December 22, 2014

Rep-Elect Carney Assigned to Legislative Committees

State Representative-elect Devin Carney will serve on three committees during the 2015 legislative session.

Carney has been assigned to the legislature’s committees on Environment, Transportation as well as Higher Education and Employment Advancement. His two-year term begins Jan. 7.

“Carney will make an excellent addition to these committees, I am confident that he will serve the House Republican caucus with distinction,” said state Rep. Themis Klarides, incoming House Republican Leader.  “Committee members serve as our eyes and ears when it comes to developing important legislation.”

Carney, who runs a small business, commented, “I look forward to representing the 23rd District on committees of such great importance as Environment, Transportation and Higher Education and Employment Advancement. The 23rd District is like no other with its scenic beauty and I want to ensure that both residents and tourists are able to enjoy it for generations to come. Transportation is a priority to many folks across the district and I will work extremely hard to try and repair our broken infrastructure.”

He added, “Finally, I believe it’s time for my generation to step up and start taking the lead towards restoring our prosperity in an area that has affected it, higher education. Working to ensure we have a diverse, skilled workforce, aligned with available jobs, is part of the bigger picture of boosting our economy and preventing the further exodus of our youth.”

The Environment Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to the Department of Environmental Protection, including conservation, recreation, pollution control, fisheries and game, state parks and forests, water resources, and all matters relating to the Department of Agriculture, including farming, dairy products and domestic animals.

The Transportation Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to the Department of Transportation, including highways and bridges, navigation, aeronautics, mass transit and railroads; and to the State Traffic Commission and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee has cognizance of all matters relating to (A) the Board of Regents for Higher Education and the Office of Higher Education, and (B) public and independent institutions of higher education, private occupational schools, post-secondary education, job training institutions and programs, apprenticeship training programs and adult job training programs offered to the public by any state agency or funded in whole or in part by the state.

“Committee rooms are where the laws of our state are outlined and where we can achieve the best for the people of the state of Connecticut,” Klarides said.

 

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Courtney Comments on Obama Speech

Tonight, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) released the following statement after President Obama’s speech outlining the planned implementation of the Immigration Accountability Executive Actions.

“It has been 511 days since the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill which would stabilize the broken immigration system, reduce the federal budget deficit, and—according to the Congressional Budget Office—grow the U.S. economy.”

“Despite calls by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau, and faith-based groups of all stripes, Speaker Boehner has refused for more than a year to allow even a debate on this measure, of which I am a cosponsor. The President’s temporary executive order adheres to past precedent regarding immigration, and should act as a spur to Congressional action – not further obstruction.”

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Op-Ed: Connecticut’s Publicly-Funded Campaign System Is A Joke

Suzanne Bates

Suzanne Bates

Here’s one last poll I’d like to see the numbers for — how many Connecticut residents woke up Wednesday morning excited about four more years of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy?

Unfortunately for Republican candidate Tom Foley, it appears voters chose the devil they know (or is it the porcupine?) instead of the devil they didn’t know …

Click here to read the full article by Suzanne Bates, which was published Nov. 6 on one of our partner news websites, CTNewsJunkie.com.

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Democrat Lomme Wins Second Term by 266 Votes for Nine-Town Judge of Probate

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme wins second term.

Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme wins second term.

The contest for regional judge of probate was a replay of 2010, only closer, with Democratic Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme of Essex winning a second term over Republican challenger Anselmo Delia of Clinton.  The unofficial result was Lomme-12,895, Delia-12,635.

The results from the nine towns in the district, which include the Town of Lyme, were similar to the contest between Lomme and Delia in 2010, the year local probate courts were consolidated in to a regional probate court located in Old Saybrook.  Lomme carried Lyme, as well as those of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme and Old Saybrook, while Delia carried the towns of Clinton, Haddam, Killingworth, and Westbrook.

Lomme won the 2010 race by 419 votes.  But Tuesday’s result was closer, with a 260-vote margin, after a campaign where Delia, a Clinton lawyer, questioned Lomme’s decision to retain some private legal clients while serving in the judge position that has an annual salary of $122,000.

The result for Lyme was Lomme-629, Delia-508; results for the other towns in the district were Chester:Lomme-985, Delia-544, Clinton: Lomme 2,069, Delia-2,755, Deep River: Lomme-1,060, Delie-761, Essex: Lomme-1,740, Delia-1,295, Haddam: Lomme-1,649, Delia-1,855, Killingworth: Lomme-1,291, Delia-1,440, Old Saybrook: Lomme-2,279, Delia-2,109, and Westbrook: Lomme 1,193, Delia-1,368.

