CT Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly Sworn-in for New Term

During a Jan. 6 outdoor ceremony at Connecticut’s State Capitol, Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly was sworn-in for a new term representing the 21st Senate District. Sen. Kelly has served in the State Senate since 2011 representing Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford.

An elder law attorney, Sen. Kelly serves as the Ranking Republican Senator on the legislature’s Aging Committee and the Legislative Management Committee. He also serves on the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committees.

After the ceremony, Sen. Kelly spoke to the media about the Connecticut Senate Republicans’ focus on making the state more affordable for middle class families.   For more information on State Senator Kevin Kelly visit www.senatorkevinkelly.com. Follow Sen. Kelly at www.Facebook.com/SenatorKevinKelly, on Twitter @21KevinKelly or Instagram @SenatorKevinCKelly.

Connecticut State Legislature Tutorial

From State Rep. Ben McGorty
122nd District

When the Connecticut General Assembly meets in January it will be, by all appearances, in a virtual session. This means that committee hearings, floor votes, town halls, and even office hours will be mostly conducted through Zoom, with lawmakers observing social distancing. While the Capitol Complex will remain closed to the public, there are many new opportunities to participate in the process and make sure your voice is heard.

Referred to as a “regular session,” the 2021 legislative session will begin on January 6th and run through June 9th. According to the Connecticut state constitution, in an odd-year session any legislator can introduce bills on any subject. This is different from the even-year session where bills can only originate from their corresponding committees and must be related to the making of the two-year state budget. This budget is finalized in even-numbered years during what is known as the “long session.”

Since there is no limit on the bills that can be introduced in the coming session, you might notice that many bills will be introduced by a lawmaker on behalf of a specific individual. In state government, many of the most impactful and useful laws we write don’t come from our ideas, but from those in our communities. That is why it is important that you know how you can make your voice heard and fix an issue in your town or our state.

The legislature is also expected to conduct redistricting during the 2021 legislative session, which involves the redrawing of state legislative districts based on the results of the 2020 U.S. Census.

Here are some ways that you can participate during this year’s virtual session:

Legislation

If you’re interested in testifying for or against a bill or just want to stay up to date on pending legislation, please feel free to contact me. You can reach me at 1-800-842-1423 or by e-mail at Ben.McGorty@housegop.ct.gov.

Citations

Please contact me if you would like to recognize an individual for special events such as an athletic or academic award, an Eagle Scout accomplishment, or a significant birthday.

State Agencies

Contact my office if you are having difficulties working with state agencies; for example, the Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, Veterans Affairs, Consumer Protection or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Staying Informed

You can sign up for my email newsletter at RepMcGorty.com to receive updates on legislative business, community events, and any additional information I think you might want to know about our district and state. I also frequently share information to my Facebook page that might not end up in the newsletter, so please go like my page to stay in the loop.

Touring the Capitol

In a normal year, our legislative offices can arrange tours of the Capitol Complex through the League of Women Voters. However, you can now take a ‘virtual tour’ of the State Capitol Building and the Legislative Office Building by visiting their website.

Events

If there is an event or meeting – in person or virtual – that you would like me to attend, please contact my office with the date, time, location, and nature of the event.

While the pandemic has affected our ability to have indoor, in-person events, that doesn’t mean I will be any less accessible to you. In fact, it allows me to host virtual events like town halls on Zoom that allow you to call in from the comfort of home. Even if you don’t have a computer or are not tech-savvy, you can call in using a landline or mobile phone to give me your input. I will be giving updates on those events when they do happen through my newsletter and Facebook page, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

State Representative Joseph Gresko Appointment

State Representative Joe Gresko (D-121 st District) has been appointed Chair of the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee.

The Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee is responsible for overseeing all nominations requiring action of either or both chambers of the General Assembly (except judicial nominations, nominations of workers’; compensation commissioners, and nominations of members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles).

Shiloh Gardens to get an Upgrade!

Stratford Delegation announces Grant for Housing Improvements

State Representative Joseph P. Gresko (D- 121st District) – along with Representative Phil Young (D-120th District), Representative Ben McGorty (R- 122nd District), Senator Dennis Bradley (D- 23rd District), Senator Kevin Kelly (R- 21st District) – announced a $3.19 million increase in funding for the Stratford Housing Authority after a special meeting of the State Bond Commission.

