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St. James Episcopal to Host the Vienna Boys’ Choir

WEST HARTFORD – The world-famous Vienna Boys’s Choir will give only one performance in Connecticut during its spring concert tour in the United States.

The Austrian ensemble will perform on April 2 at 7 p.m. at St. James’s Episcopal Church at 1018 Farmington Ave in West Hartford.

Artistic Director of Concerts at St. James Vaugh Mauren said the church is “extremely fortunate that the Vienna Boys Choir has included West Hartford in their 2019 tour.”

That’s because the choir gives about 300 concerts per year in locations across the world and is in high demand, he said.

“This concert is a rare opportunity for music lovers in the Greater Hartford region to have one of the finest boys choirs in the world,” Mauren said.

The Vienna Boy’s Choir, which traces its history to 1498, is known for their lively singing style and beautiful tone. Before 1918, the choir sang exclusively for the imperial court, at mass, concerts, private functions and on state occasions.

Mauren said that the choir will be heard in the natural acoustic of the church sanctuary that is “much more suited” to the boys’s voices than a larger venue.

The program will included the famous “O Fortuna” from Orff’s Carmina Burana, Renaissance and Baroque choral classics and selections from Broadway musicals. It will also end with favorite Strauss polkas and waltzes, including “The Beautiful Blue Danube.”

Tickets for the Vienna Boys Choir’s concert are priced from $20 to $65 and can be purchased here.

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Raising Costs of Transit and Rail Fares is Not Fiscally Sound

By Yanil Terón

Connecticut has four cities, Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, and Bridgeport, in the top thirty in the nation for zero-car households.  Seven neighborhoods in Hartford have household zero-car ownership rates above 40 percent.  Almost two-thirds of Hartford’s workforce, many of them using bus transit, work outside of Hartford.

During the 2018 transportation budget crisis, the CT DOT threatened to cut funds from the regional transit districts while raising bus and rail fares across the state.  Raising transit and rail costs while cutting service is a terrible strategy for getting Connecticut residents to work.

Cars are not an option for our state’s low-income residents and cutting their connection to jobs is not fiscally sound. Employers need workers, and transit gets them where they need to go.  A robust multimodal transportation system is egalitarian and provides key jobs access for both our urban professionals and the rest of the state’s workers.

The Center for Latino Progress works on equity and inclusion matters in a very inequitable state. We are involved in transportation topics because too often we find our neighbors and community limited by the inability to get to work. A transportation system that requires car ownership prevents many workers and families from building family savings and following the American dream.

We, as a grassroots organization, are in support of investment in our transportation system generated by tolls.  Toll revenue must be dedicated to building the sustainable transportation infrastructure of Connecticut’s future.  Tolls, as fees for highway use, are sorely needed for maintenance, bridge replacements, and continued investment in our transit and rail systems.  A modern, multimodal transportation system will allow businesses and communities to thrive while supporting the workers that power the economy.

The state’s commerce and community health should be driving the decision making.  Connecticut has the eighth oldest population in the nation and needs transportation options that support our aging seniors while simultaneously attracting a generation of young adults and professionals that are moving back into cities and town centers.  Both of those groups are looking to drive less and have an appetite for environmentally sustainable transportation that improves health, supports their neighborhoods, and connects them to opportunities.

A state that values all workers invests in accessible and high-quality transit systems and focuses on new development around transit corridors and stations.  Not everyone is going to take CTtransit, CTfastrak, or the Hartford Line commuter rail to work, but as more do, it will lift our local economies, reduce highway congestion, and improve our environment.  Considering the equity impact of tolls, we must provide a reduced fare structure for the working poor that are driving to work.

While federal and state gas tax rates have been flat for decades, transit fares have continued to rise. We need to consider how the transportation system of the future will serve our children and grandchildren with a livable world and green jobs.  Forty percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the transportation sector, the largest contributing sector by far.  Without a shift to a higher percentage of transit, rail, walking, and biking for commutes, we will be contributing to the global climate catastrophe. As a coastal state, Connecticut cannot pretend to ignore the ravages we will face from rising waters and extreme weather events.

The state legislature and the governor are currently considering the structure and funding for Connecticut’s infrastructure investments and transportation system that will serve future generations. We are one of a few Northeast states that have yet to reimplement highway tolls, and that hinders our ability to invest in a transportation system that builds a vibrant and sustainable state.

Gas tax revenues are flat and will be falling as cars become more efficient and the percentage of electric vehicles climb.  We are not reducing the number of highways, while the costs for maintenance and replacement of those aging interstate structures are climbing rapidly as they reach the end of their useful lives.  A highway toll is a reasonable user fee that needs to be implemented to invest in our state’s future.

