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A Push to End Housing Discrimination Against Ex-Offenders


By Mark Pazniokas, ctmirror.org

HARTFORD — As Connecticut’s prison population shows signs of stabilizing after years of shrinking, the General Assembly and administration of Gov. Ned Lamont are tackling new ways of lowering recidivism, including a push outlined Wednesday to discourage housing authorities and other landlords from barring ex-offenders as tenants.

A working group of the legislature’s Commission on Equity and
Opportunity released a 30-page report  that identifies restrictive
housing policies and a lack of re-entry support as obstacles to
Connecticut continuing to lower recidivism and shrink its prison
population.

“Up to 95 percent of people who have been incarcerated in Connecticut will return to our communities one day,”  the report says. “Having a safe and stable place to live is essential for their successful reintegration. Research shows that if a person has stable housing, they are less likely to commit a new crime and end up back behind bars.”

Rep. Brandon McGee Jr., D-Hartford, the co-chair of the legislature’s Housing Committee, said legislation is being drafted based on the working group’s recommendations, as well as proposed directives for the state Department of Housing.

“Today starts the real work,” McGee said.

The report was released at a two-hour workshop at the State Capitol, where the participants include two new players in the state’s criminal justice reform movement: Correction Commissioner-designate Rollin Cook and Marc Pelka, the criminal-justice policy adviser to Gov. Ned Lamont.

Lamont, who was downstate, canceled a planned appearance at the
workshop, but his chief of staff, Ryan Drajewicz, told the group Lamont was intent on continuing and building on the criminal justice reforms of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a leader in the national bipartisan movement to reassess sentencing policies that have given the U.S. the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

His hiring of Cook and Pelka, who both have reputations as reformers, is seen as evidence of Lamont’s commitment, but McGee warned that the administration ultimately will be judged on what it delivers in resources and policies.

“We’re all in on this,” said Cook, whose references include Scott
Semple, the man he is succeeding as commissioner.

The workshop was Cook’s first opportunity to meet with a broad audience of community-service providers and policy makers. Cook, who comes from Utah, said he was attracted to the Connecticut job by what he sees as a commitment to progress.

He also noted that the profession as a whole was changing rapidly

“The thing that I’ve seen in corrections over the years is we’ve
changed.  Many people comment on my size,” said Cook, who has the frame of an offensive lineman. “The reality was when I was hired as a correction officer, I was hired for size and athletic ability. They didn’t ask if I could think. They didn’t ask if I could communicate. They didn’t ask if I could problem-solve. They didn’t ask if I was empathetic or anything like that. The world is changing in corrections.”

Connecticut is generally credited with making great strides in making prisons more therapeutic than punitive under Malloy and Semple, who recently retired as the correction commissioner. But community-service providers complain the state still could do much better in preparing inmates for release.

Nearly 11,000 men and women were released from prison from August 2017 through July 2018, with more than 6,000 leaving though parole or some other discretionary release. They typically had some continuing help in finding housing and employment. But 4,677 served their full sentences and left prison without supervision — and in many cases, without support.

Stable housing is crucial to finding and keeping a job, and steady work is one of the best ways to keep ex-offenders from returning to crime, researchers say.

“We don’t want anyone released into homelessness,” said Sarah Diamond, a researcher. “That shouldn’t happen.”

The report concluded that Connecticut has no unified system for tracking the housing status of everyone newly released from jail or prison, particularly those individuals who are released at the end of their sentence.

The working group recommends that the state Department of Housing revise policies that discourage or even bar families getting rental or other housing assistance from welcoming home a relative after a prison term. Parole officers should no longer reject public housing or Section 8 addresses as part of a release plan.

It also recommends legislation banning property owners from looking at criminal records beyond seven years and another bill that would automatically seal all or most convictions after seven years of a person’s release from prison.

The group urges that the sex offender registry be refined to focus on those judged as a danger by a formal risk-assessment system.

“In Connecticut, our sex offender registry is not an indication of risk
or danger to the community, and does not take risk assessment into
account at all,” the report said.

A state recidivism study in 2017 found that within five years of leaving prison, only 4.1 percent were arrested for a new sexual offense.

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Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin Launches Reelection Bid, Cites Progress


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin wants a second term in office.

On Tuesday, he and his supporters stood on the steps of Hartford City Hall and launched a reelection campaign, touting accomplishments since 2016.

Since Bronin entered office, he has tackled the city’s budget, moving the city from the brink of bankruptcy to what he calls stability. He negotiated with the state and received a $550 million bailout and a five-year financial plan, which averted bankruptcy. In return, Hartford officials ceded some power to run the city.

He has also followed up on his promise to address blight. So far, he hired a full-time blight director who runs a blight remediation team that has revitalized 137 buildings.

And he is not done yet.

“We’ve got lots of work left to do. But we’ve got momentum and can’t afford to slow down now,” Bronin said.

Bronin, 39, will face Stan McCauley who launched his bid in November 2018, and Aaron Lewis who launched in December. 2018. Also rumored to run are State Rep. Brandon McGee and State Sen. Doug McCrory.

Bronin is vulnerable in his run for mayor, though. That’s because two years after he entered office, he launched a bid for governor. He was widely criticized by his opponents and encouraged by his supporters.

He also wrestled with the unions over concessions, leaving some dissatisfied. And some residents have complained about garbage and rodent problems that consume the city.

The challenges remain and Bronin said he has his performance in the last three years to build on.

“With crisis behind us, we’re going to focus relentlessly on those basic quality of life issues that matter in every neighborhood,” Bronin said. “But we have a path, and we have a plan. And I’m asking for your help to keep Hartford moving.

Bronin, who served as the legal counsel to former Governor Dannel P. Malloy, raised almost $1 million during his first bid for public office. He defeated the incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra.

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Archdiocese of Hartford Releases Names of Clergy Members Accused of Sexual Abuse


By Rose Mendes, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The Archdiocese of Hartford released the names of clergy members accused of sexual abuse and disclosed it paid $50.6 million to settle 142 lawsuits.

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair and the Office of Safe Environment of the Archdiocese of Hartford published the information on Tuesday.

Of the 142 settled claims, 29 clergy members were involved and three priests from other dioceses.

According to the Archdiocese, 98 percent of settlements occurred for abuse before 1990. In the last 20 years, two priests were criminally charged and prosecuted.

Since 1953, 36 archdiocesan clergy have been accused. That number includes six priests accused of sexual misconduct while they were assigned to Hartford.

