 15 bills that came up during the 2012 legislative session.

Formed in 1998, the bipartisan CTLCV works on laws that affect Connecticut’s air, water, wildlife, open space, transportation, energy choices, and health.

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33rd Senate District Candidates Submit Campaign Finance Reports

AREAWIDE— Democratic state senate challenger Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam has out-raised party endorsed candidate Jim Crawford of Westbrook in the Aug. 14 primary contest to succeed retiring Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily in the 33rd Senate District, but Republican nominee Art Linares of Westbrook has raised more campaign dollars than the two Democrats, according to finance reports filed this week with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

Klinck, a longtime party activist who served as state commissioner on aging in the 1980s, had raised $11,098 as of June 30. With expenditures of $1,199, Klinck had a balance on hand of $9,898 at the end of the reporting period. Crawford, a retired teacher who has represented the 35th House District since 2010, raised $5,590. With expenditures of $3,012, Crawford had a balance on hand of $2,577 as of June 30.

Linares, a 23-year-old political newcomer who became the GOP nominee after convention-endorsed candidate Neil Nichols of Essex withdrew from the race, has raised a total of $14,957, including a beginning balance of $6,004 and $7,732 raised during the month of June. With expenditures of $5,355, Linares had a balance of $8,380 on hand at the end of June. Melissa Schlag of Haddam, running on the Green Party line, had raised $4,635 as of June 30. With expenditures of $272, Schlag reported a balance on hand of $4,362 at the end of June.

All of the candidates, including Schlag, reported many $100 contributions. Among the $100 contributors to Klinck are former U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd, a part-time East Haddam resident, Nikki O’Neill of East Hampton, widow of former Governor William O’Neill, former East Haddam first selectmen Brad Parker and John Blaschik, former state consumer protection commissioner Mary Heslin of Hartford,  Kenneth and Michele Barber of East Hampton who each donated $100, and Andrew Tierney of East Hampton, who serves as town manager of Hebron.

The $100 contributors to Crawford include retiring Senator Daily and her husband, Jim, of Westbrook, who each donated $100, Democratic State Central Committee member Lon Seidman of Ivoryton, State AFL-CIO director John Olsen and his wife, Janeen, of Clinton, who each donated $100, Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman and companion Jacqueline Hubbard of Essex, who each donated $100, and Raymond and Karen Rigat of Clinton, who each gave $100. Rigat, a former Clinton judge of probate, was the unsuccessful challenger for the Democratic nomination for regional judge of probate in 2010.

The $100 contributors to Linares include  former congressman and 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Robert Simmons of Stonington, Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, East Lyme First Selectman and 2nd District congressional candidate Paul Formica, State Senator Scott Frantz of Greenwich, and former state representative Andrew Norton of Colchester. Nichols contributed $50, while his wife, Allison, donated $100. There was a $50 contribution from former congressman Christopher Shays of Bridgeport, the challenger for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in the Aug. 14 primary.

Among the $100 contributors to Schlag were her campaign treasurer Diane Stock, who has run unsuccessfully for first selectman of Haddam as a Democrat and petition candidate, Edward and Anne Schwing of Haddam, who each contributed $100, and Stephen and Patricia Goldblatt of Haddam, who each contributed $100.

The 33rd Senate District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

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Klinck Receives Realtor Endorsement

Mary Ellen Klinck, State Senate candidate for the 33rd District, received the endorsement of the Connecticut Association of Realtors and the support of its PAC.  Joseph Christ, chair of the Realtors’ PAC, stated, “We support candidates from all occupations, not just real estate professionals, who possess attributes favorable to free enterprise, private property rights, and housing opportunities and choices.  We seek allies to promote and protect the American Dream.”

Klinck, a realtor for many years, is President of Century 21 Real Estate in East Haddam, where her daughter Kathleen is Vice-President and broker for the office.

Presently on the State Commission on Aging, Klinck has been an East Haddam Selectman, Chairman of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, and for 8 years the State Commissioner on Aging.

“We need honest leadership, open government, job creation, and affordable housing,” said Klinck.  “In addition to the real estate office, I have owned an insurance agency and a good-sized restaurant.  I know the problems and benefits that go with running a successful business.  Other priorities include education, elderly issues, and the environment.