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Linares Defeats Bjornberg, Winning 10 of 12 Towns in 33rd District

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

Republican State Senator Art Linares of Westbrook was re-elected to a second term Tuesday, defeating Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg of Lyme by a decisive margin and carrying 10 of the 12 district towns.

Unofficial results showed Linares with 22,170 votes to 16,922 votes for Bjornberg. Green Party nominee Colin Bennett of Westbrook garnered about 150 votes. Bjornberg carried her hometown of Lyme, 636-539, and Chester, 829-708. But Linares carried the other ten towns by decisive margins, with the closest result in Deep River, Linares, 975, Bjornberg 897.  The result in Essex was Linares 1,647 to Bjornberg 1,504. Linares also carried the district towns of Clinton, Colchester, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and Old Saybrook.

Bjornberg received the results while gathered with family members and supporters at the Democratic headquarters in Deep River. Bjornberg said she called Linares to concede when the result became clear around 9:20 p.m. “It was a good race but it was a tough year for Democrats in eastern Connecticut,” she said.

Linares appeared around 9:50 p.m. before a crowd of about 100 cheering supporters gathered in the ballroom at the Water’s Edge Resort in Westbrook., declaring that his victory, along with wins in state House races by Republicans Devin Carney in the 23rd District and Jesse McCLachlin in the 35th district represented “a new generation of leadership.”

Linares also alluded to the sometimes harsh contest with Bjornberg. “We were attacked over and over again, but the decent people of this district knew better,” he said.  Linares, 26, also praised his 24-year-old brother Ryan Linares, who served as campaign manager. “He was the only campaign manager who actually lived with the candidate,” Linares said.

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Courtney, Carney, Formica, Linares All Win – Malloy, Foley Too Close to Call

Headshot_247x283

Devin Carney

There were “tons and tons and tons” of voters at the Cross Ln. Polling Station in Old Lyme today according to one election worker, who said voting was brisk all day.  Quite a number of politicians, journalists, campaign workers, and supporters then gathered at 8 p.m. to hear the results, but they were not announced until significantly after the polls closed due to some procedural challenges.

Voting for the Governor reflects the state result in that it is still too close to call, but, Joe Courtney netted a convincing win in the US Second Congressional District. In the House 23rd District, Democrat Mary Stone conceded to Republican Devin Carney saying, ” The voters have spoken and now it’s up to all of us to help Devin do the best job he can.”  Art Linares (R) held onto his 33rd State Senate seat defeating a strong challenge from rookie Emily Bjornberg (D), while Paul Formica (R) cruised past Betsy Ritter (D) to take the 20th State Senate seat vacated by Andrea Stillman.

Old Lyme’s unconfirmed results are given below:

Governor:
Dannel Malloy (D) 1,746
Thomas C. Foley (R) 1,752

Comptroller:
Kevin Lembo (D) 1,712
Sharon McLaughlin (R) 1,624

Attorney General:
George Jepsen (D) 2,719
Kie Westby (D) 1,444

Secretary of State:
Denise Merrill (D) 1,715
Peter Lumaj (R) 1,643
Michael DeRosa (Grn) 57

Treasurer:
Denise Nappier (D) 1,665
Tim Herbst (R) 1,767

US House District 2:
Joe Courtney (D) 2,153
Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh (R) 1,337
William Clyde (Grn) 24
Daniel Reale (Lib) 20

State Assembly 23rd District: 
Devin R. Carney (R) 1,874
Mary Stone (D) 1,593

Additional candidates on the Old Lyme ballot are:

State Senate 20th District:
Elizabeth B. Ritter (D) 1,453
Paul Formica (R) 2,139

Additional candidates on the  Lyme ballot are:

State Senate 33rd District:
Art Linares (R)
Emily Bjornberg (D)

 

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Today’s Elections Likely to Bring Some Close Results

Election Day is finally here.  Voting will take place for Old Lyme and Lyme voters at the Cross Lane and Hamburg Firehouses respectively from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

We have  published numerous letters of endorsement for many of the candidates: click on this link to read them all.

Several of the contests are anticipated to be very tight, including those for Governor, State Senate 20th and 33rd Districts, and State Assembly 23rd.

