April 16, 2014

Courtney Staff Host Office Hours in Old Saybrook, Thursday

On Thursday, April 17, representatives from US Congressman Joe Courtney’s office will be at the Action Library, 60 Old Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Members of Courtney’s staff will be available to take questions or concerns on any issue of importance, and to work with constituents who may be having issues with a federal agency.

As part of an effort to bring federal resources closer to his constituents, Courtney’s staff has been traveling the district to provide constituent services in local communities and meet with individuals at a location convenient for them.

Walk-ins are welcome, but if you wish to let Courtney’s office know in advance that you are coming, contact  Taijah Anderson in the Norwich District Office at 860-886-0139.

This opportunity is for individuals only.  If a group would like to meet with Courtney’s staff, contact the Norwich District Office at the number above.


Lyme Democrats Endorse Bjornberg, Stone

Emily Bjornberg

Emily Bjornberg

In addition to endorsing those democratic incumbent state office holders who have announced their intent to run for reelection, the Lyme Democratic Caucus endorsed two newcomers to the State scene: Mary Stone for State Representative, and Emily Bjornberg for State Senate.

The chairman of the Caucus, Steven Mattson, commented, “We are extremely pleased to endorse state legislative candidates as well qualified as Mary and Emily,”

Emily Bjornberg is a Lyme resident and is running for the seat once held by Eileen Dailey.  “Emily is an exceptionally strong candidate, and we are confident she will be a superior Senator for the 33rd Senate District,” according to Mattson.  The 33rd district covers Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.  The seat is currently held by Republican Art Linares.

Mary Stone

Mary Stone

Mary Stone is an Old Lyme resident, who is running for the 23rd Assembly District consisting of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and part of Westbrook.  This is an open seat, due to the decision of Marilyn Giuliani not to seek reelection.

“Mary is the perfect candidate for this district,” according to Claire Sauer, who represented much of this district when she represented the 36th Assembly District.

Stone currently serves on the Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals and is a former member of the Region 18 Board of Education.


Stone Announces Candidacy for Giuliano’s Seat

Mary Stone

Mary Stone

Democrat Mary Stone of Old Lyme will formally announce her candidacy for State Representative of the 23rd district of the Connecticut General Assembly next Friday.  The 23rd District includes the towns of Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Lyme, along with coastal Westbrook.

The seat is currently held by Republican Marilyn Giuliano, who has served for six terms and recently announced her decision not to run for a seventh.

Stone has been a full-time community volunteer for the past 20 years, most notably serving eight years on the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education and as president of the Friends of the Old Lyme-PGN Library.  She currently serves as Secretary of the Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals and the Lyme-Old Lyme Education Foundation, and as an Alternate on the Open Space Commission.  Her volunteer efforts have centered on public education, protection of children, and good government.

Stone’s campaign for State Representative will focus on job creation and training, public education and mental health resources, storm preparedness and recovery, and protecting the lower Connecticut River valley.  “My greatest satisfaction comes from helping individuals and communities achieve their goals through effective government.  As State Representative, I will work tirelessly for better outcomes for our towns.”

A writer and editor with a background in industrial design, Stone and her family have lived in Old Lyme since 1993.


Lanier Announces Candidacy for Giuliano’s State Rep. Position, Giuliano Stepping Down

Vicki Lanier (R) of Old Lyme, announced today her candidacy for state representative for the 23rd district of  the Connecticut State Assembly serving the towns of Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, Lyme and a portion of Westbrook.

The seat is currently held by Marilyn Giuliano, who has announced her intention not to run after six terms of service.

Lanier states, “I am excited and honored for the opportunity to effectively represent all the people of the 23rd district.  My professional accomplishments and first-hand experience in realizing goals through hard work and perseverance will help me serve my fellow citizens with the right balance of practical experience and good legislative judgment.”

Lanier, born and raised in Old Lyme, was elected to the Region 18 Board of Education in 2009, where she served as treasurer and chair of the finance committee from 2011-2013.  She holds a Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac University and currently manages a private legal firm focusing on family law.  In addition, she volunteers her time and experience to various women’s groups and is active in local community efforts.


CT Republicans Demand Public Hearing on Common Core, Pushes to Freeze Implementation

Rep. Marilyn Giuliano, who represents the 23rd district

Rep. Marilyn Giuliano, who represents the 23rd district

Yesterday, House Republicans forced Democrats to conduct a formal public hearing on the controversial Common Core state standards, the public school teacher evaluation process, and the transition from Connecticut Mastery testing to the computerized Smarter Balanced assessment.