Yanil Terón, Executive Director, Center for Latino Progress – CPRF, founded in 1978. The Center’s Transport Hartford Academy focuses on the multimodal transportation sector.

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It May be Bumpy, But Lamont Sees ‘a path forward’

By Mark Pazniokas,

HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont cast his first budget proposal Wednesday as “a path forward,” a map for a wealthy state struggling to wriggle free of a crushing pension debt amassed over decades, end crippling cycles of deficits and spark economic growth.

In a televised, 35-minute speech to the General Assembly, Lamont politely challenged lawmakers to suggest improvements if they don’t like his approach, pleading for “a different type of politics.” But at least for now, the new governor drew few hard lines beyond which he would not cross, all but inviting a robust debate. 

“Politics in Washington is a dysfunctional mess. Let’s show that here in Connecticut, we can work together on an honest budget, on time, one that gets our state moving again,” Lamont said. “When we disagree, don’t go to a microphone. Come to my office. My door is always open. Let’s get it done.”

The plea prompted an extended standing ovation from both sides of the aisle.

But other applause lines — promises of a higher minimum wage, a paid family and medical leave program, a pledge to preserve collective bargaining for state employees — only resonated among the majority Democrats. 

“I think it is a responsible budget that meets our needs. We are facing a deficit of about $1.5 billion in the next year and more than that in the year after that,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, D-New Haven. “We need some additional revenues. We also need to make sure we have an economic development plan that keeps the state moving forward and promotes job development. I think that’s a key.”

Republican leaders, however, responded coolly after the speech to the governor’s ideas for raising new revenue.

“Well, clearly Governor Lamont has an interest in fixing the state,” said House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby. “I think unfortunately the way he’s trying to do it now is only hurting Main Street America. The middle class is being hurt by far the most in this. I believe in a path forward for Connecticut as the governor mentioned, but this is not the path.”

Lamont, 65, a Democrat and Greenwich businessman, is only Connecticut’s second governor since Chester Bowles, who was elected in 1948, without experience as a legislator in either Hartford or Washington. The other was his predecessor, Dannel P. Malloy, who was mayor of Stamford for 14 years.

Since taking office on Jan. 9, Lamont has invited a steady procession of legislators and other stakeholders, including the state-employee unions that contributed to his victory, to the Executive Residence, listening more than talking.

“Politics in Washington is a dysfunctional mess. Let’s show that here in Connecticut, we can work together on an honest budget, on time, one that gets our state moving again.”

Gov. Ned Lamont

On Wednesday, it was Lamont’s turn to speak.

He was not quite as relaxed as during his inaugural on Jan. 9, when he displayed a goofy charm, offering commentary and asides on his own speech as he delivered it. There were no taxes on the table then, no tolls, no hard requests. But he occasionally ad libbed, playing off the lawmakers’ applause —or their silence.

His promise to save nearly $600 million a year by curtailing borrowing and putting the state on a “debt diet” drew predictable applause.

“Now, I’ve talked to a lot of you,” he said. “I know you agree in principle, but then you generally have ‘one more special project that’s in the queue in my district.’ So be forewarned — if it is not tied to economic or workforce development, or cost-saving shared services, Connecticut is on a debt diet – and I am going to make sure we stick to that plan.”

He raised his voice, punching what was intended to be an applause line.

Lawmakers offered only a stony silence.

Lamont smiled.

“Crickets,” he said.

That prompted laughter — and applause.

If Lamont faces resistance from lawmakers about closing the bonding favor bank, he is looking at trench warfare over his call to end sales-tax exemptions for most everything but groceries and prescription medications. He noted he is seeking no raises in the rates for income or sales taxes, but said Connecticut needs to modernize its sales tax structure.

“Our current sales tax is designed for a Sears Roebuck economy driven by over-the-counter sales. Today we live in an Amazon economy, which is driven by e-commerce, digital downloads, consumer services,” he said. “So my sales tax reform would broaden the base so that digital goods are treated equally and more significantly that we are capturing a growing segment of the economy.”

He suggested there is no rhyme or reason to the current exemptions. Haircuts are exempt, not manicures. Netflix is exempt, not movie tickets. Lamont insisted he knows the size of the fight he is inviting, that he has been warned off by legislative leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers.

“Believe me, I’ve been forewarned by all of you —there was bipartisan consensus on this — that every tax expenditure has a strong lobby behind it and the pushback will be ferocious,” Lamont said.

The new governor promised to push back.

For the first time since announcing Saturday he would propose options for electronic tolling on all motor vehicles — not just trucks, as he promised during his campaign — Lamont explained his rationale to a live audience.

