Primary Challengers Crash and Burn

Party Endorsed Candidates Win Both Races

Endorsed candidates Dianne Nolan (D8) and Linda Chaffin (D9) solidly defeated their challengers Dick Brown and Rick Marcone in Tuesday’s Primary Election.

Democrats in these districts resoundingly declared their support for qualified candidates to move on to the November 2nd election.

Here are complete, unofficial results from the two Democratic primary elections for Town Council on Tuesday.

In both cases, voters overwhelmingly chose new, progressive voices –endorsed by the party — instead of one-time party stalwarts who had yoked themselves to the GOP.

  • Endorsed candidates by the Stratford Democratic Town Committee
  • Nolan’s huge margin came despite typical, GOP-style, last minute, inaccurate attack ad. She was up against a much better known opponent who worked the phones like crazy and, as a realtor, had seemingly sold homes to half the voters in the district.
  • Chaffin’s huge margin came despite little campaigning.  Marcone, a former Democratic town chairman, had twice run in the district as the Democratic town council candidate and was much better known. He took the race very seriously.
  • For the first time in memory, about half the votes cast in each election contest came via Absentee Ballots. (AB Percentage was 33% for Stratford in 2020 presidential election).

Dianne Nolan presently teaches at Central High School in Bridgeport, is a union building delegate, directs the Summer Springboard Program at Yale, and is a member of the ESPN3 Basketball Broadcast Crew at Quinnipiac University.

Dianne Nolan and her husband Mark have owned a home in Stratford for over 30 years, and lived at Oronoque Shores for seven years.  They are the proud parents of three boys and two granddaughters.

Linda Chaffee is passionate about civics and community participation having spent her career as a Volunteer Director and Certified teacher, eventually combining her passion for teaching with community service work.  She taught character education through service in districts throughout the state of Connecticut, for 13 years. Most recently, in 2018, she worked with a student group to introduce and pass state legislation to eliminate polystyrene in schools. The group also worked tirelessly to eliminate plastic bags in our state.

 

 

 

 

Kathleen Callahan

Democratic Candidate for Town Council in District 10

My name is Kathleen Callahan and I am running for Town Council in District 10. My wife, Karen Tracy, and I are lifelong Connecticut residents and have lived in Stratford for 11 years. We plan to retire and spend the rest of our lives here and realized it was time to help enhance the positive and bring a new perspective to the future planning and vision of our town.

I am a woman in long term recovery from addiction; a daughter, sister, wife, friend, and colleague; a community social worker; a former software engineer; and a lifelong learner, consensus builder, problem solver, and leader. I think in relationships, systems, stories, and data. My recovery is my touchstone, the measure of who I am and the determination of how I show up on a daily basis. Through my darkest days, into the challenges of today, and the concerns and hopes for the future, I am firmly grounded in the frailty and magnificence of our human experience, individually and collectively.

Our town’s budget is annual, town council terms are 2 years, mayoral 4 years. Short-term goals are easier given these restraints, and lack of consistent stakeholders can often preclude long-term planning. My experience in both careers has shaped a responsiveness that mitigates these impediments, allowing me to work toward a goal on the horizon and position projects to achieve that goal. I have learned how to shift seamlessly between team member and leader, effectively and efficiently research and resource issues, and actively listen with an open mind while growing into a skilled communicator and motivator.

As a social worker, I have been responsible for the development and implementation of community programming. This includes fostering relationships and educating about the impact of childhood and community adversity while engaging state agencies, legislative champions, and statewide committees and workgroups to promote trauma-responsive, evidence-based best-practices that improve services, empower individuals, and enhance community resilience.

My software career was comprehensive, successful, and satisfying, spanning over two decades. My experience was multi-disciplined with systems ranging from real-time, multi-tasking, embedded airborne avionics and surface-based radar applications to early, innovative e-commerce web sites.

