February 6, 2023

Courtney Approves Iraq Withdrawal Plans by President

A message from Congressman Joe Courtney.

Rep. Courtney and Connecticut's Captain Frank R. DuVerger III in Afghanistan this month

Last week, President Obama announced that all U.S. military personnel will be out of Iraq by the end of the year. Many of our servicemen and women who have been away from their families for too many birthdays, milestones and celebrations during the war will be home this holiday season.

President Obama’s decision to protect U.S. military personnel from unacceptable exposure to prosecution in Iraqi courts and instead execute the final removal of American troops from Iraq is the right decision for both countries. This milestone was achieved through negotiations between our two countries that provided a clear path for the transition of responsibility to the Iraqi government. After eight long years, our brave volunteers have given that country the opportunity to create its own future with a sizable security force and the rudiments of democratic institutions.

With the Fifth Fleet nearby in Bahrain and U.S. bases in Kuwait and Qatar, our ability to respond to any threat to American national security in the region is more than adequate. As the President said, our two nations will continue to have a special relationship for many years to come, built on the sacrifice and effort of our troops. Now is the time to pay particular homage to all who served in Iraq and their families – the “one percent” who have stepped up and volunteered to wear our nation’s uniform through a difficult time in our history.

On the ground in Afghanistan

 Of course, even as American troops leave Iraq, our servicemen and women remain on the ground in Afghanistan. Earlier this month, as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I visited the country, where I was briefed on operations, met with Connecticut troops and top commanders, and learned more about the training of Afghan police and military personnel. Most importantly, General John Allen, commander of U.S./NATO troops, gave an encouraging brief on the planned draw down of U.S. troops: 10,000 this year and 23,000 by the fall of 2012. 48% of the Afghan nation will be under the control of the Afghanis in the near future, and the transition will continue until full control of Afghanistan’s future is in the hands of the Afghan people.

This was my third trip to Afghanistan since coming to Congress, and the progress was plain to see. More girls and young women are traveling to and from school, the education system has improved, and security forces are better trained and better equipped to keep the peace. While there are substantial hurdles left to clear, these are encouraging milestones that demonstrate movement in the right direction.

But to have gotten to this point – a place where real progress is clear – is a testament to the strength, bravery and resolve our military. As the war in Iraq winds down, their hard work has brought us to a place where, after 10 long years, Afghans are on the brink of reclaiming their country and their future.

Town of Essex Seeking Commission Members

The Town of Essex is looking for registered voter citizen volunteers to serve. There are available vacant positions for the following Commissions:

  • Two Alternates on the Conservation Commission – 3 year term
  • An Alternate on the Park and Recreation Commission – 3 year term
  • Regular and Alternate Member of the (dual) Sanitary Waste Commission and Water Pollution Control Authority – 2 year term
  • An Alternate on Zoning Board of Appeals – 3 year term
  • A Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency Member – 2 year term 

Commitments vary, as some are filling vacancies with tenure limits.  These Commissions meet monthly, and the recent posted agendas and minutes may be viewed at www.essexct.gov under Meeting Information.

Please send letter of interest to the Selectmen’s Office, 29 West Avenue , Essex , CT 06426 or by email to pmiller@essexct.gov

 Maria P. Lucarelli
Administrative Assistant to the Board of Selectmen
Town of Essex
(860) 767-4340 x112
(860) 767-8509 Fax

Phil Miller: Will Vote No On Any Budget Without Comprehensive Property Tax Reform Plan

ESSEX, CT– Essex First Selectman and 36th District State Representative candidate Phil Miller today responded to Governor Malloy’s budget address, saying he will not vote for any budget proposal until the legislature has a comprehensive plan for property tax reform.

“I’ve balanced budgets here in Essex for the past eight years. I’ve made the painful cuts necessary to fund local programs, and I applaud Governor Malloy for his efforts to cut billions in spending. I know from experience tough decisions aren’t easy.” Miller said, “But we must go further to reduce the tax burden, and the time for real, concrete property tax reform is now. I will go to Hartford and fight for that change next week.”

Miller’s opponent Janet Peckinpaugh was caught off guard when asked about property tax reform at a recent debate in Essex, telling the audience “Wow. That’s something I really haven’t thought about.” A clip of her response to the question can be found here.

