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State Rep Brandon McGee Faces Challenger


HARTFORD — The 5th Assembly District State Rep. Brandon McGee will face off his challenger Lawrence Jaggon at a forum on Tuesday at Hartford Public Library.

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The fifth district includes parts of Hartford and Windsor.

McGee, 34, was first elected in 2012. He is a marketing and communications coordinator at Capitol Region Education Council.  McGee failed to get an endorsement of the 5th Assembly District Convention in May.

Jaggon, 55,  is a registered nurse at Community Health Services, and he is the endorsed Democratic candidate. Jaggon is an alternate on the Windsor Planning and Zoning Commission since 2013.

The democratic primary is set for Aug. 14.

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Hartford Democratic Incumbents Win Races


HARTFORD — Democratic incumbents easily trounced challengers in thier quest to return to the General Assembly.

Incumbent Sen. John Fonfara, a Democrat who represents Senate District 1, easily won his seat over Republican Challenger Barbara Rhue and Green Party Challenger Barbara Barry. Fonfara garnered 10,860 votes over Rhue’s 1,945 and Barry’s 259.

Incumbent Sen. Doug McCory ran unopposed.

Democratic Reps. Matt Ritter and Minnie Gonzalez, both of whom ran unopposed, will return to the General Assembly to represent District 1 and District 3 respectively.

Rep. Julio Concepcion in District 4 beat his challengers Republican Bryan Nelson, and Working Families candidate Kennard Ray. Concepcion garnered 2,659 votes over Nelson’s 330 and Ray’s 309. Mary Sanders of the Green Party garnered 57 votes.

District 5 Rep. Brandon McGee beat Republican candidate Charles Jackson. McGee captured 6,474 votes over Jackson’s 1,144.

Democratic State Rep. Edwin Vargas beat Republican challenger Michael Barlowski. Vargas of District 6 had 3,368 votes over Barlowski’s 485.

District 7 State Rep. Joshua Hall beat Giselle Jacobs, who was a petitioning candidate. Hall captured 3,742 votes over Jacobs’ 92.

Check back for updates.

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Hartford State Senator and State Rep Candidates to Meet


HARTFORD — Candidates for State Senator and State Representative in Hartford will meet at an interactive forum on Oct. 18 at the Hartford Public Library.

They will meet and talk with Hartford residents in small groups about how they will represent the people of Hartford in the State Legislature and what issues are most
important to them, the neighborhood, and the Hartford community.

All candidates who will be on the Nov. 6 ballot have been invited. The interactive forum will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Incumbent Senator John Fonfara, a Democrat who represents Senate District 1, faces Republican Challenger Barbara Rhue and Green Party Challenger Barbara Barry.

Incumbent Senator Doug McCrory is unopposed.

Incumbent State Representatives and their challengers are also invited. They include Matt Ritter, Minnie Gonzalez, Julio Concepcion, Bryan Nelson, Kennard Rey, Mary Sanders, Brandon McGee, Charles Jackson, Edwin Vargas, Michael Barlowski, Joshua Hall and Giselle Jacobs.

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Health care, wage issues top minority caucus agenda


HARTFORD — Pay equity, a “liveable” wage and protecting women’s health care topped a list of priorities unveiled Monday by the General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.

And while the agenda does not propose specific tax hikes, the 24-member caucus does back several revenue-raisers to fund critical services, according to its chairman, Rep. Christopher Rosario, D-Bridgeport.

“Supporting our middle-class families and creating opportunities for everyone is something we fully support as a group,” he said.

A state panel recently proposed boosting Connecticut’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, while the House and Senate Democratic caucuses and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy have called for the legislature to reduce the gender pay-equity gap this year.

Other priorities on the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus’s agenda include:

  • Securing support for displaced families from Puerto Rico and providing disaster assistance to citizens who have relocated to Connecticut.
  • Addressing mistreatment of inmates and providing quality healthcare, including treatment for opioid addiction, in all Connecticut prisons.
  • Facilitating recruitment and retention of minority teachers.
  • And continuing to promote workforce development.

“These priorities build on work we’ve previously done and reflect issues raised by our constituents,” said Rep. Brandon McGee, D-Hartford, the caucus’s vice chairman. “From criminal justice reform to economic justice measures like earned family and medical leave, these issues disproportionately affect Black and Latino communities.”

Several of these priorities, particularly those involving healthcare, would require millions of dollars in funding.