I will bring the whole of my life’s experiences, personal and professional, to the Town Council as the representative of the 10th District. I believe Stratford is at a tipping point. While surrounding communities seem to be thriving, even in the midst of multiple public health crises, it appears our town and many of our residents are facing diminishing mobility and opportunities for growth that predate the current challenges. My life experiences have sharpened my ability to connect, motivate, and provide options. A sense of urgency dictates a new path for our town, one with visionary leadership and creative solutions. I want to leverage my skills to improve the lives of those in my district and help transform the town of Stratford.

The core of my candidacy is optimism and potential. I want to advance opportunities provided by our assets – geography, people, and resources, recognizing that Stratford is uniquely positioned for this moment. I understand the impact of COVID on communities that have long been marginalized, how it has magnified disparities and inequities, and also the need to address the collective grief of the town.

My goals for our town align with our Democratic Party priorities: to empower residents to prioritize President Biden’s investments in America and Stratford; lower residential taxes with honest budgeting and smart economic development; create a resilient Stratford with innovative green energy infrastructure; ensure that government, boards, and commissions represent Stratford’s evolving diversity; and redistrict based on census data to end gerrymandering and ensure fairness and equity.

My work for residents of District 10 will be informed by my personal experiences living in this area and focus on things I’ve been learning from my neighbors as I walk the doors. Key concerns I continue to hear at the doors are taxes and public safety.

Lowering residential taxes requires expanding our tax base to lower our residential mill rate, making Stratford more attractive to people wanting to live here and businesses wanted to locate here. While not the economic engine of the town, our district benefits from a diverse business culture that employs residents and draws customers – and even new residents – to town, creating a sustainable cycle of growth and increased advancement. What brings new residents is also the school system. A Democratic Board of Education will benefit our schools, including Second Hill Lane, with increased resourcing for students and teachers and a more visible role for parents and teachers in decisions.

As your town councilwoman I would gather the residents’ input while monitoring and supporting our interests on some of the interesting potential development in our district, including the fate of the residential buildings alongside the Ella T. Grasso therapeutic swimming pool and the continued buzz about a new diner next to the shopping complex on Hawley Lane, directly across from the Trumbull Marriott. Who doesn’t love diners? I know I sure do as may some hotel guests. Of importance would be impact on traffic in the area which has, by my experience, improved since the end of 2020 holiday congestion.

Our town’s Complete Streets Plan provides many public safety suggestions for dealing with high speed vehicles and I would work to ensure their recommended expansion of traffic calming measures, proven to slow traffic, to our district. Over the past few months, I’ve heard multiple crashes on our nearby traffic light signal on Broadbridge Avenue at the entrance to Remington Woods. I will also advocate for incorporating green infrastructure and supporting the plan’s program for storm water management.

Regarding Remington Woods, I support this area as an urban forest to protect what I believe is the largest undeveloped open space in Fairfield County. When I first moved to Stratford, I worked for a consulting firm that contracted for Sikorsky and was located in the office park there. I look forward to sharing some of my ideas about how to renovate that structure after remediation is complete.

I am meeting many of my neighbors, listening to their reasons why they love our town and what their concerns and needs are. I am excited to be considered for Town Council by the residents of my district.

National Small Business Week

by State Representative Joe Gresko, (D)
Connecticut House District 121

It’s National Small Business Week, the perfect opportunity for us to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of our state’s and nation’s small business owners and leaders. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create roughly 66% of jobs in our country each year.

At a time when small businesses matter more than ever for the local economies, and remembering the hard challenges faced by business owners during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, please take time this week to shop at local small businesses and restaurants and support those in your community. Find a list – by category – of local businesses in our district by clicking the button below and searching the Connecticut Magazine database.

https://www.connecticutmag.com/marketplace/

If you are a local business owner, please also remember that Connecticut offers a number of programs to ensure your success. Please click the button below to access resources available to you.

https://service.ct.gov/business/s/ResourceCenter?language=en_US

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at the Capitol at 800-842-8267 or email me at Joseph.Gresko@cga.ct.gov.

Democrat Primary in 9th District

Tuesday, September 14th

Bunnell High School: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Linda Chaffin vs Rick Marcone

In the 9th, Rick Marcone is seeking to upset Linda Chaffin, the Stratford Democratic Committee Endorsed Candidate, in a primary election this Tuesday.