I am pleased with the realtors’ endorsement,” she added, “and will work tirelessly to win the Democratic primary on August 14th and to win the election in November.”

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Sen. Eileen Daily Endorses Jim Crawford for State Senate

WESTBROOK — Incumbent State Senator Eileen Daily (D-Westbrook) announced her endorsement today of Democratic State Representative Jim Crawford to be the next State Senator from the 33rd District, the position from which she is retiring at the end of the year.

Jim Crawford is the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for the seat, having won the Democratic Convention in May. A primary will be held August 14th.
“I am pleased to support Jim Crawford,” said Senator Daily, “He is qualified, experienced, and ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead.  He taught both of my children when they were in school, and in a long and varied career, he has demonstrated good judgment and solid character time and again.”
Crawford spent nearly four decades as a teacher in the Westbrook Public Schools. He served as an officer in the US Army, and in recent years was elected twice as a Selectman for the Town of Westbrook. He currently serves as the State Representative for the towns of Clinton, Killingworth, and Westbrook. He and his wife Elaine also owned a small business, the Maples Motel in Westbrook, for over twenty years.
“Jim brings a great deal of experience to the table, but perhaps his most valuable insight is his perspective as a small business owner. I know that as a State Senator, he will work tirelessly to get our economy back on track and create the good paying jobs we need,” Daily added.
Jim Crawford said, “I thank Senator Daily very much for her support, and for her twenty years of service to our community. I am flattered by her endorsement, and am sure she will have an active retirement. I look forward to working with her on matters of local concern far into the future.”
The 33rd Senatorial District is comprised of twelve towns which stretch from the shore of Long Island Sound up the Connecticut River toward the center of the state. They include: Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.
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Congressman Courtney Applauds the Supreme Court Affordable Care Act Decision

Congressman Joe Courtney calls the Supreme Court’s decision “a Landmark moment in the fight for stable, secure health coverage for all Americans,”

Terming the court’s decision, “a Landmark moment in the fight for stable, secure health coverage for all Americans,” Congressman Joe Courtney, whose district covers most of eastern Connecticut, lauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 28 decision that upheld the Affordable Care Act.

The Congressman further noted that the Affordable Care Act “is not the final word on health care. This Congress and future Congresses can make commonsense amendments in response to real-life problems,” he said.

As one example of amending the Act, the Congressman cited the new law now in place that permits young people to remain on their parents health care policies until they reach the age of 26. The Congressman said, “In eastern Connecticut last year, 4,600 young people were able to remain on their parents’ health policy until the age of 26 while they transitioned into the workforce, ” he said.

Praising Other Provisions of New Health Care Law

Courtney also noted that, “7,700 seniors in our district have received more than $5 million in prescription drug discounts in 2011,” adding, “That number will grow as the Affordable Care Act closes the Medicare Part D donut hole entirely.”

Also, already under the Act, the Congressman said that in his eastern Connecticut district, “88,000 seniors have taken advantage of preventive care benefits, including cancer and cardiovascular screening without co-pay, coinsurance, or deductible.” In addition, thanks to the Act, “At least 39,000 children [in the district] now have health insurance that covers preventive services without paying co-pays, coinsurance or deductibles.”

In addition, since 2011 under the new health care law, “470 small businesses in the district received tax credits to maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees,” he said.

More Benefits Coming in the Year 2014

“By 2014,” Courtney said, “ALL of eastern Connecticut’s residents with pre-existing conditions will be protected, and health insurers will not be able to deny them coverage.” “Also, by 2014 the district’s 570,000 residents with private insurance coverage will no longer face annual limits on coverage,” he said.

Summing up Courtney said, “Congress debated, the Supreme Court decided, and now the implementation of the Affordable Care Act can move forward.”

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Ed Munster Endorses Art Linares for State Senate

Art Linares running for the 33rd district State Senate

The last Republican Senator to serve the people of the 33rd district, Ed Munster has announced his support for Art Linares of Westbrook CT for the position he once held. Calling Linares the future of the Republican Party, Munster called upon his former constituents to join the campaign and donate to Linares who is in the process of raising money for his campaign in November.