Caucus members noted, for example, that the new state budget adopted last October tightened eligibility requirements for subsidized health care through the Husky program for poor adults, removing about 9,500 people from the rolls. Reversing this cut would cost about $11.3 million per year.

Rosario said even though revenue proposals aren’t on the agenda, most caucus members consistently support raising income tax rates on the wealthy. Other revenue-raising options include taxing sports betting and recreational marijuana sales.

“Those are options that can definitely be looked at,” he said.

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“The real Olivia Pope” Asked to Run for Congress


Frank Henry, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — “Code Red. Code Red. They’re trying to kill her,” someone shouted as Ann-Marie Adams lie motionless on her bed at the University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital in 2014.

She had never been admitted to a hospital before April 4, 2014 at about 3 p.m. So the 15-hour wait in the emergency room left her puzzled as she watched and listened to nurses and doctors attend to other patients. At the time of admittance, she was not ill.  And Hartford Police had disrupted her sleep time. They also wasted her prep time for revising a paper to present at the Association for the Study of Connecticut History conference at Fairfield University on the next day.  However, medics thought she should “take precautions” since they were called to the scene on a very significant day in history.

April 4 was a watershed moment in African-American history. It parallels a tragic day in the Civil Rights Movement:  Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4, 1968. It was also a sign that local law enforcement agents wanted to suppress another journalist and had hoped to stop similar racial uprisings that spurred the Black Lives Matter movement.

So instead of catching up on sleep that day, Adams was in a conversation with Hartford police officers.

That’s because her sister’s baby sitter called and spoke “jibberish,” according to reports that were later unfounded. While other police officers busied themselves, Adams had a brief conversation with Hartford Police Officer Chris White.

“Being educated can be a dangerous thing,” White said. But it was clear nothing was wrong with Adams, White said. Officers responded to a call that dispatched 15 police officers to her location in the West End of Hartford.

To Adams, that implied it was a crime to read, think and write in the Connecticut.  She later learned that police were trying to suppress uprisings because of a spate of police shootings of unarmed black men across the nation such as Ferguson. And they thought there was a need to “tame the shrew.”

However, law enforcement agencies failed to provide a full explanation for the sudden intrusion into her privacy and were breaking almost every law on the books, sources said. But police officers–on condition of anonymity, said the April 4 incident was because of her writings about race and other matters in the state and federal government. As a result, there have been several attempts to disrupt her businesses and “muck up” her writing.

But after further investigation, police officers  said they discovered Adams true identity: She was brought to Connecticut as an Irish Omen (or prophet) to help America restore its blessings. they also know that Adams was the inspiration for two television shows: The Cosby Show’s Denise Huxtable and the ABC television series, Scandal’s Olivia Pope. Adams is claiming this because law enforcement officials and others, who were told to watch and protect her, spent three years watching her and doing investigations as to why this new revelation about American life and history has not reached the media.

This new revelation was contained because the show was disrupting her life. After the investigation was over in July, she was kidnapped by local terrorists after they discovered her identity. The mass shootings across the country since 2009 are tied to 17 years of disruptions of Adams’s life and career, especially since 2014, officials said.

The most recent disruptions began two days before Christmas 2013, she received a death threat while the Obama administration was communicating with her about her true identity. Days before that, her perfectly fine 10-year-old Hyundai  Sonata stalled suddenly on Interstate 91 after a visit to a car dealer in “Klanchester.” After several suspicious incidents as such on Route 44, she concluded she was in danger. On July 7, 2016, there was another attempt  in Washington, D.C. to disrupt her career–hence the shootings in Florida, sources said.

A lengthy FBI investigation into attempts to suppress her publication and sabotage business relationships morphed into an extension of Sen. Chris Murphy’s 2013 project about how to survive on food stamps for one week. It was seemingly a creative way to injury Adams’s political chances if she chooses to challenge Murphy, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D–Conn.) or other elected officials in at least two Congressional districts.  After she was briefed that someone wanted her to run for office, Adams began to explore a bid for the Senate.

“I wasn’t thinking about running for office. But if they’re targeting me this long and hard,  “I have to explore my chances of running and winning,” Adams said.

Adams, 46, is considered an ideal pick to run against Murphy, 43. Her resume and bio has a wealth of Connecticut and Washington,D.C. experience, unlike her possible challenger Murphy when he ran in 2012. Murphy is considered a career politician having served as a State Representative since he was 25 years old. Adams, however, has corporate, nonprofit and academic experience to mount a formidable bid if Connecticut voters are ready for diversity in the Congressional delegation that is all white until Gary Frank ran and won in 1990.  Franks was the first member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut for one term, 1991 to 1997.  A Republican, he is the only African-American elected to the U.S. Congress from Connecticut’s fifth Congressional district.