Blair said the Archdiocese hired retired state Superior Court Judge Antonio Robaina to conduct an independent investigation into claims of sexual abuse from 1953 to present and to detail the Archdiocese’s response.

There are currently no priests in ministry who have been credibly accused, according to the Archdiocese.

The Archdiocese release comes amid a wave of sexual abuse allegations in the country. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced earlier that it would adopt concrete measures to address the sexual abuse crisis.

The following priests were accused of sexual abuse, according to the Archdiocese of Hartford:

Altermatt, Gregory – Ordination 3/27/1976
Assistant Pastor, Incarnation, Wethersfield
Assistant Pastor, St. Timothy, West Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Ann, Waterbury
Chaplain, St. Mary Hospital, Waterbury
In residence, Our Lady of Victory, West Haven
Chaplain, St. Raphael Hospital, New Haven
Removed from ministry, 2/3/2012
A civil case is pending

Buckley, Joseph – Ordination 5/21/1932
Assistant Pastor, St. Vincent, East Haven
Assistant Pastor, St. Agnes, Niantic
Pastor, St. Therese, Stony Creek (Branford)
Administrator, St. Mary, Newington
Pastor, St. Mary, Newington
Retired 5/14/1970
Died in 1975 before the single claim against him was received in 2003.

Bzdyra, Stephen – Ordination 11/10/1979
Assistant Pastor, St. Stanislaus, Meriden
Co-Pastor, St. Francis, New Haven
Co-Pastor St. George, Guilford
Temp. Administrator, St. Joseph, Suffield
Assistant, St. Mary, Milford
Assistant, St. Rita, Hamden
Pastor, SS Peter & Paul Wallingford
Chaplain, Cheshire Correctional Institute
Pastor, St. Hedwig, Union City (Residence)
Administrator, St. Stanislaus, Waterbury
Chaplain, Cheshire Correctional Institute (continued), while in residence, St. Hedwig, Union City
Temporary Administrator, St. Margaret Waterbury
Pastor, St. Augustine, Seymour
Removed from ministry, 7/8/2010
Laicized 5/4/2018

Clarkin, Herbert – Ordination 5/7/1959
Assistant Pastor, St. Michael, Beacon Falls
Assistant Pastor, St Paul, Glastonbury
Faculty, East Catholic High School, Manchester
In residence, Mt. St. Joseph Academy, West Hartford
Assistant Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Waterbury
Pastor, St. Bernard, Tariffville
Chaplain, with ministry restricted exclusively to St. Mary Home, West Hartford
Removed from ministry, subsequent to retirement, 4/29/2002
Died 12/29/2010

Crowley, Stephen – Ordination 5/19/1955
Assistant Pastor, St. Michael, Waterville
Assistant Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Bridget, Cheshire
Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Pompeii, East Haven
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Derby
Temp. Assistant, St. George, Guilford
Assistant Pastor, St. George Guilford
Assistant Pastor, St. Francis, Torrington
Pastor, St. Francis, Torrington
Pastor Emeritus, and assisting in parishes
Temp. Administrator, Ascension, Hamden
Removed from ministry, 6/11/2002
Sentenced to a life of “prayer and penance” by the Holy See in Rome, 10/21/2015
Died 8/11/2016

Doyle, Robert – Ordination 5/30/1935
Assistant Pastor, St Peter, Hartford
Associate Superintendent, Diocesan Office of Schools
Superintendent of Schools
Pastor, St. Augustine, Hartford
Pastor, Sacred Heart, Wethersfield
Died 12/18/1975 before the single claim against him was received in 2009

Ferguson, Ivan – Ordination 5/6/1970
Auxiliary Priest of the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles in an Apostolic Vicariate in the Diocese of St. Joseph of the Amazon, Peru
Faculty, Northwest Catholic High School
In residence, St. Bernard, Tariffville
Incardinated (became a priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford), 2/9/1979
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Derby
Assistant Pastor, St. Matthew, Forestville
Chaplain, Hartford Hospital; in residence at St. Lawrence O’Toole, Hartford
Removed from ministry, 3/4/1993
Died 12/16/2002

Foley, Stephen – Ordination 5/4/1967
Assistant Pastor, Christ the King, Bloomfield
Assistant Pastor, St. Robert Bellarmine, Windsor Locks
Assistant Pastor, St. Timothy, West Hartford
Pastor, St. Dunstan, Glastonbury
Removed from ministry, 8/18/1993
Laicized 4/29/2016

Glynn, Thomas – Ordination 6/29/1938
Assistant Pastor, Sacred Heart, Wethersfield
Assistant Pastor, Corpus Christi, Wethersfield
Chaplain, United States Navy,
Instructor, Mt. St. Joseph Academy, West Hartford
Chaplain, House of Good Shepherd, Hartford
Pastor, St. Boniface, New Haven
Pastor, St. Matthew, Forestville
Administrator, Holy Trinity, Wallingford
Pastor, Holy Trinity, Wallingford
Administrator, St. Clare, East Haven
Pastor, St. Clare, East Haven
Pastor Emeritus, St. Joseph, Meriden
Pastor Emeritus, assisting in various parishes
Retired, 11/1/1987
Died 1/25/1993

Gotta, Paul – Ordination 5/20/2006
Temp. Assistant, St. Margaret, Madison
Assistant Pastor, St. John the Evangelist, Watertown
Part-time Chaplain, Sacred Heart High School, Waterbury
Assistant Pastor, St. Rita, Hamden
Temp. Administrator, St. Rita, Hamden
Assistant Pastor, St. Rita, Hamden
Sacramental Minister, SCSU, New Haven
Administrator, St. Catherine, Broad Brook/St. Philip E. Windsor
Pastor, St. Francis of Assisi, Naugatuck – in addition to continuing as Administrator for St. Catherine, Broad Brook/St. Philip E. Windsor
Removed from ministry, 7/12/2013
A canonical process is underway

Graham, John – Ordination 12/8/1931
Assistant Pastor, St. Augustine, South Glastonbury
Assistant Pastor, St. Anthony, Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph, Danbury
On Leave, One Year
Assistant Pastor, St. Patrick, Thompsonville
Assistant Pastor, St. Ann, Hamden
Pastor, St. Augustine, South Glastonbury
Administrator, St. Bernadette, New Haven, in residence at SS. Peter and Paul, Waterbury
Resigned Pastorate
Assistant Pastor, Ss. Peter and Paul, Waterbury
Retired, 1974
Died 12/11/1983 before the single claim against him was received in 2003

Hussey, Philip – Ordination 5/26/1938
Assistant Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Waterbury
Assistant Pastor, St. Lawrence O’Toole, Hartford
Pastor, St. Bartholomew, Manchester
Died 1/17/1978 before the claims against him were received