The candidates on both the Lyme and Old Lyme ballots are:

Governor: Dannel Malloy (D) or Thomas C. Foley (R) 

Comptroller: Kevin Lembo (D) or Sharon McLaughlin (R)

Attorney General: George Jepsen (D) or Kie Westby (D)

Secretary of State: Denise Merrill (D) or Peter Lumaj (R) or Michael DeRosa (Grn)

Treasurer: Denise Nappier (D) or Tim Herbst (R)

US House District 2: Joe Courtney (D) or Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh (R) or William Clyde (Grn) or Daniel Reale (Lib)

State Assembly 23rd District: Devin R. Carney (R) or Mary Stone (D)

Additional candidates on the Old Lyme ballot are:

State Senate 20th District: Elizabeth B. Ritter (D) or Paul Formica (R)

Additional candidates on the  Lyme ballot are:

State Senate 33rd District:  Art Linares (R) or Emily Bjornberg (D)

The results will be published on LymeLine shortly after their announcement.

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Wyman, Bjornberg, Stone Hold Press Conference Today to Discuss Women’s Rights

Emily Bjornberg (D)

Emily Bjornberg (D)

Later today, Thursday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m., Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Democratic State Senate Candidate Emily Bjornberg will hold a press conference on the front steps of the Town Hall in Clinton, Conn., to discuss the importance of supporting candidates who will stand up for women’s rights in the upcoming Nov. 4 election.  Wyman and Bjornberg will be joined by State House Candidate Mary Stone of Old Lyme, and many other concerned women and local residents.

Bjornberg’s opponent was recently endorsed by a conservative organization that is trying to roll back a wide variety of rights for women in Connecticut.

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33rd Senate Candidates Face Off at Final Debate in Clinton

CLINTON— The three candidates for the 33rd Senate District seat faced off in a final campaign debate at Morgan High School in Clinton Thursday, with the sharpest exchanges coming during the final minutes of the one hour session.

About 100 voters turned out for the debate that was organized by students in the school’s current issues class, with students posing questions and moderating the session. It is expected to be the final public debate between one-term incumbent Republican Sen. Art Linares of Westbrook, Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg of Lyme, and Green Party nominee Colin Bennett of Westbrook.

The candidates stuck to familiar themes through most of the debate. Linares pledged to work to reduce state taxes on gasoline and phase out taxes on retirement benefits while touting his endorsement by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. Bjornberg said Linares has “voted against the most vulnerable among us,” over the past two years while noting her endorsements from the Connecticut Working Families Party, unions representing teachers and college professors and various women’s and environmental groups.

Bennett, declaring he “will not pander,” occasionally used his time to raise issues that were not part of the initial question, including racial justices, police shootings of minority citizens, and the expense of incarceration for non-violent crimes. He called for a “maximum wage” rather than just increasing the minimum wage and higher tax rates for the wealthy.

Most of the exchanges were cordial in a format that did not discourage applause and cheers from the audience. But the gloves came off in the final minutes after Bjornberg noted that Linares is “the only person on this stage who has proposed a tax increase,” as she pointed to Republican budget proposals backed by Linares that would eliminate the state’s earned income tax credit that provides limited cash rebates to low income workers. Bjornberg also criticized Linares votes on issues related to the environment and women’s rights.

Linares said the earned income tax credit is ” a tax credit for people who don’t pay taxes.” In his closing statement, Linares said Bjornberg “desperate and void of solutions, has begun a smear campaign against me in regards to women and the environment,” before pointing to his support for funding for the Preserve land purchase and labeling of genetically modified foods.

Bennett used his closing statement to claim that some Bjornberg supporters have contacted him and urged him to withdraw from the race to avoid pulling liberal-leaning votes from Bjornberg. While confirming that he would “rather see Emily elected than Art,” Bennett said such efforts are “100 percent antithetical to democracy” and vowed to continue his campaign to the Nov. 4 vote

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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Linares, Bjornberg to Meet in Final 33rd District Debate Tonight

Republican State Senator Art Linares has committed to participating in a final 33rd Senate District debate on Oct. 23 at Morgan High School in Clinton after skipping a session held Tuesday at Haddam-Killingworth High School amid disagreements with the sponsor and moderator for the session.

Linares announced his willingness to participate in the Thursday, Oct. 23 debate, set for 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the Clinton school, after declining to participate in the session Tuesday that was sponsored by the Haddam Bulletin, a monthly newspaper for Haddam. The Oct. 23 debate will be run by students in the Morgan High School current issues class, which had sponsored 33rd Senate debates in previous years.

Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg and Green Party nominee Colin Bennett faced off Tuesday before about 30 voters in the Haddam-Killingworth High School auditorium, with an empty chair on the stage for the absent Linares. Moderator Edward Schwing, editor of the Haddam Bulletin said Ryan Linares, the senator’s brother and campaign manager, had imposed several conditions on participation in the session that included a demand to review questions in advance. Schwing said such a condition would be “contrary to the spirit and intent of the debate.”

Ryan Linares said Wednesday it was Schwing’s role as moderator that prompted the demand to review questions in advance. He noted that Schwing had helped run the 2012 state senate campaign of Green Party nominee Melissa Schlag in the three candidate contest where Art Linares was elected for his first term. Schlag was elected in 2013 as the Democratic first selectwoman of Haddam, and has endorsed Bjornberg for the Nov. 4 vote. “The senator is not interested in that kind of debate,” he said.

Bennett, who has run as the Green Party nominee in previous 33rd Senate contests, used the session in Haddam to contend the current Democratic majority in the Legislature has failed to address several issues and priorities that Bjornberg has stressed in her campaign. Bennett said he is “100 percent committed to this campaign” despite raising and spending no money on the race. Bjornberg said if elected she would be a voice for the district towns in the majority party caucus.

The three candidates had faced off previously at debates on Sept. 16 at the Lyme-in Old Lyme High School, Sept. 23 at Valley Regional High School in Deep River, and an Oct. 6 session with House candidates that was sponsored by the Westbrook Council of Beaches. But Bjornberg has pushed for a debate in one of the northern towns of the sprawling 12 town district, and suggested the session Tuesday at Haddam-Killingworth could have been the missing northern town debate. The 33rd District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and parts of Old Saybrook.

Bjornberg said Wednesday she will participate in the Oct. 23 session in Clinton, but contended Linares is “locking out” the northern towns of the district from a public debate. “The district’s two most populous towns in particular, Colchester and East Hampton, deserve to have their residents’ questions asked and their issues addressed” she said.

Bjornberg said she is still working to have the Norwich Bulletin sponsor a debate at the high school in Colchester, but Ryan Linares said Wednesday no one from the newspaper has contacted the campaign about a debate in Colchester.

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LymeLine Writer Recalls Eleanor Roosevelt’s Endorsement of His State Senate Candidacy

Eleanor Roosevelt endorsing the candidacy of Essex resident Jerome Wilson, when he was a candidate for the New York State Senate in 1962

Eleanor Roosevelt endorsing the candidacy of Essex resident Jerome Wilson, when he was a candidate for the New York State Senate in 1962

With much of the country riveted by the PBS documentary on the “Roosevelt’s,” Essex resident and LymeLine contributor Jerome Wilson has released a photograph of his one time meeting with Eleanor Roosevelt. The photograph was taken in the fall of 1962, and pictured Mrs. Roosevelt’s endorsement of Wilson’s candidacy for the New York State Senate in Albany. Wilson won his race in 1962 and went on to serve three terms in the New York State Senate.

Wilson was a member of what was called the Reform Movement in New York City in the 1960’s. The leaders of the Reform Democratic movement were three notable national Democrats: Eleanor Roosevelt, former New York State Governor Herbert Lehman and former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Thomas Finletter. The purpose of this group was to defeat Tammany Hall, Democratic Party officeholders (the so-called “bosses”), and replace them with Reform Democrats.

On the West Side of Manhattan, the Reform Democrats had already beaten Tammany Hall candidates in the 1960 elections, electing a U.S. Congressman and a New York State Senator. Wilson’s election as a State Senator on the Manhattan East Side in 1962 would be yet another victory for the Reform Democrats. In addition to electing public officials, the Reform Democrats had set up Reform Democratic clubs on both on the West Side and the East Side of Manhattan. At the time of his election to the New York State Senate, Wilson was the President of the Yorkville Democratic Club, a Reform Democratic club located on East 79th Street in Manhattan.

Wilson’s most significant accomplishment during his service in the New York State legislature was to lead the fight to reform the state’s 179-year-old divorce law. New York’s divorce law up until 1966 had only one ground for divorce, which was for adultery. There was not even a ground for extreme physical cruelty. Through his efforts, as Chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee and Family Law, Wilson exposed the inadequacy of the one-ground divorce law, and, as a result, the New York State legislature adopted new grounds for physical and mental cruelty, among other humane grounds for divorce.