“All of my opponent’s talk on taxes rings hollow,” Miller said, “If you haven’t thought about property taxes, how can you fight to reduce them? I think about property taxes every day as the First Selectman of Essex. This archaic system needs a major overhaul to lift the burden of this regressive tax on our citizens.”

“Our state is facing the worst fiscal mess in decades and it will take very difficult choices to balance the budget. It won’t be pleasant—but the hard choices never are. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to go to Hartford and fight for the interests of the people of this District, and have an honest discussion about the needs of our state, starting with reforming the property tax system,” Miller added.

Phil Miller, elected Essex First Selectman in 2003, has an established record passing balanced budgets and reducing the size of local government.

The 36th District includes the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

Peckinpaugh Opposes Malloy Tax Plan

Says Passage Would Kill Jobs in CT River Valley.

Janet Peckinpaugh, Republican candidate for state representative for 36th House District

Essex, CT – Janet Peckinpaugh, Republican candidate for state representative for the 36th House District (Chester, Deep River, Essex, Haddam) said Monday she would vote against the historic tax increase offered by Gov. Dan Malloy, which would raise state income taxes, sales tax and end many tax exemptions for the boating industry, if approved.

“The Malloy tax plan is a disaster for our towns and our state,” Peckinpaugh said. “While we haven’t been given many specifics on spending cuts, we clearly see that Hartford Democrats default to what they know best – raise taxes on the people who are already tapped out.”

The Malloy plan to raise marginal tax rates up to 6.75 percent on incomes will inhibit investment and slow down an already weak economy.  But the Connecticut River Valley would particularly suffer from Malloy’s proposal to end some of the tax exemptions on the boating industry, a local industry that provides jobs and revenue and sustains many small businesses.

“Our boating industry has managed to stay competitive with neighboring states because of these exemptions,” Peckinpaugh said. “This short-sighted plan may sink the industry just like federal tax increases damaged shipyards in 1991.”

Peckinpaugh also reiterated her opposition to allowing cities and towns to generate more tax revenues through special taxes assessed at the local level.

“The last thing we need to do is allow more politicians the power to tax anything that moves,” Peckinpaugh said. “We need to have spending cuts that get to the heart of our deficit and not simply pawn off the problem through higher taxes. How much do the people in Hartford think we have to give for their fiscal mismanagement?”

The Big Quiz Thing – Ivoryton Playhouse, Mar. 5

Library trustee Karen Burzin checks out the multimedia quiz show pamphlet. Committee members not shown are Ellen Wexler, Louisa Ketron, Pam Murphy, and trustees Julian Evans and Chris Pagliuco.

The Ivoryton Library Association is hosting THE BIG QUIZ THING, a new and exciting interactive quiz show.  THE BIG QUIZ THING is a multimedia live game show hosted by Noah Tarnow.  Throughout New York, Boston, and soon, Ivoryton, CT, Noah creates an evening that will test your knowledge of trivia in music, business, sports, and beyond.  As a team of four to eight players, groups will collaborate to answer these questions.  The library can place you on a team or you may form your own group.  Participation in the trivia show is optional, as interested ticket holders may prefer to simply observe the show.

The Ivoryton Library Association is excited to bring this cultural event to the historic Ivoryton Playhouse on Saturday March 5.  The event begins at 7pm.  A cash bar is available along with hors d’oeuvres, prizes, and silent auction items.  All proceeds will benefit the Ivoryton Library Association.  This event is being funded in part by Merrill Lynch Financial Services Corporation.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.  Tickets may be purchased at the library located on Main Street in Ivoryton.  For more information please visit

http://www.ivoryton.com, or contact the library directly at (860) 767-1252.

Meet the Candidates at Chester Village West

Phil Miller

Janet Peckinpaugh

Phillip Miller and Janet Peckinpaugh, candidates running in a special election for State Representative, 36th district, will speak and be available to answer questions at Chester Village West on Thursday, February 17 at 4:30 pm. The 36th district includes Haddam, Chester, Deep River and Essex. The election is on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

Janet Peckinpaugh, the Republican candidate, is a former news anchor and local business owner. She ran against Congressman Joe Courtney in the November 2010 election.