Hyland, Edward – Ordination 5/4/1967
Temp. Chaplain, Hartford, Hospital
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph, Bristol
Assistant Pastor, St. Therese, North Haven
Chaplain, Hospital of St. Raphael, New Haven
Appointed Coordinator of the Hospital Apostolate
Co-Pastor, St, Francis, Naugatuck
Temp. Assistant Pastor Holy Trinity, Wallingford
Temp. Assistant Pastor St. Joseph, Bristol
Co-Pastor, St. Gabriel, Windsor
Pastor, SS. Peter & Paul, Waterbury
Removed from ministry, 7/26/2002
Laicized 4/29/2016

Lacy, Joseph – Ordination 3/19/1938
Assistant Pastor, St. Ann, New Britain
Chaplain, United States Army
Student in Rome
Chaplain, St. Agnes Home, West Hartford
Pastor, St. Michael, Hartford
Chancellor
Administrator, St. Luke, Hartford
Pastor, St. Luke, Hartford
Pastor Emeritus, St. Luke, Hartford
Retired, 11/1/1987
Died 5/18/1990 before any claims against him were received

Ladamus, Robert – Ordination 5/23/1970
Assistant Pastor, St. Francis Xavier, Waterbury
Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Victory, West Haven
Assistant Pastor, St. John Vianney, West Haven
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Milford
Temp. Administrator, Christ the Redeemer, Milford
Pastor, Christ the Redeemer, Milford
Resigned Pastorate, Christ the Redeemer, Milford
Unassigned for health reasons
Retired 7/1/1998 before any claims against him were received
Died 11/8/2012

Maguire, Felix – Ordination 5/18/1950
Assistant, St. Augustine, North Branford
Assistant Pastor, St. Patrick, Mystic
Temp. Assistant, St. Thomas, Goshen
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary Magdalen, Oakville
Assistant Pastor, St. Lawrence, West Haven
Assistant Pastor, St. Pius X, Wolcott
Assistant Pastor, St. Augustine, South Glastonbury
Pastor, St. John Fisher, Marlborough
On Leave, Three Months
Pastor, St. Mary Derby
Pastor, St. Theresa, North Haven
Retired, 1992
Removed from ministry, 1992
Died 7/13/2008

Manspeaker, Terry – Ordination 11/24/1990
(Transitional Deacon – en route to priestly ordination)
Released as a seminarian from the Archdiocese of Washington, 1989
Granted candidacy for Holy Orders in the Archdiocese of Hartford, 1990
Seminarian assignment, St. Augustine, Seymour
Deacon, St. Lucy Parish, Waterbury
Removed from ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford, 5/15/1992

McGann, Richard – Ordination 5/23/1970
Assistant Pastor, St. Gregory, Bristol
Chaplain, Hartford Hospital
Director Pastoral Ministry, St. Paul High School, Bristol
Pastor, Our Lady of Mercy, Plainville
Removed from ministry, 6/14/2005
Sentenced to a life of “prayer and penance” by the Holy See in Rome, 5/24/2016

McSheffery, Daniel – Ordination 5/10/1956
Temp. Assistant, St. Ann, Avon
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Branford
Assistant Pastor, St. Augustine, Hartford
Pastor, St George, Guilford
Pastor, St. Augustine, North Branford
Removed from ministry, 5/10/2002
Died 6/15/2014

Mitchell, Peter – Ordination 5/3/1951
Assistant Pastor, St. Patrick, Mystic
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Derby
Leave of Absence for work in Archdiocese of Santa Fe
Assistant Pastor, St. John the Evangelist, West Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Aedan, New Haven
Assistant Pastor, Assumption, Woodbridge
Pastor, St. Clare, East Haven
Residence, St. Mary, Branford
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Branford
Chaplain, St. Francis Hospital, Hartford
Pastor Emeritus, St. Mary, Derby
Removed from ministry subsequent to retirement, 12/31/2001
Died 5/20/2016

Muha, Edward – Ordination 12/22/1945
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Newington
Assistant Pastor, SS Cyril and Methodius, Bridgeport
Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Mercy, Plainville
Assistant Pastor, St. Michael, Waterville
Assistant Pastor, St. Francis, New Haven
Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Terryville
Pastor Emeritus, Immaculate Conception, Terryville
Died 2/11/2002 before the single claim against him was received in 2004

Nash, Howard – Ordination 1/15/1961
Assistant Pastor, Holy Infant, Orange
Temp Co-Pastor, St. Michael, Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Agnes, Woodmont
Co-Pastor, St. Bernadette, New Haven
Temp Administrator, St. Casimir, New Haven
Administrator, St. Bernadette, New Haven
Pastor, St. Bernadette, New Haven
Died 10/28/2001 before the single claim against him was received in 2003

O’Connor, John T. – Ordination 6/29/1946
Assistant Pastor, St. Thomas, Southington
Assistant Pastor, St. Francis, Torrington
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Newington
Pastor, Holy Spirit, Newington
Pastor Emeritus, St. Dominic, Southington
Died 12/1/2003 before any claims against him were received

Paul, Raymond – Ordination 5/19/1955
Assistant Pastor, St. Paul, Kensington
Assistant Pastor, St. Thomas, Waterbury
Assistant Pastor, St. Barnabas, North Haven
Temp. Chaplain, St. Mary Hospital, Waterbury
Chaplain, St. Mary Hospital, Waterbury
Assistant Pastor, St. Augustine, North Branford
Assistant Pastor, St. George, Guilford
Assistant Pastor, St. Augustine, Seymour
Assistant Pastor, Holy Rosary, Ansonia
Removed from ministry, 2/21/1996
Died, 7/4/2008

Paturzo, Louis – Ordination 5/26/1973
Assistant Pastor, Sacred Heart, Waterbury
Assistant Pastor, Blessed Sacrament, Hamden
Assistant Pastor, Sacred Heart, Hartford
Temp. Administrator, Sacred Heart, Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Augustine, Hartford
Temp. Administrator, St. John Evangelist, West Hartford
On Leave, Two Months
Assistant Pastor, St Lawrence O’Toole, Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Ann, New Britain
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph & St. Anthony, Bristol
Chaplain, State of CT Department of Corrections
Removed from ministry in 2002
Laicized in 2008

Perrault, Arthur – Ordination 5/7/1964
Assistant Pastor, St. Bernard, Sharon
Assistant Pastor, Blessed Sacrament, East Hartford
On Leave, Two Weeks;
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph, New Haven
Assistant Pastor, St. Francis, Naugatuck;
On Leave, Via Coeli, New Mexico
Removed from ministry in 1965, and sent for evaluation and treatment at a facility in New Mexico.