Conn. Senator Murphy Takes Food Stamp Challenge

Adams had been covering Gov. Dannel P. Malloy,  Former Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s and President Barack Obama’s administrations. She has written several notable commentaries about the state of government and politics. She has taught U.S. History history and journalism at Rutgers and other universities. An award-winning journalist, who has worked for the Hartford Courant, NBC4, News12 Connecticut, Times Herald Record,  Norwich Bulletin and the Washington Post, she takes pride in covering all corners of the state for more than 15 years. Besides media and academic experience, Adams has been involved in the Urban League of Greater Hartford, the West Indian Social Club, Hartford LatinoFest, and other civic organizations and churches.  Adams is a media executive with a legal mind, many observers said.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams contemplating a run for Congress.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams asked to run for Congress.

So April 4, 2014 became a turning point for Adams. And the stories that have unfolded after her most recent interaction with ambassadors, politicians, doctors, social workers and nurses prompted her to run for office–hence  a recent press release by others–asking her to run for office. They  said they watched the corruption surfaced during attempts to  suppress her as a journalist and a historian during two critical years in American history: 2014 and 2105. The year 2104 marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement and the year 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

Noting the lack of representation for working-class and middle-class residents in Congress, Adams is now exploring a run for the U.S. Senate against Murphy. That’s after witnessing a blatant disregard for the law and a deeper level of corruption in the state while the Obama administration was doing a deep background check on Adams. White House staffers said the White House Correspondent is more inclusive and patriotic than others they have observed.

The sudden switch from academia to politics was thrust upon her. That’s why she is leery about such an offer to run for office, she said.

The move comes as a surprise to many locals. Adams was not thinking of running until she was pushed into a political run by others investigating her. Through them, she discovered her identity as the woman who inspired the character on Scandal.

Adams, who has a multi-ethnic background, was used as a model for the television character Denise Huxtable, who grew up to be “the real Oliver Pope,” according White House staffers. She has an Irish, Jewish, Afro-Portuguese and West Indian  background. Her reach into many communities made Adams a target for several political operatives, who have been sabotaging her work and home life while the show was on the air. They stole clothes, money, shoes, jewelry and other belongings during the unusual and lengthy investigation. Investigators wanted the television series, Scandal, off the air because it disrupted Adams and her family.

The Plot Thickens

Before laying immobile on the bed almost three years ago, Adams felt a sudden and sharp pain in her abdomen. The pain came while she was in the hospital. She was also scheduled to cover President Obama at the National Action Network’s conference, slated as “the largest civil rights convening of the year bringing our nation’s top activists, political strategists and leading academia together to create an action plan for a civil rights agenda.”

She was told she was being held for further evaluation–only to be told later that there was “nothing wrong.” That’s because she’s thin, toned and not on medication. This hospital visit was the first in a series of overt attempts at media suppression and political obstruction, sources said.  Adams later learned that she was being held because several politicians, who see her as a threat to their candidacy for office, didn’t want her to cover certain political events in the state and in Washington, D.C.  Since August 2013 during the debate on Food Stamps and her article about race matters in Connecticut in Ebony.com, congressional leaders and others began to watch Adams.

The obstruction lasted for two years and 10 months and was watched by the United Nations and the Federal Bureau of Investigations after locals gave them a tip that Adams was being obstructed from running for officer because she had one of the best resumes and profile to mount a formidable challenge against Former Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Sen. Murphy, State Rep. Doug McCory (D-07), State Rep. Brandon McGee (D-05), State Rep. Minnie Gonzalez (D-03), U.S.  Congressman John Larson (D-01), State Rep. Kevin Witkos (D-04) and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D–Conn). Adams, who lives in the 5th Congressional district and owns a business in Hartford, made contact with each representative’s constituent services while other Connecticut residents watched.