Munster, a former Congressional candidate, who came very close to winning the election in 1994, made his opinion known in a letter to the Linares campaign earlier this week. He called upon all Republicans to rally behind Linares who is seeking the Senate office for the first time.  Linares is a confident, intelligent and dynamic candidate who can think outside the box and bring a different way of thinking to Hartford. He is a strong and hardworking candidate who has the best chance of winning the Senate seat for the first time in a long time, according to Munster.  Linares in a phone conversation thanked Munster for his support and asked Munster for continued  advice going into November.

Linares is the founder of Green Skies energy in Middletown and is a former aide to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, working in his Washington DC office until this past December.

For more information Contact: Ben Mitchell Presssecretary@artlinares.com

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Mary Ellen Klinck Files for Democratic Primary in 33rd Senate District

AREAWIDE-— Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam confirmed Friday that she will pursue a primary challenge to James Crawford of Westbrook, the Democratic convention endorsed candidate for the open seat in the 12-town 33rd Senate District.

Klinck, a former state commissioner on aging and a Democratic State Central Committee member, said she has established a candidate committee and filed for the Aug. 14 primary. It would be the first Democratic primary for the senate nomination in decades, though district Republicans had primaries in 1982 and 1990.

Crawford, a former social studies teacher at Westbrook Middle School who has represented the 35th House District for the past two years, won the Democratic endorsement over Klinck with a 31-27 delegate vote on the third ballot at the May 21 nominating convention. A third candidate, former state Rep. Dean Markham of East Hampton, also qualified for the primary but has decided not to remain in the race. The candidates are competing to succeed ten-term Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook, who announced on May 15 that she would not seek another term this year.

Klinck, who confirmed she is “a little older” than the 69-year-old Daily, said the incumbent senator’s late withdrawal had led to a “rushed” nominating process in the days before the convention. “We had very little notice, only a few days, and we never had a chance to meet with the Democratic town committees in the district,” Klinck said.

At the convention, Klinck received most of her delegate support from towns in the northern section of the district, particularly Colchester and East Haddam, while Crawford was supported by delegates from the southern towns, such as Clinton, Westbrook, and Essex. The district includes the towns of Clinton, Chester, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.

Klinck said she does not believe a primary would divide district Democrats, but instead “would give us both exposure,” and a chance to become better known to voters in all sections of the district. Klinck said she stands ready to debate Crawford before the Aug. 14 vote, but intends to “run a clean campaign,” that begins with a pledge to actively support the winner of the nomination contest.

A primary for the Republican nomination in the district was averted last week when Neil Nichols of Essex, who won the endorsement at the May 14 GOP nominating convention, withdraw and endorsed his convention rival, Art Linares of Westbrook. Nichols, who had unsuccessfully challenged Daily in 2010, edged the 23 year-old Linares on a 24-22 delegate vote at the convention.

Crawford said Friday he accepts Klinck’s decision to wage a primary. “Mary Ellen Klinck has been an important part of the Democratic Party in our state for a long time and if she feels a primary is necessary I’m prepared to go that route,” he said.
 Crawford added that he does not believe the contest would be divisive for district Democrats, and could help each candidate become better known to district voters. Crawford said he is prepared to meet Klinck in a public debate if a group steps forward to organize one.
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Neil Nichols Withdraws from 33rd Senate District Race, Endorses Art Linares

Neil Nichols Steps Aside and Shows Support for Art Linares (Photo courtesy of Kris Seifert)

AREAWIDE—Neil Nichols, the Republican convention endorsed candidate for the open 33rd Senate District seat, Friday withdrew from the race and endorsed Art Linares, his rival at the May 14 GOP nominating session.