In 1967, following treatment in New Mexico, Perrault, at his request, was excardinated (ceased to be a priest) from the Archdiocese of Hartford and, at the request of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, was incardinated (became a priest) of that Archdiocese.

Przybylo, William – Ordination 5/23/1968
Temp. Assistant, St. Bernard, Sharon
Assistant Pastor, SS. Peter & Paul, Wallingford
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Derby
Assistant Pastor, Holy Cross, New Britain
Spiritual Director, St. Paul High School, Bristol
Vice principal, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, New Britain
Principal, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, New Britain
Pastor, SS. Cyril & Methodius, Hartford
Removed from ministry, 9/22/2008
Sentenced to a life of “prayer and penance” by the Holy See in Rome, 10/21/2015

Raffaeta, George – Ordination 5/10/1956
Temp. Administrator, Immaculate Conception, New Hartford
Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes, Waterbury
Assistant Pastor, St. Bernard, Hazardville
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Derby
Chaplain, Hartford Hospital, Hartford
Temp. Administrator, St. Monica, Northford
Assistant Pastor, St. George, Guilford
Assistant Pastor, St. Augustine, Seymour
Pastor, Holy Infant, Orange
Pastor, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Meriden
Pastor, St. Clare, East Haven
Pastor Emeritus, St. Francis, New Britain
Pastor Emeritus, St. Paul, West Haven
Pastor Emeritus, St. Agnes, Woodmont
Retired, 1/1/2001
Removed from ministry, 5/23/2002
Died 5/26/2010

Reardon, Edward – Ordination 5/14/1931
Assistant Pastor, St. Anthony, Hartford
Sick Leave
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph, Canaan
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Greenwich
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph, New London
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, New London
Assistant Pastor, St. Thomas the Apostle, West Hartford
Administrator, St. Bernard, Hazardville
Pastor, St. Bernard, Hazardville
Pastor, St. James, Manchester
Pastor Emeritus, St. James, Manchester
Retired, 6/11/1979
Died 5/23/1991 before the single claim was received in 2004

Renkiewicz, Adolph – Ordination 5/10/1956
Assistant Pastor, Sacred Heart, New Britain
Assistant Pastor, St. Ann, Devon
Assistant Pastor, St. Casimir, Terryville
Assistant Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Southington
Assistant Pastor, Holy Cross, New Britain
Pastor, St. Adalbert, Enfield
Pastor, St. Stanislaus, Meriden
On Leave, Holy Family Monastery
Chaplain, with ministry restricted exclusively to the Felician Sisters Motherhouse, Enfield
Died 8/17/2015

Rozint, Joseph – Ordination 5/4/1967
Temp. Assistant, St. Mary, Milford
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary, Milford
Assistant Pastor, St. Paul, Glastonbury
Co-Pastor, St. Thomas, Waterbury
Co-Pastor, St. Gertrude, Windsor
Co-Pastor/Administrator, St. Rita, Hamden
Pastor, Ascension, Hamden
Abandoned the ministry in 1993 before any claims against him were received
Died 4/30/2009

Shea, Robert E. – Ordination 5/22/1941
Assistant, St. Mary, Portland
Assistant, St. Patrick, Thompsonville
Assistant, St. Mary, New Britain
Assistant, St. Patrick, Waterbury
Pastor, St. Patrick, Waterbury
Retired 7/1/1992
Died 6/21/1995 before any claims against him were received

Shiner, Kenneth – Ordination 5/22/1971
Assistant, Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Brigid, Elmwood
Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Fatima, Yalesville
Co-Pastor, St. Francis of Assisi, New Britain
Pastor, St. Elizabeth, Branford
Pastor, St. Mary, Unionville
Resigned Pastorate 10/30/2000
Removed from ministry, 6/25/2001
Laicized 4/29/2016

Tissera, (Wamakulasuriya) Edward – Ordination 1/22/1989
Priest of the Diocese of Chilaw, Sri Lanka
Assistant Pastor, St. Peter Claver, West Hartford
Assistant Pastor, St. Martha, Enfield
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph, New Britain
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph/St. Maurice, New Britain
Assistant Pastor, St. Patrick/St. Joseph, Waterbury
Administrator, St. Bernard, Tariffville
Incardinated (became a priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford) 9/29/2010
Removed from ministry, 7/21/2011
Laicized, 5/29/2018

Werpechowski, Felix – Ordination 5/25/1929
Assistant Pastor, St. Augustine, South Glastonbury
Assistant Pastor, St. Mary Church, Middletown
Assistant Pastor, Holy Cross, New Britain
Assistant Pastor, Holy Name, Stamford
Assistant Pastor, St. Hedwig, Union City
Chaplain, US Army
Assistant Pastor, Holy Name, Stamford
Assistant Pastor, St. Thomas, Thomaston
Pastor, St. Paul, Greenwich
Pastor, Holy Name, Stamford
Retired, 5/31/1971
Died 1/22/1972 before any claims against him were received

Zizka, Peter – Ordination 5/24/1975
Assistant Pastor, Holy Spirit, Newington
Chaplain, Connecticut National Guard
Assistant Pastor, St. Paul, Glastonbury
Assistant Pastor, St. Margaret Mary, South Windsor
Co-Pastor, St. Margaret Mary, South Windsor
Assistant Pastor, St. Joseph, Suffield
Pastor, St. Isaac Jogues, East Hartford
Temporary Assistant, St. Bridget, Cheshire
Temporary Assistant, St. Jude, Derby
Pastor, St. Bartholomew, Manchester
Removed from ministry, 3/19/1999
Laicized in 2001

Kramek, Roman
Priest of the Archdiocese of Warmia, Poland http://archwarmia.pl/
“Visiting priest” helping out at Sacred Heart, New Britain, 12/2002, without any record of having been granted the faculties required for priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford
Arrested, removed from ministry, 12/2002
Returned to Poland after incarceration, 2005

Meunier, Lucien – Ordination 8/27/1939
(a/k/a Luke Meunier de la Pierre; a/k/a Maurice Meunier)

Priest of the Diocese of Amos in the Province of Quebec, Canada http://www.diocese-amos.org/
“Visiting priest” helping out at St. Francis Xavier Parish in New Milford from 1981 to 1982, without any record of having been granted the faculties required for priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford
Left the Archdiocese of Hartford many years before any claims against him were received