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Deadline for In-Person Voter Registration is Oct. 28

The Old Lyme Registrars of Voters, Sylvia Peterson and Donald Tapper, have made the following announcement regarding the upcoming Nov. 4 election:

  • The deadline for mail-in voter registration was Oct. 21.  Oct. 28 is the deadline for in-person voter registration. Voters are encouraged to check their status with the Registrars’ office if they have moved, changed their name or not voted in several years.
  • The Registrars’ office will be open: Tuesday, Oct. 28  from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  This is the last session for admission of electors for those who become 18 years of age, U.S. citizens, or residents of the town before Oct. 28, 2014.
  • Nov. 3 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. 28.

The Registrar’s office is located on Mezzanine Level of Town Hall.  For more information, call 860-434-1605 Ext. 226.  Regular office hours are Monday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Voter Registration applications are available at the Town Clerk’s office during regular Town Hall hours.

 

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Formica Wins CBIA Business Support

Paul Formica

Paul Formica

Paul Formica, the Republican candidate for the 20th State Senate seat, has won the endorsement of the state’s largest business organization.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) this week endorsed Formica, the owner of Flanders Fish Market, for the last 31 years. Formica is the First Selectman of East Lyme who has been active in local business and government leadership initiatives.

“We need to elect more candidates like Paul Formica, who understands the importance of economic development and has a commonsense approach to dealing with issues of importance,” said Joe Brennan, CBIA executive vice president.

Formica, who lives in Niantic, believes tax reform, real discipline in state budgeting and more private sector solutions are needed to grow Connecticut’s economy.

CBIA is Connecticut’s largest business organization, with 10,000 member companies. For more information, contact Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957; meaghan.macdonald@cbia.com) or visit the CBIA Newsroom.

Formica has also earned the support of the National Federation of Businesses, the nation’s largest association for small business, as well as the endorsement from the CT Realtors Association, the state’s largest trade association.

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Linares Explains Absence at Haddam Debate, Contends Bias Apparent

Senator Art Linares, R-33rd, has announced he will participate in one final pre-election debate on Thursday, Oct. 23, in Clinton.

By Election Day, Nov. 4, Linares will have participated in five debates and six forums with his two opponents. Linares said he is proud to have attended more debates and forums than any other sitting Senator this election season, adding that he wanted to make sure his opponents and the public had the opportunity to have an honest and open exchange of ideas.

Asked about the debate on Oct. 14 being sponsored by the Haddam Bulletin, Linares’s Campaign Manager Ryan Linares said, “The moderator and editor of the Haddam Bulletin, Ed Schwing, helped manage Melissa Shlag’s Senate campaign.  Ms. Schlag was Senator Linares’ opponent two years ago.  Ms. Schlag works at the Haddam Bulletin, is Democratic First Selectman for Haddam and has endorsed Senator Linares’ opponent this election.  This will not be an unbiased debate.  The Senator is not interested in that kind of debate.”

Ryan Linares pointed out that former Democratic Senator Eileen Daily saw fit to hold only one debate during her last re-election.

“Senator Art Linares has personally knocked on more than 7,500 doors this election season,” Ryan Linares said. “He has visited all 12 towns in the 33rd district on numerous occasions and has had hundreds of encounters with individuals at fairs, festivals and town events. In addition, he has called and spoken to hundreds of voters over the last few months.”

Senator Linares voted against increasing the budget and the tax increase during the last two legislative sessions.

Ryan Linares said, “Senator Linares has a solid record – from protecting people’s rights as stated in the state constitution to understanding that jobs and business growth are the way to balance budgets, not tax increases.”

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Linares Not Participating in Haddam Debate, Bjornberg to Appear Regardless

Challenger Emily Bjornberg (D)

Challenger Emily Bjornberg (D)

State Senator Art Linares

State Senator Art Linares

Yesterday Democratic State Senate candidate Emily Bjornberg of Lyme announced that she will appear at the Haddam Killingworth High School auditorium at 7:30 p.m. this evening for a public debate hosted by the Haddam Bulletin.  The school is located at 95 Little City Road, Higganum, CT.