Nichols and Linares appeared before a crowd of about 40 supporters at Essex Town Hall. The group included Edward Munster of Haddam, the last Republican to hold the 12-town 33rd District seat from 1991-1993, before Munster began a series of three unsuccessful runs for Congress in the second district. Munster was replaced in 1992 by Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook, who announced on May 15 that she would not seek a new term this year.
Nichols, of Essex, had edged Linares on a close 24-22 vote at the May 14 convention, with Linares declaring that evening that he would contest the nomination in an Aug. 14 primary.
Nichols, the unsuccessful Republican challenger to Daily in 2010, said he began to reconsider the race over the past week before deciding to step aside in favor of the 23 year-old Linares of Westbrook. Nichols said he has had a “long-standing goal of recruiting and electing qualified Republicans,” and decided it would be “in the best interest of the party and the party’s future,” to give Linares a shot at the open senate seat without a primary contest. Nichols said he would actively support Linares in the fall campaign.
Linares, a grandson of Cuban immigrants, praised Nichols and pledged to wage an active campaign.”We will ring every phone and knock on every door,” he said.
Linares, who served as an intern for Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, is the co-founder of Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a Middletown-based solar energy company. Linares had formed a candidate committee for the senate race in April.
Democrats have endorsed State Representative Jim Crawford of Westbrook for the senate nomination. Crawford, who has represented Clinton, Killingworth, and Westbrook in the 35th House District seat since 2010, won the endorsement at the May 21 convention over two challengers, former State Rep. Dean Markham of East Hampton and Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam. Both Klinck and Markham received enough delegate support to contest the nomination in a primary. Each has until June 4 to file for a challenge.
Crawford spent more than 30 teachers as a teacher at Westbrook High School before retiring last year. One of his seventh grade students at the start of the last decade was Art Linares, setting up a Nov . 6 contest between a former teacher and a former pupil. Melissa Schlag, a Haddam resident who opposed the now cancelled Connecticut River land swap that was supported by Daily last year, is on the ballot as the Green Party nominee.
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Democrats Nominate State Rep. Phil Miller for Second Term in 36th House District

AREAWIDE— Democrats Tuesday renominated State Representative Phil Miller of Essex for a second term in the 36th House District. The 15 delegates from the district towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam, along with other supporters, jammed the small Whistlestop restaurant on Route 154 in Deep River for the nominating session.

As the group enjoyed apple pie provided by the restaurant for the occasion, Miller said the Whistlestop is the kind of “homemade and homegrown business” he hopes to support as a legislator. Miller was nominated by Deputy Secretary of the State James Spallone, who held the 36th House seat from 2000 until he resigned in January 2011 to assume the state job. Spallone said Miller “hit the ground running and he’s just beginning.”

Miller, the former director of the Bushy Hill Nature Center in the Ivoryton section of Essex, served as first selectman of Essex from 2003 to 2011. Miller won the House seat in a February 2011 special election, defeating Republican Janet Peckinpaugh, the former television news anchorwoman, by about 220 votes.

Miller praised the administration of Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, noting the current state budget has nearly eliminated a $3.5 billion deficit while preserving state aid to cities and towns. “I think we are really poised for sustained recovery and growth,” he said.

Republicans have nominated former Essex Selectman Vince Pacileo to challenge Miller’s bid for a second and full term. Pacileo served as the minority selectman on the Essex Board of Selectmen while Miller held the top job.

Miller acknowledged he “has an opponent who I know very well,” adding “I think it’s going to be a very clear choice for the voters in our district,” in the Nov. 6 election.

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State Rep. Jim Crawford Wins Endorsement at Democrats Nominating Convention

AREAWIDE— State Rep. Jim Crawford of Westbrook won the Democratic Party endorsement for the 33rd Senate District at the district nominating convention held Monday at Essex Town Hall.

Crawford won the endorsement on a third ballot of the 58 delegates from the 12-town district, out-polling Mary Ellen Klinck of East Haddam and former state Rep. Dean Markham of East Hampton. The final vote was 31 for Crawford to 27 for Klinck, with Markham eliminated from the roll call after the third ballot.

A long-time social studies teacher at Westbrook High School, Crawford was elected in 2010 in the 35th House District covering Clinton, Killingworth, and most of Westbrook. He had served previously on the Westbrook Board of Selectmen.

Crawford is hoping to succeed ten-term State Senator Eileen Daily, who attended the convention Monday and received a warm standing ovation from the delegates. Until last week, Crawford had been set to accept renomination this week for a second term in the 35th House District. But Daily’s May 15 announcement that she would not seek a new term this year led him shift to a run for the senate seat.

Crawford, Klinck, and Markham confirmed their plans to run over the weekend, and met informally with many delegates in an informal gathering Sunday at Deep River Town Hall. The 33rd District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook.