Franklin, Edward – Ordination 1962
Priest of the Diocese of Ogdensberg, New York https://www.rcdony.org/
Study Leave at Trinity College, Hartford, while residing at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Plainville, without any record of having been granted the faculties required for priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford
Removed from ministry by the Diocese of Ogdensberg, 1996
Died, 4-16-2005

Primavera, Bruno – Ordination 3/5/1973
A Priest of the Archdiocese of Toronto, Canada, who ministered in the Archdiocese of Hartford https://www.archtoronto.org/
Faculty, Northwest Catholic High School, and removed after two months, 1981
Resided and helped out at St. Adalbert, Enfield, without any record of having been granted the faculties required for priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford, 1981– 1983
Left the Archdiocese of Hartford, 6/1983
Removed from ministry by Archdiocese of Toronto,1990
Died, 1/17/2006

Ramsay, John B.
Priest of the Diocese of Norwich https://www.norwichdiocese.org/
Volunteered & taught religious instruction classes at St. Adalbert, Enfield, 1978-1979
Died 7/26/94 before the single claim against him was received

Rivera, Jose
Priest of the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa, Honduras http://arquitegucigalpa.org/
Chaplain, Saint Raphael Hospital, New Haven 1993 – 1994
Removed from ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford, 9/9/1994

Izquierdo, William LC – Ordination 1958
Priest of the Legionaries of Christ, Cheshire https://legionariesofchrist.org/
Served as novice instructor from 1982-1995
Reassigned by the Legionaries of Christ outside the Archdiocese of Hartford, 1995

Miller, Michael OFM Conv.
Priest of the Franciscan Friars Conventual, St. Anthony of Padua Province https://www.franciscans.org/
Parochial Vicar, St. Paul, Kensington/Berlin 2006 – 2011
Removed from ministry on 7/4/2011 by his Franciscan Superior

Pelkington, Robert Leo OP – Ordination 1968
Priest of the Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph https://opeast.org/
St. Mary, New Haven 1994-1995
Reassigned by his Dominican Superior outside of the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1995
Removed from ministry by his Dominican Superior in 1999
Laicized, 2011
Died, 2015

Pryor, John OAR
Priest of the Order of Augustinian Recollects http://www.augustinianrecollects.us/
“Visiting priest” helping out at St. Bernard, Tariffville in 1967, without any record of having been granted the faculties required for priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford

Rudy, John OFM
Priest of the Holy Name Province of Franciscans https://hnp.org/
Parochial Vicar, St. Joseph, Winsted 1993 – 1998
Removed from ministry by his Franciscan Superior in 1998

Szantyr, John – Ordination 6/8/1957
Priest of the Congregation of Marian Fathers, https://www.marian.org/
Dismissed from the Congregation of Marian Fathers, 1972
Assisted in the early seventies at Sacred Heart High School in his hometown of Waterbury, without any record of having been granted the faculties required for priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford
Treatment at a facility in Massachusetts, 1975
Prohibited in 1978 from priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Hartford after a claim against him was received
Died 5/16/2014

Featured Photo Credit: patch.com

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Ned Lamont Finally is ‘in the Room Where it Happens’


By Mark Pazniokas 

Connecticut’s new governor showed himself Wednesday to be affable, straightforward, optimistic, playful — and even slightly goofy — in his first address to the General Assembly, promising a collaborative approach to rebranding a state down on itself.

Less than two hours after taking office, Gov. Ned Lamont matter-of-factly warned lawmakers that the financially struggling state was teetering “on a knife’s edge,” then assured them he would deliver a budget in six weeks that would bring elusive fiscal stability.

“Let’s fix the damn budget, once and for all!” Lamont said. “You with me?”

Legislators stood, applauding.

Lamont chuckled.

“That’s it,” he said, his voice barely louder than a stage whisper. “Put the pressure on you.”

Exactly how that damn budget will be fixed, well, that is a matter that will wait until some time in February. On this day, the new governor was clearly reveling in the moment.

Lamont, 65, is a Greenwich businessman, a product of Phillips Exeter, Harvard and Yale, and an avowed fan of America’s most ebullient president, Teddy Roosevelt.

Over 23 minutes, Lamont had a bully good time.

He also is a fan of Hamilton, the musical. Lamont grew up in privilege, a man with a family tree in the U.S. that goes back to the time of Alexander Hamilton. But he made repeated references to Hamilton’s scrappiness and his burning hunger to be at the table where history is made, the “room where it happens.”

The line reflected Lamont’s losses in his two previous statewide campaigns for U.S. Senate in 2006 and the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2010.

“Thank you for welcoming me to the room where it happens,” Lamont told the legislators.

A prepared line on voluntarism turned into an impromptu riff on JFK’s inaugural, with Lamont leaning forward and offering a passable Kennedy imitation: Ask not what Connecticut can do for you, ask what you can do for Connecticut. As it turns out, Lamont thinks there’s plenty — from business, labor, politicians, pretty much everyone.

“More on that to come,” he said.

He assured the unions that supported him in the election that he remains committed to collective bargaining, then suggested he might be ready for some bargaining over pension liabilities. “As our liabilities continue to grow faster than our assets, together we have to make the changes necessary to ensure that retirement security is a reality for our younger, as well as our older, state employees, and we’ve got to do that without breaking the bank,” he said.

No hint at how, however.

His task Wednesday was to restate core principles, his approach to Connecticut’s various constituencies, and his expectation for how they all will come together. He warned of difficulties to come, changes he sees necessary in the delivery of government services by the state and municipalities.

“Mayors and first selectmen: Nothing will compromise your feisty independence,” Lamont said, smiling. “But so many services and back-office functions can be delivered at a much lower cost and much more efficiently if they are operated on a shared or regional basis.”

More applause for that line.

Lamont’s wife is Annie Huntress Lamont, a venture capitalist. At times, the governor sounded like a man making a pitch to investors — not expecting to close the deal, but drawing them in, suggesting there was something wonderful to come.

His vision for rebooting the Connecticut economy rests on four legs.

“First, I will take the lead by investing in the first all-digital government, and reverse engineer every transaction from the taxpayer’s shoes. The entry point to Connecticut will be through its digital front door, a one-stop-shop for everything our citizens need. We will be online, not in line,” Lamont said. “It won’t be done overnight, but let’s start today.”

“To attract millennials, top talent and leading companies, Connecticut will need to invest wisely in its urban centers, making them affordable and lively, where families want to live, work and play,” he said.