The Republican caucus said they felt it necessary that the voices of all stakeholders be heard – parents, teachers, students and education experts – a step they contend was neglected by the majority party in the Education Committee.

Republicans resorted to a seldom used petitioning process under House Rule 11 that calls for a required 51 signatures from legislators in order to trigger legislation to be raised and a public hearing to be held.  The two bills target stakeholder input on the Common Core – one drafted by State Rep. Marilyn Giuliano of Old Saybrook, and the other by the House Republican Caucus – and were denied public hearings by the majority party chairs of the legislature’s Education Committee.

The bill proposed by Giuliano would freeze the implementation of the Common Core curriculum until all stakeholders have time to examine its potential effects and consider possible changes.  The other Republican bill codifies the proposals brought forth by the committee created to establish teacher evaluation standards known as the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council.

The Democratic leadership had only agreed to have an informational hearing where the speakers would be selected ahead of time and public input would be excluded.

Giuliano has witnessed firsthand the reaction to Common Core.  “I received a large amount of feedback from my constituents that led me to investigate Common Core more deeply,” said Giuliano, who is employed as the school psychologist at Mile Creek School in Old Lyme.

Giuliano comments, “The pace of implementing the standards is quick in that it does not accommodate various rates of student learning.  Standards are a good idea, and masteries are an absolutely critical idea, but education up until this time has always accommodated individual students’ developmental learning curves.”

A coalition of 500 national early childhood experts has signed a petition citing the Common Core State Standards as developmentally inappropriate for learners in grades Kindergarten through grade three, said Giuliano

“Without a doubt, the debate over Common Core has turned into a controversial topic throughout the country and especially in Connecticut.  The concerns of parents and educators need to be heard, “said Giuliano.

Editor’s Note: Marilyn Giuliano is State Representative for the 23rd District where she is serving her sixth term representing the shoreline communities of Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and the southern portion of Westbrook. 


Giuliano to Host Community Forum to Discuss Common Core

Marilyn Giuliano

Marilyn Giuliano

Amid concerns about Common Core Standards being implemented in public schools across Connecticut, State Representative Marilyn Giuliano (R-23) has scheduled a community forum to give people an opportunity to obtain information about the new standards, ask questions and voice concerns.

The event will be held on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Multimedia Room at Theresa Mulvey Town Hall at 866 Boston Post Road in Westbrook.  It is free and open to the public.

If readers are unable to attend the session, Giuliano invites you to contact her directly at Marilyn.Giuliano@housegop.ct.gov or call 860.240.8700.


No More Silence: Local Moms to Honor Newtown Anniversary in Hartford This Afternoon

12/14 Update — Event Cancelled Due to Storm:  On Saturday, Dec. 14, moms and others who support the same goals will gather at over 50 events in more than 35 states to honor the victims of the tragedy in Newtown and the thousands of Americans lost to gun violence every year.  All events will include a communal bell-ringing to remember the victims and to show resolve to never again be silent about gun violence.

These events are co-sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America .

In Hartford at the event starting at 2 p.m. at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church, 814 Asylum Ave., attendees will hear from Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, Senator Beth Bye, Kara Nelson Baekey, Rev. Henry Brown, Mrs. Henrietta Beckman, and Iran Nazario about the need to reduce gun violence.

Local sponsors, with whom a common goal of gun violence prevention is shared, include Step Up, Step Out at Asylum Hill Congregational Church and Mothers United Against Violence.

Bells will be rung loudly, honoring the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy with a promise to continue making noise on gun reform until change comes.

For more information, visit http://momsdemandaction.org/no-more-silence/

Speakers will include:

  • Kara Nelson Baekey, Chapter Leader, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
  • Rev. Matthew Laney, Asylum Hill Congregational Church
  • U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
  • U.S. Senator Chris Murphy
  • State Senator Beth Bye
  • Rev. Henry Brown, President, Mothers United Against Violence
  • Mrs. Henrietta Beckman, Director, Mothers United Against Violence
  • Iran Nazario, Director of Peacebuilders and Community Relations, COMPASS Youth Collaborative, Inc.

Much like Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created to change laws regarding drunk driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to build support for common-sense gun reforms. The nonpartisan grassroots movement of American mothers is demanding new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our children and families.