The so-called project for Adams morphed into consultations and a tool to keep Adams from covering the White House, sources said. Local residents, who wanted to remain anonymous said they were duped. To date, there are no public arrests, no fixing of the racist political structure and in Connecticut and no money to complete this important project about health reform and how Obamacare was implemented. The project began with the Connecticut Health Foundation’s plan to look at health disparities. It was organized by CHF’s President and CEO Patricia Baker and its Communication Director Maryland Grier. Public Health Commissioner of Health Jewel Mullen was also a part of the project that began before the 2014 election. After a failure to communicate,  the project became a tool to carry out a hate crime.  And a three-year project, which began with Murphy in the 5th Congressional district, was designed to steal Adams’s beauty, money, home and other belongings.

The attempts to cripple Adams physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally was very detailed, said one source. Using hypnosis, State Troopers and local police officers forced her on trains, in hospitals and on planes to exhaust her income and to be away from several public events.  Adams has shown leadership in the community for almost three decades, some say.  Investigators–some of whom were part of the Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s 2012 Global Diaspora Forum,  stayed in her life for an unusual length of time to discover 17 characters and at least 50 scenes from the television series: Scandal. The Global Diaspora Forum was an annual celebration of America’s diaspora communities.

Murphy and Food Stamp Challenge passed onto Adams in 2013.

Murphy and Food Stamp Challenge passed onto Adams in 2013.

Local residents who watched the event and “were recruiting” Adams to run sent out a press releases after learning that President  Obama wanted her to run because she is an exemplary citizen and an immigrant who can best represent all residents in the state, sources said. Her multi-ethnic background and her years of service to the community makes Adams and ideal public servant. Adams is an Afro Latino from the West Indies. And her Irish ancestors are allegedly linked to Queen Elizabeth I.

Adams is also the Harriet Algier for the 21st Century, White House staffers said. That’s why locals and others wanted Adams to run for elected office.

Check back for updates for a list of suspects and arrests for this hate crime that emerged after the 2012 GDF at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

 

Read Dr. Ann-Marie Adams’s articles that prompted this story and Murphy’s Food Stamp project:

Connecticut Still Waiting for Superman

Hartford Unveils Journalism and Media Academy

Ebony.com: Chappelle Incident Shatters Silence on Connecticut Racism

 

 

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Hartford Voters Looking to Oust Democratic Incumbents


HARTFORD —  Less than two months before the Nov. 8 election, the Hartford Votes/Hartford Vota Coalition will hold a forum for candidates for Hartford’s State Representative on Oct. 5.

The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St. downtown Hartford.

The candidates will ask questions, hear representative ideas about the issues.

Invited candidates include District 1: Matthew Ritter, (D) and Ken Lerman (R); District 3: Minnie Gonzalez (D); District 4: Angel Arce (D)and A. Lloyd Carter (R); District 5: Brandon McGee (D) and Paul Panos (R); District 6: Edwin Vargas (D) and Russell Williams (R); District 7: Douglas McCory (D).

All the candidates, except Gonzalez, and McCory. Hartford Republicans are looking to oust incumbents who are unresponsive to the concerns of city residents and business owners.

Petitioning and Minor Party Candidates will also be invited.

For more information, email HartfordVotes@aol.com.

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Republican Tom Foley Concedes Loss to Democrat Gov. Dan Malloy


Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2014 at 12:36 p.m.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley conceded to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Wednesday, ending a similar drama that unfolded in their 2010 bid for governor.

In his bid for re-election, Malloy garnered more than 540,000 votes,  3 percentage points over Republican Tom Foley’s  512,000 votes.  This was in sharp contrast to his nail-biting gubernatorial bid in 2010, when he beat Foley by 6,400 votes.

In 2010, Foley waited a week before he conceded. At a press conference on Wednesday, the Greenwich businessman gave his concession speech about 16 hours after the polls closed on Tuesday.

“We came very close,” Foley said in an e-mail to supporters. “We did not win, but we were on the field and fought a good game.”

Foley said he faced a tougher challenge in a heavily tilted Democratic state. Republicans make up 20 percent of the state’s electorate, down from 25 percent from the last state-wide election in 2006.

Late Tuesday, Malloy strutted to the podium  and claimed victory for a second term.

“We will have a full legislative agenda ready to go by Jan. 7,” the governor said at a state capitol press conference. “I don’t sit around a whole lot and I have things I want to get done and I know that this state needs to get done.”
Quinnipiac University polls released in the past few weeks showed Malloy and Foley deadlocked, prompting both candidates to bring in high-profile surrogates such as President Obama and Republican Gov. Chris Christie. But Malloy lead in Tuesday election was “not nearly as close.”

The election did not go off without glitches, however. In Hartford, voters turned out early Tuesday morning and found that voter lists were not ready. They opted to go to work or back home.