As of yesterday morning, Bjornberg’s Republican opponent, incumbent Senator Art Linares, would not commit to participate in tonight’sdebate, as moderators would not agree to provide him with questions in advance. The newspaper continues to solicit questions for the event from members of the public, which may be submitted by email to: haddambulletin@comcast.net.

Bjornberg stated, “Because the 33rd District is comprised of 12 towns in a large geographic area, local debates provide an invaluable opportunity for voters to get first-hand information from the candidates. A debate in which questions are provided in advance to the participants is not a debate so much as a scripted recital. Voters deserve more than just memorized soundbytes from their candidates. They deserve an authentic discussion of the issues with spontaneity and answers to tough questions.”

She continued, “The central and Northern regions of the 33rd Senate District have yet to see a Senate debate in this election that is open to all members of the public. I believe strongly that every community in this district deserves to hear a debate focused on the unique issues which affect their own town. I encourage Art Linares to participate in Haddam on Tuesday.”

The 33rd State Senate District includes the Town of Lyme along with an additional 11 towns as follows: Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook.

Late last week Linares’ campaign manager and brother, Ryan Linares, emailed the following list of demands to the debate moderators at the Haddam Bulletin (follow this link for full email exchange):

Thank you for your time today and hope you understand why we have to stand our ground on certain issues. With that said, unless the below criteria is not met (sic) we will not be able to participate…

3 Podiums

Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning

1 hour 15 minutes

5 questions in advance (Sunday morning)

1 rebuttal if necessary at the closer

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Re-Run of Race for Judge of Probate in Old Saybrook District

Voters of nine towns, including Lyme, in central Connecticut will decide on Nov. 4 whether to re-elect Judge of Probate Terrance Lomme of Essex for a second, four-year term or to replace him with Attorney Anselmo Delia of Clinton. The two ran against each other four years ago in 2010 when Lomme won by 419 votes. In the 2010 race, Lomme carried the town of Lyme, along with Chester, Deep River, Essex, Lyme and Old Saybrook while Delia carried Clinton, Haddam, Killingworth and Westbrook.

When Lomme ran against Delia in 2010, he committed that, if elected, he would become a full time Judge of Probate. However, after his election Lomme changed his position and in a recent interview he explained, “I thought the job would require a full time judge. However, once we merged the courts, I realized that it was not necessary to be on the job every minute, when the court is open.” The merger to which Lomme is referring was when the probate courts in nine towns were merged into a single court in Old Saybrook.

In the 2014 campaign, Lomme has been nominated unanimously for re-election for a second term by the Democratic Nominating Convention. The convention cited Lomme’s “invaluable experience” in urging his re-election. The convention also noted Judge Lomme’s pivotal role, “for implementing, successfully, the merger of the nine former town probate courts into a single Saybrook Court District.”

Lomme’s Record as a Judge

Discussing his work over the past four years as a Judge of Probate, Lomme said in a recent interview that he had held over 3,500 hearings since becoming a judge. He also observed  that most Judges of Probate in the State of Connecticut maintain private law practices. As for his current campaign for re-election, Lomme charged that his Republican opponent did not have the necessary experience to do the job. Lomme said that Attorney Delia has had only four cases before the probate court over the past four years.

In addition to serving as a Judge of Probate, Lomme in his capacity as a private attorney has represented a major New York City developer before regulatory bodies of the Town of Essex, including five public hearings before the Essex Planning Commission and another before the Essex Zoning Commission.

The Republican Challenger

Delia, Lomme’s Republican challenger, notes that he has been an attorney for 34 years and has represented legal clients in every federal and state court in Connecticut. Delia cites that he has chaired many important public bodies in his hometown of Clinton, including the planning and zoning commission, the board of education and the Youth and Family Service Bureau.

With regard to being a Judge of Probate, Delia comments, “Four years ago … I promised, as I do now, that if elected I would terminate my private practice and serve as a full time Judge of Probate. My opponent has opted to continue his private practice during his term in office. I believed then, as I believe now, that the office warrants the level of attention and avoidance of conflict of interest afforded by a full commitment.” Delia said, “I am ready to do the job from day one,” adding though, “It may take as much as six months to wind up matters with present clients.”

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Democrat Stone Endorsed by CT Education Association

Mary Stone (D)

Mary Stone (D)

Yesterday afternoon, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) announced the slate of candidates it is endorsing for the upcoming Nov. 4 election.  The list includes Mary Stone of Old Lyme, who is the Democratic-

endorsed candidate for the 23rd District State Representative seat currently held by Marilyn Giuliano, who is retiring at the end of the current session.