Third, Lamont signed on to a long-held dream of transportation planners and economic-development advocates, calling for a 30/30/30 rail system. That means 30 minutes fromm Hartford to New Haven, 30 minutes from New Haven to Stamford, and 30 minutes from Stamford to Grand Central in Manhattan.

He was interrupted with a sustained standing ovation.

The fourth leg is workforce development, ensurring that everyone in Connecticut is equipped to come along for the ride if Lamont ever upgrades his railroad. “It’s going to be an economy that works for everyone.”

The bipartisan applause stopped when Lamont turned to his campaign promises to establish a paid family and medical leave program and to raise the minimum wage in steps to $15, catching up to Massachusetts and New York.

“We’re going to do it responsibly, and we’re going to do it over time,” Lamont said.

Democrats applauded. Republicans sat quietly.

“OK, as one of the first governors who comes from the business world, I know how to get this done,” Lamont said. “My primary objective is to get this economy growing again. How do we extend opportunity for those being left behind?

“Growth!

“What’s the long-term fix to our budget?

“Growth!

“How do we attract the next generation of talent to Connecticut?

“Growth!”

He heard a particularly enthusiastic cheer to his right.

“Somebody liked that,” he said, chuckling again.

Lamont took a breath.

“All right, I’m a new governor. You’re a new legislature,” Lamont said. “What can you expect from me? I’m a straight shooter, an honest broker, and I think I’m a good listener. I know what I know, and what I don’t know. I do have a strong sense of where we need to go and what the people of Connecticut expect from us.”

Democrats, who hold comfortable majorities in both chambers, left happy. Republicans said they want to hear more.

Ned Lamont is finally in the room where it happens. Connecticut will find out in the coming weeks who is ready to sing along.

This was first published on ctmirror.org. Featured Photo by ctmirror.org.

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Hartford Native Shawn Wooden Sworn in as State Treasurer


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford native and former City Council Chairman Shawn Wooden was sworn in as Connecticut’s 83rd State Treasurer, pledging to use his office to protect worker’s retirement security while spurring improvements in the state’s economy, infrastructure and educational system.

The Hartford resident was among several elected state officials, including Gov. Ned Lamont, who took the oath of office on Wednesday at the William A. O’Neill State Armory. Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson administered the oath of office.

Wooden showed gratitude for the path that led him to his new position.

“I’m honored beyond works that the people of Connecticut have placed their confidence in me by electing me state treasurer,” Wooden said in a statement. “Having oversight of more than $60 billion in state assets is an enormous responsibility. I assure the taxpayers of this state that every investment and decision I make will be geared towards maximizing returns and moving Connecticut forward.”

Democrat Wooden succeeds Denise Nappier, another Hartford resident, who served as state treasurer for 20 years. Nappier elected not to seek another term.

Wooden, 49, was an investment attorney at Day Pitney, specializing in public pension plans for 21 years.

Before that, he worked for the former Hartford Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry and then as Connecticut Director of Project Vote, a national voter registration and education program. He was also served as a key aide for the Connecticut Commissioner of Social Services.

Raised in the North End of Hartford, Wooden said his is an unlikely journey. The youngest of six children, he participated in Project Concern desegregation busing program and attended Manchester Public Schools, where he graduated with honors. He then went to Trinity College and New York Law School.

Besides his work in the private sector, Wooden served as President of Hartford City Council from 2012 to 2015, leading efforts to close budget deficits, protect the city’s pension system and boost economic development.

His work in the state treasurer’s office is an extension of those efforts, he said.

“Connecticut is facing some enormous fiscal challenges right now, as well as some very exciting opportunities for growth,” Wooden said. “I look forward to using my extensive experience in government and as an investment attorney to take on the very serious work ahead of us.”

Featured Photo: Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden is sworn in by Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson as his sons Senai, 13, (L) and Isaias, 16, (R) hold the Bible.

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If You’re Over 50, Chances Are the Decision to Leave a Job Won’t be Yours


A new data analysis by ProPublica and the Urban Institute shows more than half of older U.S. workers are pushed out of longtime jobs before they choose to retire, suffering financial damage that is often irreversible.

By Peter Gosselin

Tom Steckel hunched over a laptop in the overheated basement of the state Capitol building in Pierre, South Dakota, early last week, trying to figure out how a newly awarded benefit claims contract will make it easier for him do his job.

Steckel is South Dakota’s director of employee benefits. His department administers programs that help the state’s 13,500 public employees pay for health care and prepare for retirement.

It’s steady work and, for that, Steckel, 62, is grateful. After turning 50, he was laid off three times before landing his current position in 2014, weathering unemployment stints of up to eight months.

When he started, his $90,000-a-year salary was only 60 percent of what he made at his highest-paying job. Even with a subsequent raise, he’s nowhere close to matching his peak earnings.

Money is hardly the only trade-off Steckel has made to hang onto the South Dakota post.

He spends three weeks of every four away from his wife, Mary, and the couple’s three children, who live 700 miles away in Plymouth, Wisconsin, in a house the family was unable to sell for most of the last decade.

Steckel keeps photos of his wife, Mary, and their three children on the mantel at his rented place in Pierre. (Ackerman + Gruber, special to ProPublica)

With Christmas approaching, he set off late on Dec. 18 for the 11-hour drive home. When the holiday is over, he’ll drive back to Pierre.

“I’m glad to be employed,” he said, “but this isn’t what I would have planned for this point in my life.”

Many Americans assume that by the time they reach their 50s they’ll have steady work, time to save and the right to make their own decisions about when to retire.

But as Steckel’s situation suggests, that’s no longer the reality for many — indeed, most — people.

ProPublica and the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank, analyzed data from the Health and Retirement Study, or HRS, the premier source of quantitative information about aging in America. Since 1992, the study has followed a nationally representative sample of about 20,000 people from the time they turn 50 through the rest of their lives.

Through 2016, our analysis found that between the time older workers enter the study and when they leave paid employment, 56 percent are laid off at least once or leave jobs under such financially damaging circumstances that it’s likely they were pushed out rather than choosing to go voluntarily.

Only one in 10 of these workers ever again earns as much as they did before their employment setbacks, our analysis showed. Even years afterward, the household incomes of over half of those who experience such work disruptions remain substantially below those of workers who don’t.

“This isn’t how most people think they’re going to finish out their work lives,” said Richard Johnson, an Urban Institute economist and veteran scholar of the older labor force who worked on the analysis. “For the majority of older Americans, working after 50 is considerably riskier and more turbulent than we previously thought.”