The snafu prompted President Barack Obama to call a radio talk show and urged Hartford voters not to be discouraged.

“If people were planning to vote before going to work, and they weren’t able to do it, that’s frustrating,” Obama said on the talk show. “I want to encourage everyone who is listening not to be deterred by what was obviously an inconvenience.”

Malloy’s campaign staff asked a Hartford Superior Judge to extend voting in the city until 9 p.m. Judge Carl Schuma extended voting time until 8:30 p.m.

According to reports, at least nine city polling places turned voters away, including United Methodist Church and Batchelder Elementary  School were affected. That’s why the City Council on Wednesday said they will investigate the matter.

Also on Tuesday, incumbent Democrat Denise Nappier snatched victory in a close race for state treasurer against Republican challenger Tim Herbst. At press time, she won by about 9,000 votes. She will serve her fifth four-year term.

“Yesterday’s election was a hard-fought battle,” Nappier said. “I am deeply grateful to the people of our state for their support.”

In a press conference outside the Republican headquarters in Trumbull, Herbst conceded and congratulated Nappier on her victory.

Secretary of State Denise Merrill won re-election to serve another four years. Her challenger Republican Peter Lumaj surged forward on Tuesday with his bid, running nearly even at press time on Tuesday. By then, Merrill pulled ahead by $35,000 votes.

Lumaj conceded Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard on this campaign over the past 20 months but unfortunately the numbers for a win just didn’t add up,” Lumaj said. “We made this a right race than anyone ever expected.”

Lumaj faced an uphill battle with little name recognition. Merrill was former majority leader in the stte House of Representatives and benefited from incumbency.

Also on the ballot was a referendum question on whether long-established voting procedures should be changed. Voters in a 53-47 tally rejected an amendment that would have allowed lawmakers to approve changes to early voting and absentee ballots. It would have allowed voters to do an absentee vote via email.

Some opponents said the amendment would have disrupted how democracy works by taking away power from the people and giving it to the legislature.”

Advocates had a different view. They said the reform would have made it easier for minority and working-class people, who work outside the 9 to 5 schedule, to vote. As a result, most urban residents supported the measure. And most suburban residents opposed it.

About 880,000 voters cast ballots on the amendment. In Bridgeport, 53 percent of voters approved the referendum. In Hartford, 63 percent of voters approved; and 68 percent of New Haven voters affirmed it.

State House Districts

District 1

Matthew Ritter (I), Democrat, 3,304—92 percent

Kenneth Lerman, GOP, 301-8 percent

District 3

Sweets Wilson, GOP-217 – 9 percent

Minnie Gonzalez (I), Democrats, 1,984—86 percent

Victor Luna, PC 116-5 percent

District 4

Angel Arce (I) unopposed

District 5

Brandon McGee (I) Democrat, unopposed.

District 6

Michael Lupo, GOP 437-18 percent

Edwin Vargas (I) Working Families &Democrats 1,983 -82 percent

District 7

Donna Thompson—Daniel, PC, 107-3 percent

Douglas McCory (I) Democrat 3,322-97 percent

 

State Senate Districts

District 1

Barbara Ruhe, GOP and Independent, 4,098 /27 percent

John Fonfara (I), Working Family and Democrat

10,681 – 70 percent

Alyssa Peterson, PC, 136 – 1 percent

Barbara Barry, GM, 315-2 percent

District 2

Eric Coleman (I) Dem & Working Family: 19,599 – 81 percent

Theresa Tillett, GOP: 4,479 – 19 percent

 Photo Credit: FoleyCT

 

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Downtown Hartford to Host Region’s History Day Program


HARTFORD — About 300 students from the Greater Hartford area are expected to convene in Hartford on March 8 to compete in Connecticut’s annual History Day program at Capital Community College on Saturday.

The Hartford district’s History Day in Connecticut contest on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will feature projects related to the theme Rights and Responsibilities in History and will be scored by volunteer judges. Students in grades 6-12 have spent months researching a topic of their own choice related to this year’s theme and chose how to present their projects as an exhibit, a documentary, a website, a paper, or a performance.

Connecticut State Representatives Angel Arce (D – Hartford), Edwin Vargas (D – Hartford) and Brandon McGee (D – Hartford), as well the President of Capital Community College Dr. Wilfredo Nieves, will assist with presenting prizes at the Awards Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. The name of winning students and entries will be posted on the History Day in Connecticut(ct.nhd.org) website the Monday after the contest.