Crawford was nominated by former state Rep. Brian O’Connor of Clinton, who held the 35th House District seat from 20000 to 2010. O’Connor said Crawford has “proven himself an effective and pragmatic legislator after only one term.” In his own remarks to the convention, Crawford said he has the best experience for the position, adding “I am currently able to tell you where the battle lines are.”

Klinck, a realtor, former restauranteur and party activist who served as the first commissioner of the state Department on Aging during the 1980s, was described in a seconding speech from former East Haddam First Selectman Brad Parker as “the ultimate Democrat for our region.” Klinck told the crowd she had wanted to run for the seat in 1992, but deferred to Daily.

Markham, a realtor and certified public accountant who represented the East Hampton-based 34th House District from 1979-1993, was nominated by East Hampton Councilwoman Barbara Moore. Markham told the delegates he “has a great insight in to the process and will be able to hit the ground running,” with a focus on boosting the area economy.

The vote on the first ballot was 24 for Crawford, 19 for Klinck, and 15 for Markham. Crawford had all or most of the delegates from Clinton, Essex, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, while Klinck’s support was centered around East Haddam and Colchester. The vote on the second ballot was 29 for Crawford, one vote short of the 30 delegates required for a majority endorsement, with 17 for Klinck and 12 for Markham. Most of Markham’s support, which was centered around East Hampton, shifted to Klinck on the third ballot.

Crawford said after the vote he believes district Democrats would “stay united” moving toward the Nov. 6 election, though Klinck and Markham each said they would consider contesting Crawford for the nomination in an Aug 14 primary. District Republicans are expected to have a primary for the senate nomination after Neil Nichols of Essex edged Art Linares of Westbrook for the endorsement at the May 14 GOP nominating session. Klinck and Markham have until June 4 to formally file for a primary with Crawford, who as the convention-endorsed candidate would have the top line on the ballot.

 

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Rep. Phil Miller Named ‘Children’s Champion’

State Representative Phil Miller, who represents Chester, Deep River, Essex, Haddam in the Connecticut General Assembly, was recognized as a “Children’s Champion” during a ceremony held at the State Capitol.

Rep. Miller received the recognition for showing a strong commitment to early childhood issues in his district and at the legislature.

“Investments in early childhood education are an investment in our children’s futures,” said Rep. Miller. “I’ve been well influenced by the many great early childhood educators in my district, who have helped me to try to do right for our children. I’m honored to receive this recognition and want to thank everyone at the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for this award and for all the great work they do.”

“Rep. Phil Miller was chosen as a 2012 Children’s Champion for demonstrating a strong level of commitment to early childhood through leadership on policy issues during the 2012 legislative session, and active involvement on local early childhood initiatives,” said Maggie Adair, Executive Director of the CT Early Childhood Alliance.

The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide membership and advocacy organization committed to improving developmental outcomes in the areas of learning, health, safety and economic security for children ages birth to eight.

Phil Miller is serving his first term representing the 36th Assembly District of Essex, Chester, Deep River and Haddam. He is Vice Chair of the legislature’s Environment Committee.

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Romney Carries Three Towns in Extremely Low Turnout Presidential Primary

AREAWIDE— Former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney carried Chester, Deep River, and Essex in a Republican Presidential Primary that generated extremely low voter turnout after the GOP nominating contest was settled two weeks ago.

What began as a competitive nomination contest wound down earlier this month after Romney won the Wisconsin primary and former Pa. Senator Rick Santorum suspended his campaign on April 10. The date of the Connecticut primary had been changed from a February date in 2008 as the state teamed with Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania in an effort to establish a northeast regional primary. Romney, who won statewide Tuesday with about 67 percent of the vote.

In Chester, Romney had 45 votes, with seven votes for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, four votes for Texas Congressman Ron Paul, six votes for Santorum, and three uncommitted votes. A total of 65 Chester Republicans turned out during the 14 hours of balloting.

A total of 91 Republicans turned out in Deep River. Romney had 55 votes, with 13 votes for Newt Gingrich, 14 votes for Ron Paul, seven votes for Rick Santorum, and two uncommitted votes.

The turnout was slightly higher in Essex, where Republican registration is higher than in Chester or Deep River. There were 315 ballots cast Tuesday. Romney had 244 votes, with 22 votes for Gingrich, 28 votes for Paul, 14 votes for Santorum, and seven uncommitted votes.