In nearly one year, the organization has more than 127,000 members with a chapter in every state in the country.

For more information or to get involved, visit www.momsdemandaction.org.  Follow the organization on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MomsDemandAction or on Twitter @MomsDemand.

Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 1,000 mayors from across the country. The organization has more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making it the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.

The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation’s mayors around these common goals:

  • protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable
  • demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking
  • working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns.

Learn more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org


Democrats Sweep Old Lyme Elections, Including All Five BOE Seats

Jean Wilczynski (left) celebrates with fellow Democrat Diane Linderman after both heard they had won seats on the District 18 Board of Education.

Jean Wilczynski (left) celebrates with fellow Democrat Diane Linderman after both heard they had won seats on the District 18 Board of Education.

Democrats swept to victory in the handful of contested races in Old Lyme’s local elections Tuesday.  Asked her reaction to the clean sweep, the overjoyed Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder responded to LymeLine, “I’m amazed. I’m delighted … I’m speechless.”  After a few seconds, she added, “We put up an excellent slate of candidates,” noting, “When you look at their credentials, they’re a strong and diverse group of candidates — I’m sure they will serve the town very well.”

The most watched contest was for the five open seats on the District 18 Board of Education and the final result saw the five Democrats — one of whom, Rick Goulding, was cross-endorsed by the Republicans — take all five seats.

Petitioning candidate — and incumbent – Russ Gomes, who was not endorsed by the Republicans he has represented on the board for the past 16 years, failed in his bid to secure re-election for an additional two years.

Turnout was low for this off-year election with only 1,599 residents voting out of a total of 6,668 registered voters in Old Lyme.  There were 59 absentee ballots and 4 Election Day Registrations (EDR).

The final vote tallies, with elected candidates shown in red, were:

First Selectman
Bonnie Reemsnyder (D) - 1,167

Arthur E. Sibley (R) – 684
Mary Jo Nosal (D) – 849

Town Clerk
Eileen Coffee (R) – 1,083

Board of Finance – Full term
Janet Sturges (R) – 1,005
Christopher Kerr (R) – 980

Board of Finance – Alternate
Robert Jose (R) – 798

J. David Kelsey (R) – 940
Bennett Bernblum (D) – 973

Board of Assessment Appeals
Tim Griswold (R) – 735
George Finlay (D) – 805

Planning – 5 year term begins 2013
Donald Willis (R) – 678
Edgar Butcher (D) – 781

Planning – 5 year term begins 2014
Steven Ross (R) – 949

Zoning - 5 year term begins 2013
John Johnson (R) – 905

Zoning - 5 year term begins 2014
Tom Risom (R) – 681
Joseph G. Soucie (D) – 765

Zoning Board of Appeals -  5 year term begins 2013
Martha Rumskas (R) – 551
Mary Stone (D) – 897

Zoning Board of Appeals -  5 year term begins 2014
Arthur Sibley, Sr. (R) – 954

Zoning Board of Appeals – Alternate
Laurie O’Brien (R) – 887

Harry Plaut (R) – 858

Board of Education – Full term
Kirk Hoerauf (R) – 549
Maxwell Greenwood (R) – 528
Steven Cinami (R) – 586
Jean Wilczynski (D) – 975
Diane Linderman (D) – 905
Rick Goulding (D) – 1,401
Nancy Lucas Edson (D) – 845

Board of Education – 2 year term
Stephen Spooner (R) – 510
Sarah Smalley (D) – 756
Russ Andrew Gomes, Jr. (R – petitioning candidate) – 246




It’s Election Day! Don’t Forget to Vote, Read How Old Lyme Board of Education Candidates Responded to our Questions

Election Day is today, Tuesday, Nov. 5.  Polling Stations are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Hamburg Firehouse for Lyme residents and Cross Lane Firehouse for Old Lyme residents.  The Old Lyme election results will be published on LymeLine within minutes of their announcement.

We invited the candidates for the five Old Lyme board of education seats open on the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education to send us their biography and then respond to the same three questions.  In Lyme, incumbent Beth Jones (D) is not only cross-endorsed, but also the sole candidate for the single seat open in that town.