Marcone, who has been active in several community organizations for years, was the party’s registrar of voters until last year, when he was snubbed by Democrats at their endorsement meeting for the post in favor of Jim Simon.  Marcone then lost a primary to Simon for the position, and came up short again in November after petitioning his way onto the general election ballot.

He has since been hired as a part-time file clerk at Town Hall.  According to campaign finance disclosures filed by Republican Mayor Laura Hoydick’s campaign, he donated $100 June 10.

Linda Chaffee is passionate about civics and community participation having spent her career as a Volunteer Director and Certified teacher, eventually combining her passion for teaching with community service work.

She taught character education through service in districts throughout the state of Connecticut, for 13 years. Most recently, in 2018, she worked with a student group to introduce and pass state legislation to eliminate polystyrene in schools. The group also worked tirelessly to eliminate plastic bags in our state.

Linda and her husband Tom co-lead an Indivisible group that worked to help get Phil Young elected twice and created a program called “Adopt A District” in which over 300 DTC volunteers throughout the state committed to canvassing for candidates outside of their districts in “winnable” areas to get Democratic Senators elected. This practice has been used repeatedly in some districts. Linda and Tom lead the effort to get early voting passed in the legislature. The Indivisible group continues to call, post card, text and canvas on issues of concern in CT, as well as other states.

Linda is married, has one child and is a passionate organic gardener.

Democrats to Vote on Tuesday

Primary Challenge in 8th District

Dianne Nolan vs Dick Brown
Chapel School Showdown

In the 8th District in northeast Stratford, Dick Brown will challenge Dianne Nolan, the candidate endorsed last month by Democratic Town Committee members, to run in the November election to serve as the District’s Councilperson.

Her campaign platform consists of three major planks:

1) To communicate with and listen to all the residents of District 8 and work on their behalf. I propose doing so by hosting frequent district 8 meetings with an open forum for residents to share their concerns.

2) As a member of the Town Council, I plan to use my position to work with other council members and town agencies to make Stratford more competitive in obtaining new commercial development to ease the tax burden on all Stratford homeowners.

3) I will fight to be sure there is total transparency with the budget and all funding that flows in and out of the town.

Dianne and her husband Mark have owned a home in Stratford for over 30 years, and lived at Oronoque Shores for seven years.  They are the proud parents of three boys and two granddaughters.

She presently teaches at Central High School in Bridgeport, is a union building delegate, directs the Summer Springboard Program at Yale, and is a member of the ESPN3 Basketball Broadcast Crew at Quinnipiac University.

She received her undergraduate degree at Rowan University and graduate degree in Physical Education from West Virginia University. Dianne began her college teaching and coaching career at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY. Her next stop was Fairfield University where she obtained a Master’s in Corporate and Political Communications and coached the Women’s Basketball Team for 28 years.

After stops at Yale and Lafayette College she retired having accumulated 575 Career Wins, Four NCAA Tournament Appearances and the distinction of having every senior she ever coached graduate, on time, with their degree.

Dianne has been inducted into more than a half dozen Athletic Halls of Fame, including the Fairfield County Athletic Hall of Fame, served on the executive Board of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association as Treasurer, on board of the Wakeman Boys and Girls Club and currently the Field of Dreams of Bridgeport.

Born and raised in Gloucester City, NJ.  Her father was a US Postal Service Letter Carrier and decorated Marine Corps veteran and Purple Heart recipient from the Battle of Guadalcanal.  Her mother was a High School Teacher and accomplished Girls Basketball Coach and her brother recently retired from his business agent position with Local 8 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Union.

“I am excited about serving the Stratford Community and am enjoying canvassing, talking to folks about their love of Stratford and concerns.” Dianne Nolan

Dick Brown is a real estate agent with Re/Max in Trumbull, and has served in a number of positions over the course of decades of involvement in Stratford organizations and politics. According to financial filings, on June 10th he donated to Laura Hoydick’s re-election campaign.