The grant-in-aid which has been approved for the Stratford Housing Authority will be used to help rehabilitate Shiloh Gardens’ 60 affordable housing units meant for elderly residents.

“This is great news for Shiloh Gardens, which is in my district, as well as the Town of Stratford overall,” Rep. Gresko said. “Our elderly community needs our support now more than ever, and that starts with making sure we create safe and modern living environments. I’m grateful to the State Bond Commission for making it possible to make these much-needed improvements to Shiloh Gardens.”

“These funds will provide a boost to some of our town’s most vulnerable residents, and I thank the State Bond Commission for agreeing to provide the means necessary to make these essential and long-awaited modernizations,” said Rep. Young.

“We applaud this investment in Stratford elderly affordable housing,” Sen. Kelly said. “This funding will improve safety, accessibility and the quality of life for the residents at Shiloh Gardens. We thank the governor for recognizing this need.”

“I’m pleased to see this development in the rehabilitation of Shiloh Gardens. This program supports a number of seniors and individuals with disabilities in Stratford, and this funding will go a long way towards ensuring they have safe and accessible housing,” Rep. McGorty said.

“The Town of Stratford is thankful and appreciative of the state funding for the Shiloh Gardens remodeling project,” said Stratford Mayor Laura R. Hoydick. “These funds will update and modernize the living conditions of the units and further enhance the updates of the property that has been done to date.”

State Salvation Red Kettle Campaign

Rep. Ben McGorty, 122nd District To Ring the Bell

On Wednesday, December 16th from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Stop and Shop, 100 Quality Street in Trumbull, State Rep. Ben McGorty will be ringing the bell for the annual Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign.

“With many out of work and struggling financially this year, it is especially important to consider giving back in any way that you can. If you are able, consider donating to this worthy cause. Even a small donation can make a big difference in someone's life.” Said Rep. McGorty.

The Salvation Army responds to natural disasters, such as wildfires and tornadoes, provides meals and toys to families, and conducts research and analyses regarding human needs around the country. They also provide adult rehabilitation, veteran services, elderly services, missing person searches, housing assistance, youth recreation, sponsorship, and support in the fight to end human trafficking.

The organization has also been instrumental in the fight against COVID-19, working with local, state, and federal officials, as well as other organizations to help our most vulnerable populations.

Democrat Registrar of Voters, Dr. James Simon Sworn

Newly elected as the Democrat Registrar of Voters, Dr. James Simon being sworn in by Town Clerk, Susan Pawluk and witnessed by Jim’s wife, Karen on December 8th.

Are Mail-In Ballots the Wave of the Future in Stratford?

Stratford Residents Step Up With Absentee Ballots

With an unpresented global pandemic raging nationwide (and increasing numbers reported in Stratford) over 10,000 Stratford residents turned in, and had counted, absentee ballots for yesterday’s elections. Though there are still approximately 2,000 absentee ballots that have not been counted (they will be counted on Thursday) town residents showed a willingness and desire to make voting in the State of Connecticut easier.

To date over 25,403 ballots were cast in Stratford, which many believe is an all time high. Official results have yet to be released.

Election Results for Stratford

This is with all precincts reporting. There are still 2,000 Absentee Ballots still outstanding, which are expected to be counted on Thursday.

120th House District
Democrat Phil Young, 6,454 (Incumbent)
Republican Jim Feehan, 6,122

121st House District
Democrat Joe Gresko, 6,792 (Incumbent)
Republican Ed Scinto, 3,064.

122nd House District
Republican Rep. Ben McGorty, 1,569 (Incumbent)
Democrat Jose Goncalves, 1,519.

Connecticut State Senate, 21st Senatorial District
Republican Sen. Kevin Kelly, unopposed, 1,1279

Registrar of Voters
Democrat James Simon, 12,872
Republican Louis DeCilio , 8,782 (Incumbent)
Richard Marcone, 1,067 (Petitioning candidate, incumbent)

Stratford Presidential Results:
Biden & Harris, 15,432
Trump & Pence, 9,633
Jorgensen & Cohen, 242
Hawkens & Walker, 96

Congressional District 3
Democrat Rosa DeLauro, 14,912
Republican Margaret Strecker, 9,578
Independent Justin Paglino, 201

Election Day: Stratford

By Elizabeth Saint

“Something so simple has such a big impact.” Michael Vernon, first time voter.