The questions posed to the Old Lyme candidates were:

  1. Name the three characteristics (one word for each) that you believe will make you an effective member of the board of education?  Expand on the one that you feel should be most significant to the voters.
  2. What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools in the next four years?
  3. If you could achieve one objective — and only one — during your term on the Region 18 Board of Education, what would it be?

Today, as a service to our community, we are pleased to publish their responses.

The first three responses are from the candidates contesting the two years remaining of incumbent Steve Spooner’s term. Because Spooner was elected in a Special Election, he is required to run again for the balance of his term in this full election.  Even if any of the candidates for the two-year term receive more votes than candidates for the four-year term, he/she cannot be elected to it.  One candidates from these three will be elected for a two-year term:

Russell Gomes (incumbent – R) running as a petitioning candidate

Sarah Smalley (D)

Steve Spooner (incumbent – R)

Four candidates from these seven will be elected for four-year terms:

Steve Cinami (incumbent – R)

Nancy Lucas Edson (D)

Rick Goulding (D) cross-endorsed by the Republicans

Max Greenwood (R) – no responses received

Kirk Hoerauf (R)

Diane Linderman (D)

Jean Wilczynski (D)

Click on each candidate’s last name above to view their responses.

We would like to express our appreciation to the candidates for taking the time to respond to our questions.



See the BOE Candidate’s Debate on YouTube

The debate between the District 18 Board of Education candidates was recorded by Old Lyme resident Tim Devlin and can be viewed on YouTube.com at http://youtu.be/mxE8UTrRTBc

Many thanks to Tim for providing this community service.



Responses to our Questions from the Lyme BOE Candidate

Although incumbent Beth Jones of Lyme is unopposed and cross-endorsed as the candidate for the Lyme seat on the Region 18 Board of Education in tomorrow’s election, she has chosen to answer the questions we posed to the Old Lyme candidates.  We are pleased to publish her responses today and apologize for the delay in their publication due to an oversight on our part.

Beth Jones – (Incumbent – Democrat) – Cross-endorsed by the Republicans

jones_yale web photoBeth  Jones  has  represented Lyme on the  BOE for the last 6 years.  She is the Chair of the Human Resources Committee and serves on the Policy and Enrollment Committees.  She is married to a local pediatrician and has 3 children all of whom were students in  Region 18 since preschool or kindergarten.  Two are recent graduates of the LOLHS and a third child is still a student at the High School.  Dr. Jones is on the faculty at the Yale School of Public Health, Yale School of Medicine.  She  is a cancer epidemiologist whose teaching and research focus on  health disparities.

Name the three characteristics (one word for each) that you believe will make you an effective member of the board of education?  Expand on the one that you feel should be most significant to the voters.

I aspire to be open-minded.  While I hope that I bring other positive qualities to the BOE, I believe that it is this quality that is most critical for effective board membership.  Open-mindedness generally requires that one listens with the intent of understanding a different perspective, respects the individuals who represent a different point of view, and is willing to make concessions when necessary.  Admittedly, when one’s general inclination is to be opinionated- as is true for almost anyone who is interested in serving on the BOE- it isn’t an easy task.    

What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools in the next four years?

Maintaining creativity in teaching, in learning, in thinking, in planning, while  dealing with the march toward standardization of …teaching, learning, thinking, etc.

If you could achieve one objective — and only one — during your term on the Region 18 Board of Education, what would it be?

I would like to see the BOE and administration reframe the discussion on declining enrollment into an opportunity rather than a problem.  While there are some logistical challenges in determining the best strategies for maintaining the same breadth of academic and extracurricular activities with fewer students, I have great faith in the ability of our administrators and staff to develop creative solutions.   However, with a relatively small student body, there is a unique opportunity to ensure that every child not only meets academic benchmarks, but finds something to love, whether it be sports, art, leadership, community service, politics, etc.   The challenge for the Board will be to see beyond the cost per student issue and make the case that the best long-term strategy for protecting property values and assuring the economic and social viability of our towns is to continue to invest in an excellent school system.


Letter to the Editor: 16-Year BOE Veteran Gomes Makes Case For His Own Re-election

To the Editor:

Please accept my thanks to all who planned, attended, or participated in the Meet the Candidates event last week.  We are fortunate to have so many people willing to serve our community.

I have always considered it a privilege to represent the people of Old Lyme on our Board of Education.  During my 16 years on the school board, I have served as Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary.  My tenure on the school board has been marked by my total commitment to our students and our residents.  Over the course of the past 16 years, I have represented our school board at CABE (CT Assn. of Boards of Education) Conferences and traveled at my own expense to support our award-winning Techno-Ticks.