On the day they he filed paperwork in Town Hall to challenge Dianne Nolan, Brown attended a fundraiser for Jim Connor, the incumbent Republican Town Council member for the 8th District.  Brown, who serves with Connor on the Boothe Park Commission, said that his presumed Republican opponent is “a good guy” but that he wanted to give Democrats in the 8th District another option besides Nolan.

Brown is also a candidate for constable, according to the filings posted online with the Stratford Town Clerks office.

 

Ask the Registrar – Stratford, CT

Special Edition: Primary election rundown for Sept. 14

By Registrar James Simon

Why are there elections Sept. 14th in some parts of Stratford but not in my neighborhood?

Two Democrats gathered enough signatures to force a primary for the town council nomination in District 8 (Chapel School) and District 9 (Bunnell High School).  There is no primary election in any other part of town; the general election is Nov. 2.

In District 8, the Democratic Party’s choice, Dianne Nolan, is being challenged by Richard Brown. In District 9, endorsed candidate Linda Chaffin is being challenged by Richard Marcone.

Turnout is usually very light in primary elections. We expect even fewer people to show up at the polls this year due to Covid fears and due to the state’s decision to allow all voters to use mail-in absentee ballots. To obtain an AB in Districts 8 or 9, contact Town Clerk Susan Pawluk,  203-385-4020;  spawluk@townofstratford.com

I see the white Ballot Drop Box on the side of Town Hall, across from the Fire Station. Why are you using it?

A new state law makes the boxes a permanent feature of Connecticut elections and mandates that they become available 29 days before every election (in this case, the Sept. 14 primary).

The Stratford drop boxes were very popular last November when hundreds of town voters dropped off their ballots there, in part due to worries about the reliability of the U.S. Postal Service.

The Town Clerk’s office constantly empties the box, right up until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

You may think your mailed-in absentee ballot will be counted as long as it is postmarked before Election Day – You would be wrong!    8 p.m. is the cutoff at polling locations and at the Drop Box, and any late arriving ballots are not included in the count.

How often do people break into these white Ballot Drop Boxes or tamper with them?

In a conference call with Registrars of Voters on Aug. 30, 2021, state election officials said they had zero reports of that happening in any of the 169 Connecticut cities and towns in the 2020 election.

I worry about safeguarding my personal information. How do I prevent someone from obtaining my full birthday information from my voter registration form?  

Your voter registration form is a public record, and anyone can ask us to see it. A new state law mandates that Registrars of Voters, upon demand, provide only the month and year of a person’s birth, instead of the full day+month+year as done in the past.

We also cross out the first five digits of your Social Security number, whenever we see it on a card, to help protect your information.

How often do you update voter registration records? How often do you find a mistake?

On a daily basis, we update the Stratford voting rolls with information on people moving, dying, or losing their right to vote if they are imprisoned for a felony offense.

We make thousands of changes every year to the 35,000 records. Some of the best sources of information for updates come from the state Department of Motor Vehicles and the U.S. Postal Service.

We recently found dozens of Stratford women were registered to vote twice: once under their maiden name, and then again under a married name. There was no evidence they had actually voted twice; it’s just that when you get married, informing the Registrar of Voter’s office isn’t exactly your top priority!

Stratford Registrar James Simon worked as a political reporter for 10 years with The Associated Press, then taught courses like political journalism for 18 years as a professor and dean at Fairfield University. He was elected as the Democratic Registrar of Voters in Stratford in November 2020.

More Questions? Please send them to Registrar Jim Simon; jsimon@townofstratford.com. This is not an official publication of the Town of Stratford. (Vol. 1, No. 9; September 2021)

 

State of Connecticut Insurance Department

Consumer Tips for Filing Storm Claims

The Connecticut Insurance Department offers the following guidelines for filing storm claims:

Immediately Following the Disaster

Make temporary repairs or arrange for a qualified professional to do so.

Take photos of the damage and remove personal property if your home cannot be secured. Do not dispose of property until an insurance adjuster has reviewed it for your claim. Many policies include reimbursement for storage costs incurred until your home is repaired.

If you can still live in the home, talk with your agent about critical repairs that need to be made. Whether you make the repairs or hire someone, save the receipts for your claim.