Phillip Miller, the Democratic candidate, is currently serving in his fourth term as Essex First Selectman.

The public is welcome to attend. Chester Village West is located at 317 West Main Street, Chester. Please call 860-526-6800 for directions or information.

Winter Walk at Falls River Preserve and Jean’s Island

This is the year’s kick-off event for the Essex Great Outdoor Pursuit, co-sponsored by the Essex Land Trust and the Essex Park and Recreation Department, will be a winter walk at Falls River Preserve and Jean’s Island, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 19 starting at 10 a.m. at Falls River Preserve.

Naturalist Phil Miller and Preserve steward John Matthiessen will lead groups through the spectacular Falls River Preserve. Walk to Jean’s Island if the ice is thick. Stop for cocoa after the hike at Barbara Sarrantonio and Ed Marlowe’s home, adjacent to the preserve.

The mission of the Essex Great Outdoor Pursuit is to bring the families of Essex together through positive and healthy outdoor endeavors, while increasing the presence and awareness of our local parks, open spaces, and preserves. For more information, please visit the Park and Recreation website: http://essexct.recdesk.com/recdeskportal/

Park at the end of Falls River Drive in Ivoryton. Only really bad weather (blizzard or torrential rain) cancels. For more information about the event please contact Peggy Tuttle at 860-767-7916 or e-mail peggytuttle@gmail.com.

Falls River Walk

Jeans Island Winter Walk

Congressman Joe Courtney Endorses Phil Miller

Congressman Joe Courtney and Essex First Selectman and 36th District House candidate Phil Miller

Essex First Selectman and 36th District House candidate Phil Miller received the endorsement of Congressman Joe Courtney today.

“Phil is an independent minded leader who has a real record of accomplishment that Connecticut needs right now,” Courtney said, “I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Phil in his role as First Selectman on both Essex and regional issues.   Phil has an impressive ability to build consensus and find innovative solutions to difficult challenges.”

Phil Miller, elected Essex First Selectman in 2003, has an established record passing balanced budgets and reducing the size of local government. 

The 36th District includes the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

Phil Miller Receives the Endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club CT Chapter

Phil Miller

ESSEX, CT– Essex First Selectman and 36th District House candidate Phil Miller received endorsements from the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters and the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club. 

Both organizations recognized Miller’s outspoken advocacy for protecting Connecticut’s land, air, and water.  Prior to being elected First Selectman of Essex, Miller worked to build the Bushy Hill Nature Center from a small summer camp into an environmental education resource visited by thousands area school children each year. 

“Phil Miller’s environmental ethic clearly runs deep.” said Lori Brown, CTLCV Executive Director.  “His commitment to sustainability, coupled with his success in managing municipal operations, his collaborative style, and his experience with state agencies and regional planning organizations set him up as a newcomer to watch.  We’re delighted to endorse him.”

Martin Mador, Political Co-Chair and Legislative Chair from the Sierra Club Connecticut Chapter, pointed to Miller’s knowledge and experience:

“Our decision is based on your thoughtful responses to our questionnaire, the endorsement interview, your accomplishments as four term First Selectman of Essex, and your extended record of commitment to environmental issues,” Mador said in a release. 

Phil Miller was elected Essex First Selectman in 2003. 

The 36th District includes the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, and Haddam.

Peckinpaugh for Congress Files Amended Federal Election Commission Report

ESSEX, CT – The Peckinpaugh for Congress campaign filed an amendment to its 2010  finance report with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Feb. 2.

The amended report may be viewed online on the FEC website.

To ensure that the campaign complied with all regulations regarding the federal campaign finance law, the campaign amended its federal election reports, adding additional information in subcategories, said Paul Maxwell, who was treasurer for Peckinpaugh for Congress, in which Essex resident Janet Peckinpaugh ran for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Peckinpaugh currently is running in a Feb. 22 special election to represent the residents of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam in the state’s 36th House of Representatives District.
 “Any omission from the reports was clearly an oversight,” Peckinpaugh said. “Criticism of the filing is simply an attempt to distract voters from my opponent’s support for Governor Malloy’s intention to allow local governments to raise taxes.”