Nearly 10 years ago, I worked with the high school business department to make their vision of a School Store managed by students a reality.  I have worked directly with our local legislators to secure school funding, often attending Legislative Hearings at the Capital to support our schools.

There is no question that new challenges await us in this 21st century.

Declining enrollments, curriculum mandates and new technologies require administrators, teachers, and board members willing to think “outside the box.”  It is that kind of thinking that has defined the High School Building Committee, which I have been honored to chair for the past 6 years.

Under my leadership, our Building Committee was successful in reducing the projected building project cost by $4.6 million, while earning a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver designation for our high school.  I hope our residents share my pride in what is now one of the most modern and energy efficient schools in our state.

Although our official ribbon-cutting took place earlier this month, the commissioning of our new high school is not yet complete.

I am seeking election to the Board for an additional two years because I would like to oversee the completion of the project, and honor my commitment to the students and residents in our towns.

I ask for your support on November 5.

Thank you.


Russ Gomes,
Old Lyme.


Letter to the Editor: Vote the Democratic Slate on Nov. 5

To the Editor:

I ask voters to support the Old Lyme Democratic candidates in the Nov. 5 election.

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder has remarkable leadership and management skills: she researches issues, listens to all viewpoints, promotes cooperation among diverse groups, and translates ideas into action.  Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal has shown energy and enthusiasm in her tireless work for our community.  These selectwomen have used their knowledge of the procedures of our town government to maintain community ideals, and they deserve re-election.

Board of Education candidates Jean Wilczynski, Diane Linderman, Richard Goulding, Nancy Lucas Edson, and Sarah Smalley are all highly qualified to serve our students.  They are well-informed on our school district’s financial and educational issues, and will carefully monitor the expenditure of each tax dollar.

Bennett Bernblum does valuable work as a Board of Finance Alternate.  George Finlay, Board of Assessment Appeals candidate, has a wealth of career experience and familiarity with Old Lyme since 1945.  Edgar Butcher, Planning Commission candidate, is knowledgeable on both planning and zoning issues from his long service in Enfield and Old Lyme.  Zoning Commission candidate Joseph “Gil” Soucie has 40 years’ experience in commercial banking and real estate.  Mary Stone, on the Zoning Board of Appeals, has demonstrated a keen understanding of zoning issues and deserves your vote to continue for another term.

These Democratic candidates have demonstrated the ability to listen carefully, communicate, and implement with fiscal responsibility. I urge you to vote for them on Nov. 5.


Adam S. Burrows,
Old Lyme.


Early-Birds – ‘Meet and Greet’ the Candidates This Morning at OL Library Between 8 and 9

The Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library is hosting a ‘Meet & Greet’ this morning from 8 to 9 a.m. for all the candidates for the upcoming election.

It will be a casual coffee hour allowing the candidates to speak for a few minutes about themselves and their goals for their prospective positions in our community.

All are welcome.


Chamber, LYSB Host Board of Education Candidate’s Debate Tonight

Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau (LYSB) and the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsoring a “Meet the Candidates for the Board of Education Night” on Wednesday, Oct. 23.  The debate will be held in the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School auditorium starting at 7 p.m.  The Moderator will be the publisher and editor of LymeLine.com, Olwen Logan.

There are 11 candidates in total for the six open seats on the board, but in Lyme, incumbent Beth Jones (D) is not only cross-endorsed, but also the sole candidate for the single seat open in that town.

In Old Lyme, 10 candidates are running for the five open Old Lyme seats, but three are contesting the two-years remaining of incumbent Steve Spooner’s term.  Because Spooner was elected in a Special Election, he is required to run again for the balance of his term in this full election.  Even if any of the candidates for the two-year term were to receive more votes than candidates for the four-year term, he/she cannot be elected to it.

Since there are so many candidates — in contrast to previous debates — not every candidate will answer every question.