If you need to find other lodging, keep records of expenses and all receipts. Homeowners and renter’s insurance generally provide limited coverage for expenses like: meals, rent, utility installation and transportation.

Reporting Your Claim

Most insurance companies have a time requirement for filing a claim. The process will go faster if you can locate a copy of your policy and home inventory.

Call the company or visit a mobile claims center to start your claim. If you need help locating your company or agent, contact the Connecticut Insurance Department at 800-203-3447 or use our online contact options.

You will be asked to list all items destroyed, damaged or missing. If you do not have a home inventory, begin making a list of items going room by room from memory and include as much detail as possible.

If your car is damaged while in your garage/carport, it is covered by your automobile policy—not your homeowners policy. If you are insured by two separate companies for these coverages you must file a claim with both companies.

From Your Company

Your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to survey the damage at no cost to you. Public adjusters may offer the same services, but you would be responsible for any related fees. Check to be sure they are licensed with the state insurance department.

Do not feel rushed or pushed to agree on a settlement. If there are disagreements, try to resolve them with your insurer. If you cannot reach an agreement, the Connecticut Insurance Department can help you decide if arbitration or mediation is an option.

Your full claim may come in multiple payments. The first will likely be an emergency advance and may include additional living expenses. The payment for your personal property and any additional living expenses will be made out to you. Payments for the structure may be payable to you and your lien holder if there is a mortgage on your home.

Making Repairs

Beware of scams! Fraudulent individuals often take advantage of the chaos following a disaster. Check with the state Department of Consumer Protection to make sure contractors are properly licensed and/or registered and get references before hiring a contractor to make repairs. Always insist on a written estimate before repairs begin and do not sign any contracts before the adjuster has examined the damage.

Do not pay a contractor the full amount up front or sign over your insurance settlement payment. A contractor should expect to be paid a percentage when the contract is signed and the remainder when the work is completed.

If the contractor finds hidden damage that was not discovered in the original assessment by the adjuster, contact your insurance company to resolve the difference.

Additional Information

Flood and earthquake damage are not covered in a typical homeowners or renter’s policy. If you have a separate flood or earthquake policy, contact the company that wrote the additional policy to file your claim.

Even after settling your claim, if you think of items that were not in your initial loss list, contact your insurance company. Unless the company has paid the entire limit for the coverage of those types of items, it is possible the company will make an additional payment.

If your damages exceed the amount of your coverage, federal agencies will occasionally provide grants or low-interest loans to assist with recovery following major disasters.

More Information

If you have any questions about the coverages in your policy, or if you need help with a problem regarding your claim following a disaster at your home, contact the Connecticut Insurance Department at 800-203-3447 or 860-297-3900 or go to the “Be Prepared” page on our Web site.

Henri Damage Claims

by State Representative Ben McGorty, 122nd District

If you suffered any losses due to Tropical Storm Henri this week, time is of the essence to ensuring your insurance claim is filed and processed swiftly.

The Insurance Commissioner is encouraging residents who experienced damage from the storm to:

  • Take photos of the damage and remove personal property if your home cannot be secured.
  • Do not dispose of property until an insurance adjuster has reviewed it for your claim.
  • Call the company or visit a mobile claims center to start your claim.

If you need help locating your company or agent, contact the Connecticut Insurance Department at 800-203-3447 or online.

If your car is damaged while in your garage/carport, it is covered by your automobile policy—not your homeowners policy. If you are insured by two separate companies for these coverages you must file a claim with both companies.

If you can still live in the home, talk with your agent about critical repairs that need to be made. Whether you make the repairs or hire someone, save the receipts for your claim.

If you need to find other lodging, keep records of expenses and all receipts.

Homeowners and renter’s insurance generally provide limited coverage for expenses like meals, rent, utility installation and transportation.

Reporting Your Claim

Most insurance companies have a time requirement for filing a claim. The process will go faster if you can locate a copy of your policy and home inventory.

Call the company or visit a mobile claims center to start your claim.

You will be asked to list all items destroyed, damaged or missing. If you do not have a home inventory, begin making a list of items going room by room from memory and include as much detail as possible.