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33rd District Senate Candidates Hold Lively Debate at Valley Regional High School

Democratic candidate Emily Bjornberg, Republican candidate Senator Art Linares and Green Party Candidate Colin Bennett (photo by Jerome Wilson)

From left to right, Democratic candidate Emily Bjornberg, Republican incumbent candidate Senator Art Linares and Green Party candidate Colin Bennett at Tuesday evening’s debate.  (Photos by Jerome Wilson)

The three candidates in the 12-town 33rd State Senate District, one-term incumbent Republican Sen. Art Linares, Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg, and Green Party candidate Colin Bennett, held a lively debate Tuesday that covered the economy and taxes, along with social issues such as reproductive rights and possible right-to-die legislation.

A crowd of more than 100 voters filled the auditorium at Valley Regional High School in Deep River with sign-waving supporters of the two major party candidates gathering outside the school before the start of the debate. The 90-minute session was moderated by Essex  Library Director Richard Conroy, who posed questions that had been submitted in writing before the debate from district voters.

Linares, describing his record as “pro-growth and pro jobs,” attempted to tie Bjornberg to tax increases imposed during the administration of Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy and the Democrat-controlled legislature. Bjornberg noted that she was not in the legislature when most of the higher taxes were approved, and pledged to be “very wary” of increases in “regressive taxes,” such as the sales and gasoline taxes, in any future budget decisions.

Objections from Linares to the Malloy Administration First Five program of grants and loans for business expansion prompted one of the sharpest exchanges of the session, with Bjornberg noting that Linares had accepted a $350,000 state low interest loan for his Middletown-based Green Skies solar power company while later voting against funding for the program.  She also contended Green Skies resells cheaper solar panels from China at the expense of producers in Connecticut and the United States. Linares replied that Bjornberg’s comments show “my opponent is ready to attack a good thing,”  describing the business he co-founded as a clean energy company that is providing jobs.

The candidates differed on possible right-to-die legislation for the terminally ill, with Bjornberg pledging support for what she called the “compassionate choices” bill that failed to win approval in this year’s legislative session. Linares said he is “concerned about human error,” under the proposed legislation. Bennett also expressed support for the bill that is expected to be considered again next year.

A question on reproductive rights and insurance coverage for birth control brought passionate remarks from Bjornberg, declaring that she is concerned about her young daughter losing rights that women have fought for and secured over the past 40 years. Linares said he was “born a Catholic” and is “not running for the U.S. Supreme Court,” before changing the topic to his support for new legislation to protect women from domestic violence.

Marijuana and the minimum wage brought the most passionate remarks from Bennett, who has run as the Green Party candidate in three previous elections in the 33rd District. Bennett said  “ending the prohibition” on marijuana would help the state’s economy and finances. Linares dismissed the idea of legalizing marijuana, while Bjornberg said she would not support legalization at the present time but favors a “careful and measured” review of the option and possible further reductions in penalties for possession of marijuana.

Bennett said the minimum wage, set to increase to $10.10 per hour in the coming years, should be even higher and suggested there should be a “maximum wage” for the highest paid earners. Linares said he opposed the minimum wage hike adopted earlier this year because Democrats had blocked all amendments to establish a lower starting wage for workers under age 21. Bjornberg said Linares and state Republicans were “fear mongering” on the minimum wage issue and quoted Eleanor Roosevelt’s Depression era comment that “we all do well when we all do well.”

In her closing remarks, Bjornberg called on Linares to agree to hold another campaign debate in one of the northern towns of the sprawling district. Other sessions set for early October are more limited forums that include candidates for state House seats. The 33rd District includes the Town of  Lyme as well as Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep  River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Portland, Westbrook, and sections of Old Saybrook.

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23rd House District Candidates Carney, Stone Face Off in First Debate

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23 rd House District candidates Devin Carney (R) and Mary Stone (D) respond to audience questions in Tuesday night’s debate at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School.

An almost capacity audience of around 200 people gathered Tuesday at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School for an hour-long debate between 23rd House seat candidates Democrat Mary Stone and Republican Devin Carney. The debate was co-sponsored by the New London Day and the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce.  The Day Editor Paul Choinere, who moderated the debate, asked the candidates written questions submitted by the audience.

The 23rd seat has been held for the past 12 years by state representative Marilyn Giuliano (R), who will be retiring after completing her current term.