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Estuary and Midstate Regional Planning Agencies to Merge Under Proposed Regional Council of Government

AREAWIDE— The Connecticut River Estuary and Midstate regional planning agencies are expected to merge by this summer under a proposed new Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments that would replace an existing and more informal Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Elected Officials.

The Essex Board of Selectmen last week received a report on the proposed changes. The board has scheduled an April 4 public hearing on an ordinance authorizing Essex to join the proposed new council of governments, a step that would precede a town meeting vote on the issue.

East Haddam First Selectman Mark Walter appeared at the board’s March 7 meeting to explain the plan. and the reasons for the proposed changes. Walter is the current chairman of the existing council of elected officials, a group that allows the chief elected officials of the Middlesex County towns, along with Lyme and Old Lyme, to meet monthly to discuss regional and state issues that effect each of the municipalities.

Walter said state officials, including leaders in the General Assembly, are pushing to reduce the number of state supported regional planning agencies. He said the elected first selectmen of the Connecticut River Valley had proposed merging the Old Saybrook-based Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency and the Middletown-based Midstate Regional Planning Agency to avoid the possibility that area towns could be shifted under a state mandate to much larger regional organizations based in Hartford, New Haven, and Norwich. “This is a positive step and also a defensive step,” Walter said.

The 17 towns currently served by the Estuary and Midstate regional planning agencies would have the option to join the proposed Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments. Under the plan, the council governments, made up of each town’s chief elected official, would serve as the board of directors for a merged regional planning agency serving the river valley region. Walter said the state has about $250,000 set aside to assist the merger plan.

The proposed member towns of the new council of governments would be the Estuary towns of Chester,Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook, and the Midstate towns of Cromwell, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Middlefield, Middletown, and Portland. Approval from at least nine towns would be required to establish the COG.

Deep River voters approved resolutions supporting the RPA merger and the new council of governments at a Feb. 28 town meeting. Walter said the plan has also been approved by Cromwell, East Haddam, Haddam, Killingworth, and Portland. The Chester Board of Selectmen has discussed the plan, and is expected to bring resolutions supporting the changes to a town meeting vote later this spring. The April 4 public hearing in Essex is set for 6:30 p.m. at town hall.

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Area Legislative Districts Remain Intact After 10-Year Redistricting

AREAWIDE— The state House and Senate districts that cover Chester, Deep River, and Essex have remained largely unchanged by the 10-year legislative redistricting. Redistricting of the state 151 House districts and 36 Senate districts is required every ten years after completion of the national census.

In maps released Thursday by the General Assembly redistricting panel, the 36th House District will remain comprised of the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam. The four Connecticut River valley towns have been together in a single House district since 2002, though from 1992 to 2002 Chester, Deep River, and Essex were in district that also included Lyme and portions of Old Saybrook. The district is currently represented by Democratic State Rep. Phil Miller, the former Essex first selectman who won the seat in a special election held last February.

Chester, Deep River and Essex will also remain in a largely unchanged 33rd Senate district. The 33rd Senate District will remain comprised of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and portions of Old Saybrook. The district, with some changes after the 2001 redistricting, has been represented since 1992 by Democratic State Senator Eileen Daily of Westbrook.

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Departing Essex First Selectman Philip Miller Looks Back at his Record of Service to the Town

Former First Selectman Philip Miller at the new boat ramp at the end of Main Street in Essex

Question:What were your first priorities as First Selectman of Essex?

Miller: Several things; first, my philosophy was to promote Essex’s  commercial and light industrial base, and to keep residential taxation manageable, not by offering tax breaks or other gimmicks, but by keeping our tax rate low and investing in infrastructure. This would enable us to move goods and people safely and efficiently, and to avoid costlier deferred maintenance later in our facilities.

 

Question: Did you inherit a lot of deferred maintenance in the town, when you first took office?

Miller: Yes, we did have a lot of deferred maintenance, because in the nineties our population grew rapidly, and we added so many more children in our schools that in order to keep taxes from rising dramatically, maintenance had been sacrificed here and there.

 

Question: How did you address this problem?

Miller: We have a small municipal workforce, so I recruited talented, citizen volunteers to help research grants and to write them, and when grants were approved, these volunteers helped us to prepare bid packages, choose subcontractors, and review plans with our professionals. Also, we have used our Public Works Director, David Caroline, as our General Contractor, and we subcontracted out labor and materials.