If you have difficulty reaching your insurer, have a claim dispute or have questions on any insurance-related topic you can reach me by:

Phone (800) 203-3447 or (860) 297-3900

Or online:  ben.mcgorty@housegop.ct.gov

 

 

Car Thefts

Republicans focus on the anecdotal. Democrats emphasize data

By: Kelan Lyons
A reporter for America Corps who covers the intersection of mental health and criminal justice for CT Mirror. Before joining CT Mirror, Kelan was a staff writer for City Weekly, an alternate weekly in Salt Lake City, and a court reporter for The Bryan-College Station Eagle, in Texas.

On July 7th, one week after a 17-year-old driving a stolen car allegedly hit and killed a jogger in New Britain, Republicans stood outside the Capitol to deliver a message: The juvenile justice system is failing.

Members of the mostly white crowd, including police chiefs from New Britain and Wolcott, told stories of out-of-control teens with “no regard for human life,” warning that vigilantes will take it upon themselves to protect their communities if young people continue to be released from jail following arrests for “violent sexual assaults,” and that police don’t know what they’re going to do once minors who chronically steal cars turn 18 because by then they’ll be sophisticated, emboldened criminals.

“The state of Connecticut [is] now training our juveniles to become lifelong criminals, as opposed to putting meaningful programs in place to make sure that recidivism doesn’t occur,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford.

A month later, Democrats gathered at the same spot. The visual contrast to the Republicans’ press conference was striking. Instead of police officers standing next to lawmakers, there were posters of charts and bullet points, an effort to recast the narrative onto data-driven solutions to crime that don’t rely on young people serving time in prison.

And while Republicans focused on tragic stories and impassioned demands for accountability, Democrats honed in on facts and figures that showed car thefts hit a historic low in 2019 and noted that arrests for car thefts in the first six months of 2021 were roughly equal to the same period in 2019.  Data was provided by the Judicial Branch.

They cautioned against punitive policies that they warned would disproportionately punish young people of color.  And, they offered a tip for people worried about their vehicle getting stolen: lock your car.

Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven and co-chair of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee, implored journalists to get the facts straight and use data to inform their reporting.  “Do not give me anecdotal,” Walker said. “That is not fair to our state.”

The recent debate about juvenile crime, while showing differences between the two parties in style and substance, is hardly a new one. Nor are car thefts a new problem in Connecticut.

They peaked in 1991, when 26,254 cars were stolen. In 2019, there were 5,964, a 77% reduction.

Preliminary figures released by the State Police show there were 8,439 motor vehicle thefts in 2020, the highest since 2008.

What has changed is where those thefts are occurring. Data show that as motor vehicle thefts have declined in Connecticut’s major cities, typically represented in the legislature by Democrats, they have increased in surrounding suburban communities, where Republicans are more likely to hold seats.

At the Democrats’ press conference, Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, pointed out that the narrative has shifted now that the victims of these crimes are from whiter suburbs than minority-majority cities.

“And then we paid a different level of attention and started talking about victims, but there were always victims,” said Winfield, the co-chair of the Judiciary Committee. “I slept with a knife under my mattress every night because I was a victim of crime constantly.”

Juveniles do not make up the majority of those who are arrested for stealing cars. State police data shows that between 2010 and 2019, just 28% of those arrested for motor vehicle thefts were minors. Preliminary figures from 2020 show that children accounted for 36% of motor vehicle theft arrests.

Candelora said in an interview Thursday that Democrats are mischaracterizing the Republican position and have tried to divert the conversation from whether certain crimes should be treated differently and more easily transferred to adult court. He also said arrest figures were a flawed metric to gauge how common car thefts are — a report released earlier this year found that police made arrests in just 11.6% of cases in 2019.

“There’s been many more victims in our communities where the crime has not resulted in an arrest, and therefore that data isn’t captured,” Candelora said. “And that’s the piece of why the public isn’t believing that arrests are down, or juvenile justice crime is down. The arrests may be down, but people aren’t feeling any safer in their homes.”

Candelora said Republicans have been in the same private conversations as Walker, talking with the Judicial Branch and police officers about issues in the juvenile justice system.