The HRS is based on employee surveys, not employer records, so it can’t definitively identify what’s behind every setback, but it includes detailed information about the circumstances under which workers leave jobs and the consequences of these departures.

We focused on workers who enter their 50s with stable, full-time jobs and who’ve been with the same employer for at least five years — those who HRS data and other economic studies show are least likely to encounter employment problems. We considered only separations that result in at least six months of unemployment or at least a 50 percent drop in earnings from pre-separation levels.

Then, we sorted job departures into voluntary and involuntary and, among involuntary departures, distinguished between those likely driven by employers and those resulting from personal issues, such as poor health or family problems. (See the full analysis here.)

We found that 28 percent of stable, longtime employees sustain at least one damaging layoff by their employers between turning 50 and leaving work for retirement.

“We’ve known that some workers get a nudge from their employers to exit the work force and some get a great big kick,” said Gary Burtless, a prominent labor economist with the Brookings Institution in Washington. “What these results suggest is that a whole lot more are getting the great big kick.”

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Ned Lamont Pledges More Diversity and Inclusion


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Gov. elect Ned Lamont on Saturday reaffirmed his commitment to bring change to the state with diversity and inclusion, saying to a group of African Americans that he will “make sure everybody gets the same opportunity.”

Lamont spoke at the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches’ meeting at the Hartford Hilton Hotel to more than 200 people, including black elected officials, students, clergies, fraternities and sororities.

African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Lamont in the 2018 election. Election results showed that 94 percent of African Americans supported the Greenwich businessman, who pledged to promote diversity in state jobs and to usher in more access to state contracts.

During his campaign, Lamont telegraphed his commitment to diversity and inclusion and followed through with the selection of two African Americans for high level positions in his administration. He recently hired Paul Mounds as his chief operation officer. Mounds, 33, will oversee commissioners and report to Lamont’s chief of staff, Ryan Drajewicz. Lamont also hired Melissa McCaw, 39, as his secretary for the Office of Policy and Management. She is the first African American to hold that job.

Moreover, he appointed State Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport and State Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven to his transition team. Both women are African Americans.

“I think that’s a good move. He’s showing that he’s trying to be diverse and inclusive,” said Greater Hartford NAACP President Abdul-Shahid Muhammed Ansari. “It really was the Democrats’ vote from the inner cities that got him over the hump.”

After Emancipation in 1865, African Americans voted for Republicans. But ever since the 1928 election, they have mostly voted for Democrats. Their allegiance to the Democratic Party was cemented in 1936.

NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile said he wants more return on that investment, calling for more inclusion in all branches of government.

“We want to make sure our people are included at all levels, the commissions, boards and throughout,” Esdaile said.

The meeting was titled “The 94% Black Leadership Summit” because election results showed 94 percent of black voters supported Lamont and the Democratic Party.

Lamont was joined by his running mate, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who invited attendees to send resumes and ideas.

“Send us your best. Go to our website,” Bysiewicz said. “We’re taking all good ideas because it’s for the benefit of our state.”

Lamont and Bysiewicz were coming from another meeting earlier in the day with the General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, where they talked about ways to increase the number of black and Hispanic teachers.

He also talked about steering opportunities to the cities, training people for technology jobs, opening up contract bidding to ensure that more minorities have access to those jobs.

“I’m going to make sure everybody gets the same opportunity,” he said. ”Too many of those business opportunities, too many of those contracts seem to go to the same old gang, –and that’s not right.”

Lamont, who defeated Republican Candidate Bob Stefanowski after vote tallies came in from the urban centers the day after the election, said he believes in Connecticut’s cities. He vowed to also direct resources to cities.

“I’m a believer in our cities,’ he said. “Our state will never be great unless our cities are great and I’m going to commit every day to that.”

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How to Get Your Lawmakers to Listen


By Cynthia Gordy Giwa

Hello from the otherrr siiiiide…

You did it! In this month’s midterm election, you and a whole lot of your fellow voters turned out to the polls to make your voices heard. But you’re not done yet. Voting is just the beginning!

The User’s Guide to Democracy has always wanted to help you become not only a more informed voter, but also a more engaged citizen. So, with the winners declared, how do you get your elected representatives in Washington to listen to your voice now?

At a live event on Nov. 13 with the New York Public Library, Derek Willis (my colleague here at ProPublica) and Paul Kane (an ace Congressional reporter for The Washington Post) tackled this question with the help of a panel of Capitol Hill insiders. The event, called “Irregular Order: How Congress Really Works,” was moderated by comedian/actor/writer Wyatt Cenac.

James Wallner, senior fellow for the think tank R Street (and a former Republican Senate staff member); Lindsey Cormack, Stevens Institute of Technology assistant professor of political science; and Stephanie L. Young, communications director for When We All Vote (also a former Democratic House staffer); explained how to get lawmakers to listen to you and act on the issues you care about.

Courtesy of The New York Public Library

Even as Congress seems stuck, there are still things that you can do to influence your lawmakers. Here are a few suggestions from the panel:

  • Vote. Often. “We literally have the power,” Young said of the clout that comes with voting. “I think we forget that, and sometimes you feel powerless. … This is one opportunity for you to go out and make your voices heard, but you have to do it *every time*, and you have to encourage those that you care about, and the people who are influenced by you, to do the exact same. There’s no one who has greater influence than you do.”Even if voting sometimes feels like shouting into the void, the panel also stressed that your elected officials are actually paying attention to who their voting constituents are. “If you email or write something, and they have your address and your name, they’re going to look up your voter file,” Willis said. “The fact that they’re tracking that information should tell you that they’re concerned about hearing from their constituents, and that you’re important.”
  • Visit your district office. Young continued by emphasizing that every member of Congress has a district office you can go to. “There are staff that are there to hear from you. You can write letters. They actually read them; there is someone who is assigned just to do that, and they have to respond to you. I worked for members who were very keen on knowing their constituents — how they felt, what they thought, and they want to read those letters. … Don’t miss those opportunities that we all have because they actually matter. They actually work.”Town halls were raised as another opportunity where you can talk to your legislators in person. Kane recounted the example of Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who was moved by individual interaction with her constituents during the “repeal Obamacare” period of 2017. “She described how, throughout that spring and summer, she would have town halls when she got back to Alaska. Over and over again, people would tell their stories about a pre-existing condition they feared they were going to lose [coverage for], or a husband or wife battling cancer who was afraid to lose health care,” Kane said. “By the end, that won her over, and she voted no.”
  • Write op-eds in your local newspaper. “Senators and members of the house really care about their local newspapers,” Cormack said. “If you write an op-ed that describes why you disagree with what your member did, that freaks them out. That’s where they want their press releases to land. They want that space, and if they have constituents within their own district saying they have a problem with that, that’s a really big red flag for them that they need to come back to the district and figure it out, or they’re going to need to focus on whatever that issue is a lot more, or address it differently.”
  • Work with advocacy groups you agree with.Traveling all the way to D.C., possibly taking time off from work, or putting in the time to write and pitch a newspaper op-ed might feel like a daunting amount of investment to be heard by people who are supposed to work for you. Wallner recommended making use of advocacy groups (i.e. organizations like the Sierra Club or the National Federation of Independent Business).