The governor said his lawyers convinced him that trucks-only tolling would survive judicial scrutiny only if the tolls were collected on specific bridges to pay for their reconstruction. He promised Connecticut car drivers would get discounted rates, as other states provide to their motorists.

Democrats applauded.

“By the way, it is estimated that over 40 percent of tolling revenue would come from out of state. As we foot the bill when we travel through their neighboring states, it’s time for out-of-state drivers to help foot the bill for fixing our roads and bridges,” he said.

Republicans, who see tolls as a wedge issue for 2020, did not.

Lamont cast tolling as part of a larger plan to grow the economy,  saying there is little chance of extended growth without modern transportation infrastructure, and there is no way of modernizing infrastructure without tolls.

Tolls would allow Connecticut to speed rail service from Hartford through New Haven and Stamford to New York City and add more frequent service to Waterbury and New London, he said. They also would help his economic-development team when companies ask about gridlock.

“Rather than nervously looking down at our shoes or checking our watch, our economic development team will now be able to answer, ‘I’m glad you asked me that,’ ” he said.

“I believe in a path forward for Connecticut as the governor mentioned, but this is not the path.”

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby

Lamont faces structural deficits, as did his predecessor, but the immediate task is not as daunting as the $3.7 billion shortfall that greeted Malloy. In some ways, however, Lamont faces a more difficult political task.

Eight years ago, Democrats working with their first Democratic governor in two decades readily yielded to Malloy on difficult revenue questions, such as the $1.8 billion tax increase Malloy proposed in his first budget. The novelty of working with a Democratic governor is long gone — as Malloy discovered in his final two years in office, when legislators shut him out of budget talks.

Lamont needs to find his own path forward, as well as a way to coax lawmakers to join him on the trip. That is a work in progress.

A key talking point Wednesday was Lamont’s intention to break the cycle of deficits, a tempting prospect for lawmakers exhausted by the constant struggle to balance budgets, ignoring the future while paying off debts from the past.

“I will not allow this budget to be another scene from Groundhog Day, where I come to you year-after-year, hat-in-hand, lamenting the fact that we still haven’t addressed our structural deficits,” Lamont said. “Fixed costs inherited from the past consume nearly a third of Connecticut’s budget – much more than our peers. This hurts our ability to make investments in our future.”

He said he can offer a solution, but only if he is backed by lawmakers, selling his plan to business and labor, mayors and selectmen, town councils and boards of education. 

Everyone is going to have to sacrifice — take a haircut, as debtors tell creditors when there is not enough money to pay everyone.  And that includes paying the sales tax on every haircut.

Featured Photo Credit: Connecticut Public Radio

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Time to Gear Up for District and Magnet School Lottery

By Madeline Perez De Jesus

My daughter benefits from a different education reality than I did. My own working-class Puerto Rican parents, conversely, thought that all public schools were the same. My guidance counselor convinced my parents to allow me to apply to a prestigious exam high school in New York City allowing me to by-pass a low-resourced neighborhood school. Now I am writing a book on families navigating school choice. My experiences as a student, educational researcher (and now as a mother) have led me to understand that while the school choice system created by Sheff. v. O’Neill 30 years ago is not perfect, it has increased opportunity for Hartford children from backgrounds like my own who were previously shut out from high quality schools.

As my husband and I consulted our social network about the “process”, we realized their worldview and resources shaped the conventional wisdom many families shared with us.  As college professors, interpreted this advice through our own worldview and were mindful of the resources available to us as parents (that were not available to us as children).  We also learned that these perspectives are always tempered by reality. Below I list some of this conventional wisdom on public school choice followed by realities to consider:

Learn about your school options early.

Reality: Your options may already be shaped before your children are born based on where you’ve chosen to live (or didn’t choose). Where you live already shapes the menu of schools available to you (as well as your odds of getting in). Folks who are low-income are not likely to be able to access the full range of options with zoning.

You have to talk to lots of people to get the scoop on how they are experiencing the schools.

Reality: This assumes that you can access a network of parents whose children attend a wide variety of schools. If you don’t, you need to muster up the courage to speak to strangers. Trust and safety concerns impact one’s ability to engage strangers. When I was conducting my research in New York City, many wealthy parents told me it was the norm to be approached by prospective neighbors who wanted to learn about the schools. The working class and poor parents I interviewed thought it was crazy to approach strangers because of safety.

You have to make time to attend school open houses as well as workshops on how the lottery process works.

Reality: It was vital for us to visit schools observing classes in session. This gave us a strong sense of our top schools early on. Not everyone has the opportunity to visit on a weekday between 8am-3pm.  Parents who have overall control of how they schedule their time are the ones who are able to do this best.

You can apply to the HPS lottery every year and any year.