“To suggest that we aren’t looking at the same data that she is, when we’re all in the same room together, is disingenuous,” Candelora said.

Also in attendance was Michael Lawlor, a Democrat who has been in the middle of all things criminal justice related in Connecticut since the early ’90s. A former chair of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee and criminal justice point-person for former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lawlor has been through these political fights before.

After the Cheshire murders in 2007, when two men got out of prison and murdered a woman and her two daughters during a horrific home invasion, Republicans running for election in 2008 signed a pledge that they would vote in favor of a three-strikes law if they were elected to the legislature. The proposal would have imposed a mandatory life sentence for anyone convicted of their third violent crime.

Democrats, Lawlor said, focused their campaigns that election cycle on what they’d accomplished in the past legislative session. After two special commissions submitted recommendations on how to ensure a tragedy like Cheshire didn’t happen again, Democrats voted with Republicans to institute a wide-ranging set of reforms, adding a full-time psychologist to the Board of Pardons and Parole and mandating board members have the complete files of people they’re considering for parole — changes that didn’t grab headlines like a three-strikes law, but ultimately made the prison system, and communities, safer, Lawlor said, and improved confidence in the justice system.

Republicans failed to translate those fears from the 2007 murders in the 2008 elections. Democrats picked up seats. Republican losses in the General Assembly were the worst since the post-Watergate shellacking of 1974.

Years later, during the Malloy administration, Republicans castigated the governor for the Risk Reduction Earned Credit, a program started in 2011 that allows incarcerated people to earn a maximum of five days a month off their sentence if they follow individualized treatment plans created by the Department of Correction. Those convicted of certain violent crimes are ineligible.

Lawlor said Democrats responded by crunching the numbers. They found that high-risk offenders were doing a greater percentage of their sentences since the risk-reduction earned credits were instituted than had been the case under the previous system, thanks to the program’s emphasis on empirical data.

“The complexity of it doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker,” Lawlor said. “As people come to understand what it really does and how it really works, I think people get it.”

Each time, Lawlor said, Democrats’ plan was the same.  “Lots of boring details — facts. Sometimes you have to say the same thing a thousand times before a person hears it,” he said. “This strategy does work. It just takes a while.”

Lawlor was first elected to the House of Representatives by East Haven voters in 1986, two years before former President George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton ad, a racist TV spot that assailed his opponent Michael Dukakis for being lenient on crime.

“I saw how quickly things went off the rails,” Lawlor said, between spending larger and larger slices of the state budget on prisons and widening racial disparities in the incarcerated population. “I see a glimmer of that going on right now.”

“Nobody feels that they’re safer today than they were five years ago or two years ago,” said Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford.  Republicans held another press conference on Aug. 10th, sans police, to once again redirect the narrative.

“Republicans are not merely calling for just incarceration, and we recognize the complexity of this issue,” Candelora said.

They released their own proposals for dealing with car thefts, including requiring family support service interventions sooner in juvenile court cases, expanding the types of crimes for which a child older than age 12 is automatically transferred to the adult court, instituting around-the-clock monitoring of children arrested while they’re awaiting trial for another charge, and allowing cops to access all juvenile records to ensure they have all the information when determining whether to seek a detention order following an arrest.

“Let me be clear, we’re not in favor of incarcerating a child just because they steal their first car,” said Rep. Craig Fishbein, R-Wallingford and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee.

After the Republican press conference, Winfield said there was already a space for Republicans and Democrats, prosecutors and defense attorneys, police and advocates to talk about reforming the juvenile justice system: The Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee meets every month. They could have these conversations at those meetings, not at press conferences. There, members watch presentations on the latest juvenile justice figures. (There was one on car thefts in March.)

Winfield reiterated that understanding the data and correcting misperceptions stemming from the press conferences — that children who commit crimes aren’t incarcerated, that it doesn’t matter whether crime is higher or lower than past years — are critical. If not, he warned, “the public now begins to say, ‘Well then we’re not safe. You guys need to do something.’”