“We talk about advocacy groups like they’re a bad thing, but it’s usually just the ones we disagree with,” he said. “They have people who care about the same issues, who focus [on them] and are paid to go down to D.C. They make life difficult for members; sometimes they help members. … See what they’re doing and try to participate with them. Their voice is going to amplify your voice, and it’s going to make it harder for Congress to ignore the issues that you care about.”

One thing many advocacy groups do is lobby Congress, both by encouraging members to visit their representatives and by hiring their own lobbyists. You can find advocacy organizations working on issues you’re interested in using Represent’s database of lobbying arrangements.

You can watch the full discussion here, thanks to the New York Public Library, or listen to it on NYPL’s Library Talks podcast. I promise, not only will you learn something, you’ll laugh too.

We’ve come to the end of the User’s Guide to Democracy — but, hopefully, this marks the start of your increased participation in our system of government. From Representto the Facebook Political Ad Collector, you have tools to track what your representatives are actually doing, as well as tactics to hold them accountable. Don’t hesitate to use them. And, remember: Congress works for you.

This was first published on Propublica.org. Cynthia Gordy Giwa is ProPublica’s marketing director.

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Hartford’s Winterfest is Open Now Through Jan. 3


HARTFORD — Hartford Winterfest has opened and will run until Jan. 3.

Greater Hartford residents can now participate in carousel at the Bushnell Park and free ice skating. Thanks to a $30, 000 grant from United Bank.

The grant from United Bank is to ensure that the event is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Skate rentals are free. And skating lessons are free.

The Bushnell Carousel is open on the weekends and rides are $1.

There is also a Santa Workshop on Saturdays and Sundays from now until Dec. 23.

For more information about Winterfest, click here.

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CT Latinos Voter Turnout Signals New Political Engagement


Across the nation there was a significant jump in Latino participation in the midterm election, and most likely in Connecticut, too.

Latinos have for years had the potential to become a powerful voting bloc. But their failure to turn up at the polls has historically hurt their political clout.

In this year’s midterms, however, they helped give Democrats key wins in Senate races in Nevada and Arizona. In  Texas, turnout rose dramatically in heavily Latino precincts and was also high in Latino areas of California, Florida and New York. There will be 43 Latino representatives in the next Congress — a record number.

In Connecticut, it’s much more difficult to pinpoint Latino voting participation. But an analysis by the Connecticut Mirror determined that cities and towns in the state where Latinos make up 25 percent or more of the population all experienced a significant increase in voter turnout.

 

And, in some of those towns — including Meriden, Ansonia, Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury, New Haven, New London, Windham and Waterbury — the growth in turnout exceeded the boost in voter turnout in the midterm election statewide.

The statewide turnout in the 2014 midterm was 55.6 percent and 65.2 percent in the latest midterm. In New Haven, for instance, turnout was 38.3 percent in 2014 and 58 percent in 2018. Nearly 30 percent of the city’s residents identified themselves as Hispanics or Latinos to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Many of the more than 540,000 Latinos in Connecticut live in the larger cities, which historically have lower turnout.

“People tend to be more transient in cities, and that leads to lower voting rates,” said Gabe Rosenberg, spokesman for the Connecticut Secretary of State’s office.

However, the gap between those larger cities and smaller, higher-turnout towns shrank in the midterm.

“Latinos saw there was a lot at stake, so they came out,” said Marie Bertrand, the incoming president of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association.

Nationally, a record 29 million Latinos were eligible to vote in this year’s election, according to the Pew Research Center. Preliminary data suggests there was a significant jump in Latino participation.

Speaking at a panel discussion in Los Angeles, Tom Perez, the first Latino Chair of the Democratic National Committee, was quoted as saying the turnout of first-time voters, including Latinos, was “a remarkable phenomenon.”

Since Latinos, in general, favor Democrats over Republican candidates, their increased participation in the midterm bolstered a “blue wave” that helped Democrats seize control of the U.S. House of Representatives and a number of other political offices, including the U.S. Senate seats in Arizona and Nevada and governorships across the country.

The week after the Nov. 6 election, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Latino participation surged 174 percent in 2018, compared to the 2014 midterms.

“Latino voters played a pivotal role in taking back the House,” Lujan told reporters during a conference call organized by the political action committee Latino Victory. “Evidence is clear: Early and active and robust outreach to communities of color — in this case, into the Hispanic community — clearly pays off.”

In Connecticut, it’s harder to decipher the impact of the more energized Latino electorate, but it may have boosted Democrat Ned Lamont’s bid for the governor’s office and helped Democrats boost their numbers in the general assembly.

“Latinos may have helped Lamont, especially in the cities,” Bertrand said. “Most likely they did.”

A coalition of Latino groups has emerged in Connecticut to capitalize on the increased political participation of the state’s Latinos, and ensure that they are represented in positions of influence and power.

COURTESY OF SEN.CHRIS MURPHY
Graduates of the Hispanic Leadership Academy with HUD secretary Julian Castro, center, and members of the Connecticut Hispanic Democratic Caucus.

The newly formed CT Latino Task Force, a coalition of about 20 individuals and groups that includes the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association, the Connecticut Chapter of the Hispanic Federation and NALEO, is collecting resumes from whom they say are qualified Latinos who want to work in the Lamont administration and is making sure they are reviewed by the governor-elect’s transition team.

“We want to really put a little pressure on the incoming administration to make sure that we can be adequately represented in government positions, but also on boards and commissions,” Beltran said. “We want to make sure that at the end of the day they can’t say ‘We did not receive any applications from qualified Latinos’.”

Rep. Chris Soto, D-New London, said the formation of the CT Latino Task Force is a first and an indication of maturing Latino politics in the state. He also said Connecticut’s Latinos may have come out to vote in greater numbers this year because they are opposed to President Donald Trump’s policies, but noted that wasn’t the only reason for turnout.

“People are starting to see the importance of being locally engaged,” he said.

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