Candidates (four will be elected) for the  four-year terms are:

Nancy Lucas Edson (D) – endorsed by the Democrats

Rick Goulding (D) – cross-endorsed by both the Democrats and Republicans

Diane Linderman (D) – endorsed by the Democrats

Jean Wilczynski (D) – endorsed by the Democrats

Steven Cinami (R – incumbent) – endorsed by the Republicans

Max Greenwood (unaffiliated) - endorsed by the Republicans

Kirk Hoerauf (R) – endorsed by the Republicans


Candidates (one will be elected) for the two-year term are:

Russ Gomes (R – incumbent) – petitioning candidate

Sarah Smalley (D) – endorsed by the Democrats

Steve Spooner (R – incumbent) – endorsed by the Republicans

The Chamber and LYSB have requested that we offer LymeLine readers the opportunity to submit questions for possible inclusion in the debate.  Send your questions to editor@LymeLine.com with the subject line ‘Questions.‘  The deadline for receiving questions for consideration is Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Questions for the debate will be selected by representatives from LYSB, the Chamber and the debate moderator.

There will not be a debate for the board of selectmen candidates in Old Lyme because the three candidates — incumbents First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder (D), Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal (D) and Selectmen Arthur “Skip” Sibley (R) — are all running unopposed.  The Lyme Board of Selectmen are also running unopposed.


Voter Registration Session Set at Old Lyme Registrar’s Office, Oct. 29

The office of the Old Lyme Registrar of Voters will be open on the following dates for voter registration for the upcoming municipal election on Nov. 5:

Tuesday, Oct. 29:  9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

A limited registration session will be held Monday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for members of the armed forces or persons whose qualification as to age, citizenship or residence was attained after Oct. 29.

The deadline for mail-in voter registration is Oct. 22.  Thereafter, registration must be in person at either the registrar’s or town clerk’s office.

The deadline for in-person voter registration is Oct. 29.


Sauer to Moderate Topical Debate on Personal Privacy, National Security Issues

Former State Representative and Lyme resident Claire Sauer will moderate a forum on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at Waterford Public Library from 7 to 8:30 p.m. titled,  ’Privacy v. Security: Our Right to Know?’  The forum will explore the balance between personal privacy and national security.

The distinguished panelists are former Congressman Rob Simmons, ACLU of Connecticut Legal Director Sandra Staub and Jonathan Manes, Clinical Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School.

The forum is sponsored by the Southeast Connecticut Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters.

Waterford Public Library is located at 49 Rope Ferry Rd.

The event is free and open to the public.


SLDW Hosts Program on ‘Women, Equality & Power’

Teresa Younger

Theresa Younger

The Shoreline League of Democratic Women (SLDW) will host a program titled “Women, Equality & Power” with guest speaker Theresa Younger — the executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women — on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Henry Carter Hull Library in Clinton, CT.

There is no admission fee.

Younger will discuss the State of the State for women in Connecticut and beyond.  She will cover women’s healthcare, economic security, and other vital issues that impact women and their families.

As Executive Director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW), an arm of the General Assembly, Younger ensures the PCSW’s mandate is carried out through policy, strategic planning and operations.  Before joining the PCSW, Teresa was the Director of Affiliate Organizational Development at the American Civil Liberties Union National Office, where she assisted affiliates throughout the country with management issues.

She is the first woman and the first African American to have served as executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut.

Younger serves as President of the Board of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, and sits on the boards of the Universal Health Care Foundation, the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University, and the National Advisory Board on Religious Restrictions to Care.

She was identified by Hartford Business Journal as one of “Eight Remarkable Women in Business,” was named 2012 recipient of Connecticut-NARAL’s Catherine Roraback Award, was among the NAACP’s “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut” and has continually been recognized for her commitment to civil rights and civil liberties.

The SLDW draws membership from the towns of Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Lyme, Old Lyme, Centerbrook, Essex, Ivoryton, Deep River, Chester, Killingworth, Madison, Guilford and Branford.  The SLDW is a social and political fellowship that unites Democratic women along the shoreline, and focuses on issues important to women of all ages.

For more information on the SLDW, email sldworg@gmail.com or contact Kathleen Skoczen at 860-669-7034 or Belinda Jones at 860-399-1147 and visit www.SLDW.org.


Sulmasy Speaks on National Security Tonight

Captain Glen Sulmasy

Captain Glen Sulmasy

Capt. Glenn Sulmasy, national security law expert and popular media commentator, will speak in Old Lyme this evening on the issues created by NSA surveillance.  Sulmasy’s talk will be held in the Fellowship Hall at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and the talk beginning at 6 p.m.