Reality: For Hartford residents, if you don’t apply in preschool, your chances diminish rapidly afterward. The Pre-K 3 year has the most seats available and therefore the highest chance of allowing you to get selected. Even if the seat you are offered was not one of your top choices, you are still advantaged as you are now the “in the system” and given priority if you choose to reapply next year. In her policy brief on the Sheff Movement, Mira Debs highlights that pre-k3 children are not provided transportation by the school system. Therefore, those who have control over their transportation are the ones who can take advantage of this.

Apply to the schools in your order of preference.

Reality: If you live in Hartford, zones really matter. (Jack Dougherty, from Trinity College writes about this.)  In order to increase your chances of being matched to a school, rank them while keeping in mind your odds of getting in. The press publishes the percentage of applicants from each town who get offers to schools which can be used to inform the way you rank your selections. Not everyone knows this. Therefore, parents who seek out data from reputable sources can rank in the ways that are most advantageous.

Consider sharing this information with someone who might need it before the February 28 lottery deadline. And let’s work to further efforts to make the lottery process support the needs of the families in Hartford with the fewest resources. Our entire region is better off as a result.



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Veterans to Host an Evening of Comedy to Benefit Veterans

BRIDGEPORT — Veterans will be helping veterans when three comedians perform on March 8.

Homes for the Brave, Treehouse Comedy Productions, and Funny4Funds will present a lively and memorable night out at the Third Annual “For Veterans By Veterans” Comedy Night, hosted at Vazzano’s Four Seasons at 337 Kenyon St. in Stratford.

The “For Veterans By Veterans” Comedy Night features a buffet dinner, door prizes, 50/50 raffle, and a hilarious lineup of professional comics, all of whom are U.S. Military Veterans.

Jay Are Adams (US Navy, served 2000-2016), Rich Carucci (US Army, served 1983-1986), and Jody Sloane (US Coast Guard, served 1985-1989) are scheduled to perform. Proceeds raised from the event will fund programs and services that assist homeless veterans to get back on their feet, organizers said.

Opening its doors in 2002, Homes for the Brave is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing safe housing, case management, vocational services, and life skills coaching to homeless individuals, primarily veterans.

Money raised from the Comedy Night will benefit HFTB’s offerings. To date, the organization has served over 1,250 individuals.

Tickets are $75 per person and tables of 10 can be purchased for $750. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. for dinner and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. To purchase your tickets or for more information visit or call (203) 338-0669.

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The Losers in this Competition: Hartford Students

By Julia Rosenblatt and Ajia Loomis

Let us say first that we believe in magnet schools. We believe in neighborhood schools, too. Unfortunately, we believe the state has done everything in it’s power to avoid taking real responsibility for Hartford schools, despite the Sheff v. O’Neill ruling that says they are obligated to combat segregation and provide equal educational opportunity for all students. These failures of the state are playing out right now at a school that predates that ruling by a full decade.

Starting in the fall of 2019, the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts will split into two schools. There will be a full-day school with academics and arts enrichment, and a half-day professional arts training program. Students will have to choose one school or the other. However, for the last six years, Hartford Public School district (HPS) has refused to bus Hartford students to the half-day program. Knowing this, CREC Superintendent Timothy Sullivan still went ahead with his plan, leaving Hartford students with no real access to the professional training program (there are a handful of students that go to Bulkeley in the morning but they have to walk to the half-day program. They are often late and therefore miss important Academy classes).

Why won’t HPS bus their students? Because the school choice system we have says that money follows the student. Schools, and therefore districts, are in constant competition for students dollars. So while HPS is closing schools, supposedly due to low enrollment, they sure aren’t going help CREC get more student dollars.

Although Sullivan says he rushed this decision through in order to give families time to re-enter the lottery, this has actually been the plan since May of 2018. CREC didn’t let the public know until the middle of October. You see, October 1 is the date by which the state calculates how much money each school gets based on their number of students. By waiting until after October 1, Sullivan didn’t risk losing student dollars for the school year.

And for CREC, it all comes down to dollars. For years the non-profit organization has subsidized its 16 schools through their lucrative real estate and construction side jobs. But the state is pushing CREC out of this business, and CREC is passing that pain onto its schools.

At this point, HPS and CREC  are in cahoots in segregating our students, directly in violation of Sheff. Systemically though, this is the planned outcome and effects of a market-based education regime that pits schools against each other.

The city, the state and CREC can, and will point fingers at each other, but the only real victims here are the students.

Julia Rosenblatt and Ajia Loomis are the parents of Hartford school children. This was first published on

Photo by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

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A Push to End Housing Discrimination Against Ex-Offenders

By Mark Pazniokas,

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

“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.

Featured Photo: Facebook

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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
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
“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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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,
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

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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?


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


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


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 Featured Photo by

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