Hartford is one of the six History Day in Connecticut District Contests held in Connecticut throughout March. Students who place in the top three are invited to the State History Day Contest on April 26, 2014 at Central Connecticut State University.

History Day in Connecticut is an affiliate program of the renowned academic program, National History Day (NHD). History Day in Connecticut is led by Connecticut’s Old State House with support from the Connecticut Historical Society, the Connecticut League of History Organizations and ConnecticutHIstory.org. Major funding provided by Connecticut Humanities. For more information, contact Rebecca Taber-Conover at 860-522-6766, ext. 11 or rebecca.taber-conover@cga.ct.gov.

This year’s students represent the communities of Bloomfield, Broad Brook, Burlington, East Granby, East Hartford, East Windsor, Hartford, New Britain, Portland, Southington, Tolland and Windsor.

Learn more about History Day in Connecticut by visiting our webpage http://www.historydayct.org.

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Upper Albany Streets to Get Face Lift


HARTFORD —  The Upper Albany neighborhood will be getting a face lift soon.

That’s because Gov. Dannel Malloy on Thursday announced that Hartford is expected to receive money for streetscape improvements in the area. The funding is expected after the State Bond Commission meeting on Jan. 9.

This is a part of the state’s plan to “revitalize local commercial centers” to improve the city’s economy, officials said.

upperalbany-hartford-guardianState Senator Eric D. Coleman (D-Bloomfield), State Representatives Matthew Ritter (D-Hartford) and Brandon McGee (D-Hartford) said they welcome the news.

“These improvements will be a boost for the Albany Avenue commercial district, and are part of the ongoing revitalization of the Upper Albany neighborhood,” said Sen. Coleman. “I’m happy the Governor recognizes the importance of investing long-term in our community.”

The $500,000 bond will be used for the first phase of improvements to the Albany Avenue commercial district, as well as an assessment of all of the properties on Albany and Homestead Avenues, including vacant buildings and lots. Design and development standards will then be drawn up to create a comprehensive façade improvement plan.

“I think that there is a tremendous benefit to upgrading some of the building fronts in the Upper Albany neighborhood. And the assessment will show us where the money can best be used long-term,” Rep. Ritter said.

Rep. McGee agreed.

“This is great news for the district,” he said. “We know that the money is being well-spent.”

 

 

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Officials Bring Biz Session to Hartford


HARTFORD — Of the 841 small business loans and grants awarded during 2012, only 41 went to black and Latino businesses, according to Rep. Douglas McCrory (D-Hartford).

That’s why McCrory,  State Sen. Eric D. Coleman (D-Bloomfield) and Brandon McGee (D-Hartford) thought it was time to bring the information into the community instead  of “Hartford residents being left to navigate the system all on their own.”

“This forum brought the state to our community, instead of Hartford residents being left to navigate the system all on their own,” McCrory said.

Earlier this month, the three legislators hosted a forum for small business owners to learn about economic development programs in the state. About 70 people attended the event at  Vibz Uptown on Main Street, officials said.

Officials, including guests from Department of Economic and Community Development, discussed  the  Small Business Express Program (EXP) and other opportunities to grow small businesses. The SBE Program was part of the October 2011 bipartisan Jobs Bill.

The Small Business Express Program provides loans and grants to Connecticut’s small businesses to promote job creation and growth. Created in 2011 as part of the landmark bipartisan Jobs Bill, the program provides a streamlined application process to Connecticut-based businesses with fewer than 100 employees that meet other criteria. It has helped hundreds of businesses create and retain more than 7,000 jobs.

During the 2013 legislative session, the General Assembly released $60 million in existing funds to extend the program, allowing more Hartford small businesses to benefit from grants and loans.

“We sponsored this forum to ensure that Hartford’s small business community is informed of these programs and services, and thereby poised to capitalize on the state support available to them,” Coleman said.

Officials said they recognized that getting information out into the community is only the first and necessary step in the process of helping businesses grow.

“I am extremely excited to partner with Rep. McCrory in bringing supportive resources to our neighborhoods because we recognize that the small businesses in our community can thrive when given pertinent information that will help them do so,” said Rep. McGee.

Small business owners also received an introduction to other small business assistance opportunities, including the Subsidized Training and Employment (STEP-Up) and Job Expansion Tax Credit (JET) programs, and other technical assistance available through the State and additional entities.

 

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