Since 9/11, there has been a seismic shift in how this country views and conducts its national security efforts.  But until NSA leaker
Edward Snowden came forward to tell the world about the staggering scope of that agency’s surveillance efforts within the United States and abroad, very few were aware of it -including most of Congress.

Sulmasy, a fellow in Homeland Security and National Security Law for the Center for National Policy in Washington D.C., publishes and lectures widely on the law of armed conflict, and is a sought-after speaker on national security matters – both domestically and internationally.

Regarding Syria, Captain Sulmasy says: “A connected issue, the Syrian crisis is fascinating to watch unfold … and even better to debate. It offers the opportunity for serious dialogue on US foreign policy, diplomacy, executive power, and the role of Congress in 21st century use of force options. As the potential for attacks unfolds in the coming weeks, I have been at the center of the legal and policy debates, both within government as well as providing popular media commentary on this topic.”

Ticket price is $5, but call 860-767-0087 in advance to see if tickets are still available.  No tickets will be sold at the door.



Op-Ed: Leadership – Focusing on What Connecticut Needs Now

Toni Boucher

Toni Boucher

This op-ed is by Toni Boucher, who is a State Senator (R) representing the 26th District.  She has formed an exploratory committee for the opportunity to run for Governor.

Several weeks ago, I announced that I was exploring the opportunity to run for Governor of Connecticut.  Since then, I have spent the better part of every day listening to the residents of our state.  They tell me what concerns them most and what they expect from a leader. I believe this is where the focus of discussions about our state should be over the next few months.

People are hurting financially and they are angry.  They don’t see the rosy picture the current administration paints of its fiscal policies and the state’s economy.  The facts don’t support it either.  Connecticut is the only state with a negative GDP.  Life here has become unaffordable, with residents, who are taxed beyond their level of tolerance, moving out of state in droves.  Unemployment in our cities is in the double digits.  There are few jobs for young people and no job security for people lucky enough to be employed.  While the national GDP growth rate for urban centers was 2.5 percent in 2012, after inflation, it was 0.4 percent in Fairfield County, and it shrank in our other counties by anywhere from 2.2 to 0.4 percent.  With diminishing disposable income, people cannot buy houses or goods and services to fuel the economy.

What people want and expect from state leadership is clear.  They want to be able to afford to live and work in Connecticut – to own or rent a home, raise a family, run a business, and retire here.  They can’t afford more taxes than they’ve ever had to pay on income, pensions, gas, business profits, real estate, inheritance, and gifts.  They want a job market that offers opportunity and security.   They want their roads, bridges, and trains fixed before the state builds anything new.  They want higher education to be affordable for their children.  They want their high-performing schools and healthcare plans left alone, and they want to ensure that vulnerable populations, like seniors and the disabled, are well served.

To accomplish this, we have to preserve and expand Connecticut’s tax base, by making it attractive for people and businesses to come here, and to stay.  This means creating a favorable tax environment for businesses, and a climate of support for their success.  Business creates value for everyone, because jobs are the best antidote to poverty.  A pro-business climate is possible only if leaders believe that business is good, and that profit is good.  Government should create a supportive climate for businesses, and then get out of the way.

The first step in reducing taxes is reducing state government spending.  State employee compensation and benefits plans represent a huge portion of state expenses, and we must work with all stakeholders to bring these expenses in line with the private sector.  Other states, both Democrat- and Republican-led have done this successfully, getting costs under control and ensuring the solvency of retirement and healthcare plans.  There are hundreds of millions potentially to be saved by eliminating duplications, waste, and fraud.  We must identify services that can be performed better and more cost efficiently by community-based nonprofits.  We must restrict bonding and borrowing to essential capital improvements, and bring debt in line with guidelines for strong agency ratings.  And we must prioritize infrastructure investments to ensure safety, efficiency, and access.

The objective of our state’s leadership should be to make Connecticut once again the envy of the country for its low taxes, friendly business climate, excellent schools, and a superior quality of life, and to ensure that it’s a place where hard work and success are rewarded and people feel they have a future.

Connecticut’s problems are complex and challenging, but they can be solved.  To do so, I believe that we must raise the standard of government and give people and businesses confidence in their leadership.  This means fostering a culture of transparency and accountability, insisting on rigorous financial management, and putting the interests of the public first.  I look forward to interesting and fruitful discussions on these critically important subjects throughout the coming months.  That’s real leadership: focusing on what Connecticut needs now.