“If you allow this to get out of hand [and don’t] correct inaccurate information, you may find yourself in a place like 30 years ago, where you are incarcerating people at rates you don’t need to,” he said.

Be Heard – Take Charge of Your Health Insurance

Public Hearing on Tuesday, August 31st

Connecticut Insurance Department

The Connecticut Insurance Department has announced proposed health insurance rate hikes for 2022 filed by Aetna, Anthem Health Plans, ConnectiCare Benefits Inc., Cigna Health and Life, Harvard Pilgrim and United Healthcare/Oxford for the 2022 plan year.

The rate increases range from 5.1 percent to 12.3 percent in the individual market and from 7.4 percent to 15.8 percent in the small group market.  Any changes would apply to individual and small group health plans on and off the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange, Access Health CT. Those plans currently cover about 222,700 people.

This is the second time the state Insurance Department has had to review and rule on insurance rate filings during the ongoing pandemic.

Public Hearing:
Meeting Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Time: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Viewing: The Department’s YouTube Channel will live stream the informational meeting being held at the Department’s offices.

In-Person:

Insurance Department
153 Market Street, 7th Floor
Hartford

Parking is available at the Morgan Street Garage.

The wearing of a mask is required to enter the office space and attend the meeting.

The public will have an opportunity to submit questions and/or provide comments specific to the rate filings. Anyone wishing to testify can sign up by sending an email to:

cid.RateFilings@ct.gov

Include your name and testimony attached no later than 4:00 pm on Friday, August 27, 2021.

Testimony is limited to 3 minutes per person. Due to the number of filings and amount of material to be covered at the meeting, the Department may not get to every question from the public.

Insurance Information:  On Exchange

Individual

 

COMPANY AVERAGE REQUEST RANGE APPROVED AVG. APPROVED AVG. RANGE COVERED LIVES
Anthem Health Plans* 12.3% 6.1 to 22.6% Under Review Under Review 28,071
CTCare Benefits Inc. 7.4% 1.1 to 16.8% Under Review Under Review 81,852
ConnectiCare Insurance Company, Inc. N/A**        

*Anthem participates both on and off exchange. Rates are the same for both.

**ConnectiCare Insurance Company, Inc. begins participation on the exchange effective 1/1/2022

Small Group

For employers with 50 or fewer workers

 

COMPANY AVERAGE REQUEST RANGE APPROVED AVG. APPROVED AVG. RANGE COVERED LIVES
Anthem Health Plans* 11.5% 4.5 to 23.5% Under Review Under Review 25,529
CTCare Benefits Inc. 13.6% 7.6 to 18.5% Under Review Under Review 1,786

 

*Anthem participates both on and off exchange. Rates are same for both.

 

OFF EXCHANGE PLANS

Individual

 

COMPANY AVERAGE REQUEST RANGE APPROVED AVG. APPROVED AVG. RANGE COVERED LIVES
CTCare Inc. 10.9% 8.8 to 18.7% Under Review Under Review 3,053
CTCare Insurance Co. 5.1% 2.8 to 6.5% Under Review Under Review 3,096

 

Small Group

For employers with 50 or fewer workers

 

COMPANY AVERAGE REQUEST RANGE APPROVED AVG. APPROVED AVG. RANGE COVERED LIVES
Aetna Life Insurance Company 14.1% 14.1% Under Review Under Review 149
Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company N/A***        
CTCare Inc. 11.6% 8.0 to 14.9% Under Review Under Review 295
CTCare Insurance Co. 7.4% 4.8 to 10.5% Under Review Under Review 17,904
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Inc. 14.5% 13.4 to 15.5% Under Review Under Review 4,413
HPHC Insurance Company, Inc. 13.1% 12.0 to 14.1% Under Review Under Review 4,458
Oxford Health Plans (CT), Inc. 15.6% 12.7 to 23.6% Under Review Under Review 3,393
Oxford Health Insurance, Inc. 15.8% 9.4 to 22.2% Under Review Under Review 47,025
UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co. 14.3% 11.2 to 19.7% Under Review Under Review 1,706

***Cigna entered the small group market effective 7/1/2021