 

Question: Did you encounter any problems with the approach?

Miller: With a few of a dozen projects we faced some delays, as with our first Small Cities grant at Essex Court, and with an Essex Elementary School project. Also, on a few occasions, when our applications were stalled, we received some helpful advocacy from our legislators like Senator Eileen Daily.

 

Question: What are some specific grants that you were successful in getting?

Miller: Well, the $190,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) funded three projects; (1) reconstructed the boat launch at the end of Main Street last winter; (2) the recently completed Novelty Lane public access project, which received some financial help from a neighbor to resolve a drainage issue; and (3) construction of a new paddle launch also at the foot of Main Street. Yet another grant also allowed for the construction of a new paddle park at the foot of Teal Lane off of Bushnell, where the Harbor Commission and our Public Works people built an observation deck, kayak racks and added landscape improvements to accommodate our ever increasing paddling public, who enjoy North and South Coves.

 

Question: What do people think about these projects?

Miller: All of these projects to improve public access to the river have been well received, and we also have benefited by having terrific neighbors who keep an eye on these areas, which is helpful to our Commissions in charge.

 

Question: Were there any other similar grants before these?

Miller: Yes, this was the fourth STEAP grant that Essex solicited and received, and there were three earlier grants of $486,000, $491,000, and $90,000. These earlier grants funded new street lights, new curbs and sidewalks, and rebuilt drainage systems in both downtown Essex and in downtown Ivoryton. A $90,000 STEAP grant also enabled us to build a sidewalk connector from Main Street in Ivoryton to Pond Meadow.

 

Question: Any other grants that you wish to mention?

Miller: Yes, we received a $450,000 Federal Safe Routes to School grant, which will be used next spring to rebuild the existing sidewalk which runs from downtown Ivoryton through Centerbrook. Also, we received a $135,000 state transportation planning grant, and a federal Weatherization grant of $44,000, which has been used to replace thermostats and windows at Town Hall.

 

Question: Any others?

Miller: In addition to these, our Emergency Management Director, Bill Buckridge, has researched and written other successful grants, which has funded our   generator at Town Hall, and enabled us to modernize and advance our communications capabilities. Buckridge teams with his Assistant Stewart Schenk, and the officers of the Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services.

 

Question: Who deserves the credit for the town’s successful grant program?

Miller: The people who have been instrumental in our success have been our Public Works people; our Treasurer Bob Dixon; our Selectmans’ Assistant and Grants Administrator Maria Lucarelli; Deputy Treasurer Kelly Sterner; our Planner John Guszkowski; our Town Clerk Fran Nolin; our Economic Development Commissioners Lee Thompson and John Beveridge; our Harbor Commissioners Jeff Going and Joe Zaraschi; and our Harbormaster Paul Riggio. We have also had some very good partners at some State agencies, like the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Department of Transportation.

 

Question: Anyone else you want to thank?

Miller: Yes, I want to say that our Park and Recreation Commission continue to make substantive improvements to our parks. They seem to get a lot done on a modest budget, and they are currently raising funds for the Basketball Center and supporting an effort to upgrade Grove Street Park, which is a necessity as it gets a lot of use. Also, it is such a nice place for a park. Also, I want to thank Frank Hall, Keith Christman and the Essex Citizens for Clean Energy, who helped us, get a Town Hall grant and photo-voltaic arrays for both the Town transfer station and John Winthrop Middle School.

 

Question: What’s ahead for the Town’s future, now that you are stepping down as First Selectman of Essex?

Miller: I believe that the Town must continue to upgrade emergency response capabilities, and we shall need to execute more capital projects in the next few years. I know that the new Board of Selectmen of Norman Needleman, Stasia Rice-Libby and Joel Marzi will do an excellent job of recruitment, preparation, evaluation and execution of these Town improvements. Coupled with some new potential open space acquisitions, this will strengthen the Town for many years to come.

 

Question: I have heard that in your service as First Selectman, you brought $5 million in federal and state grants to the Town of Essex. Is this true?

Miller: Yes, it is.

 

(Phil Miller served as First Selectman of Essex from 2003 to 2011).

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