In a relatively quiet, respectful debate, candidates responded to audience questions on a wide range of topics including education, job creation and taxation.

Carney described his array of political and business experience, adding that he has “done all this while working part-time jobs to help pay the bills.”

“We need a state rep. to carry on Marilyn’s legacy of strong constituent services and passionate public service,” Carney noted, adding “It’s time that my generation steps up and takes hold of the debt we will have to shoulder and the future of our state.”

Stone said that the extensive experience she has gained in volunteer and elected positions over some 20 years in the town, including on the Board of Education, Zoning Board of Appeals, Old Lyme Libray and Open Space Commission, has demonstrated her, “ability to lead and work hard with proven results.”  She submitted that “everything I have accomplished in our towns … has been because of my ability to work with others across party lines, to make real and lasting changes.” She summed up her candidacy in the words, “I do not make huge, unrealistic promises just to get your vote. But, as your full-time legislator, I will work as hard as I possibly can to serve your needs and get the best results for our towns.”

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33rd Senate Candidates Clash Over Task Force Appointment in Campaign Debate

Colin Bennett (Green Party), Republican Senator Art Linares and Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg in first campaign debate

Green party candidate Colin Bennett, Republican Senator Art Linares and Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg in first campaign debate

OLD LYME— A legislative appointment to a state task force on children’s jewelry was the focus of the sharpest exchange Tuesday as three candidates for the 12-town 33rd State Senate District seat faced off in the first campaign debate.
Republican State senator Art Linares of Westbrook, Democratic challenger Emily Bjornberg of Lyme, and Green Party nominee Colin Bennett of Westbrook appeared before a crowd of nearly 100 voters at the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School for an hour-long session that was co-sponsored by the New London Day and the League of Women voters. Day editor Paul Chionere posed written questions, most submitted from audience members, to the candidates.

Linares, a 25 year-old incumbent seeking a second term, and Bjornberg, a mother of two who works in the Youth and Family Ministry of Deep River Congregational Church, agreed on some issues, such as support for small businesses, and differed on others, such as the  stricter state gun law enacted last year. Linares had voted against the gun bill, contending it was never fully presented at a public hearing and imposed “unnecessary” restrictions on “law abiding citizens.” Bjornberg, noting she is from a “family of hunters”, said she would have supported the legislation, and contended Linares was not engaged during the crafting and debate on the bill.

Linares called for tighter control over state spending, along with possible reductions in the state gas and sales taxes. Bjornberg promised “fiscal responsibility,” while adding that she would “not balance the budget on the backs of children and senior citizens.”

But it was a question on the environment that prompted the sharpest exchange of the session, with Bjornberg contending a Linares appointment to a 16-member state task force reviewing the safety of children’s jewelry, particularly the presence of cadmium in the jewelry, showed a lack of concern for the environment and children’s safety.

As the ranking Republican member of the Children’s Committee, Linares was appointed to the task force, or allowed to designate a member in his place. Linares named Brent Cleaveland, the executive director of the Fashion Jewelry and Accessories Trade Association of  Rhode Island.

Bjornberg said Cleaveland is a paid lobbyist for the children’s jewelry business, and has publicly opposed limits on the mineral cadmium in jewelry.  She noted that cadmium has been listed as a potential human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, and also claimed that Cleaveland has publicly downplayed the hazards of lead. Bjornberg raised this issue during the exchange on the environment, and again in the final minutes of the debate.
Linares said Cleaveland is “an advocate for making children’s jewelry safe.”  Linares also contended a bill that Bjornberg had expressed support for, to ban all pesticides from high school athletic fields, would have imposed a costly new mandate on schools districts in the 33rd District.

Bennett, a substitute teacher who has run for the seat previously on the Green Party line, avoided direct criticism of the two major party candidates. Bennett said he was uncertain whether he would have supported the 2013 gun law, but expressed opposition to plans to expand natural gas service in Connecticut because much of the gas is produced through hydraulic fracking. Bennett also called for expanded investments in clean energy technology and legalization of the recreational use of marijuana as economic development measures for the state.

Bennett will also participate in a second debate scheduled for Tuesday Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. at Valley Regional High School in Deep River. Another debate sponsored by the Westbrook Council of Beaches is scheduled for Oct. 6 at the Mulvey Municipal Building in Westbrook. The 33rd District includes the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and sections of Old Saybrook.

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