Delicia Desouza proudly displayed her “I Voted Today” sticker.

Stratford’s election day was noted for “Early Lines,” “Lots of first time voters,” a “Constant stream of voters,”  “mask wearing and social distancing being followed” “as well as Very smooth and safe.”

The Stratford Crier toured many polling stations in the town of Stratford.

Here is what we heard and saw:

District 1: Lordship Elementary School

9:20am

Election Moderator, Michael Rodriguez reported that at 5:15am there were already 50 to 60 people in line waiting for the doors to open.  “Things have been going smoothly.”

District 2: Stratford High School

There was not coverage of District 2 due to technical difficulties.

District: 3: Stratford Academy; Johnson House

Election Moderator, Robert Bradley said “We had about 25 people lined up to vote when I got here at 5:15.”

Johnson School, which is in District 3, reported that 70% of their registered voters had voted by 2 p.m.

District 4: The Franklin School

Voter, Ray Hess reported it took “about six minutes” from parking his car to casting his vote.

District 5: Nichols Elementary

At 10:19am there were approximately 36 people in line wrapping around the school.  The line moved efficiently and the mood was positive.

Tiaire Lee said it was his first time voting in a Presidential election.  “It took about twenty minutes and it was pretty easy.”

Diana Kosa,  planned ahead and brought her own chair.

District 6: Wooster 

Judy Cleri, Election Moderator reported lines of voters ready at 6am and wrapping around the building.  The line flowed constantly, with lots of new voters, even creating a need for double lines until about 8:30am, when things began to slow.”

 

District 7:  Wilcoxson Elementary

Election Moderator, Elizabeth Christiansen reported being busy all morning.  “Right now we are in a lull.” She said,  even as voters arrived in a steady trickle.  “People started standing in line at 5:30am.  The line finally dissipated at 8:30am. Everyone has been fine.

 

District 8 — Chapel Street School

One couple, when asked about their voting experience said.  “ It was wonderful.  We didn’t even wait a minute.”

Father, Mark Vernon accompanied his son, Michael Vernon, who is 19 years old, to the polls for his first experience voting in a Presidential election.  When asked how it felt, Michael said, “Filling in the ballot is a little underwhelming.  You are just filling in a circle.  But you remember that doing something so simple has such a big impact.”

Zach Kassay, Cameron Vatnais, Lily Kassay, Julia Delke, Madison Letsch and Noa Reid

Assorted organizations saw election day as an opportunity.  At the Chapel Street School, the Sixth grade class was hosting a bake sale to raise money for end-of-sixth grade awards and picnics.  “We don’t know how it’s going to be this year but we are hopeful.” one sixth grade mother said.

Enthusiastic sellers included: (from left to right)

 

 

 

 

District 9: Bunnell High School

11:30am

Everything was quiet with single voters arriving every few minutes.  However, Malcolm Starratt, the Election Moderator, said the day didn’t start that way.  “At six am the line went up back along the side of the school.  And they kept coming till about 8:30am. It was just packed.

Malcolm Starratt, Election Moderator for 18 years takes a breath during a busy day of voting.

Then it started tapering down but it has been consistent all day.”  “What I’m hearing”, said Starratt, “is that all the districts had powerful mornings.”

Starratt has been an Election Moderator for about 18 years.

“We’ve got a great team.”  He said, “A great team that works well together”  — referring to the women and men working the Bunnell High School polling station.

“I’ve never done this with a mask before.  It’s a different thing.  Everyone has had a mask. Everyone was keeping a social distance.  It’s been nice.  We haven’t had to tell anyone to wear a mask.  It’s the biggest round of people I’ve seen.  It’s big.”

District 10: Second Hill Lane

11:06

This morning there was a line of approximately 47 people.

Beth Kardamis reported that the experience was a positive one.  That it felt very “smooth and safe.”

Joyce Varrone (pictured here with her “I Voted” sticker) reported that she arrived at 10:50 and took her almost exactly 20 minutes to vote.  “It didn’t take that long.”

 

 

 

Ballot Snafu Again in Stratford

Nearly 280 voters in a Stratford have been listed in the wrong state House of Representatives district for years, and local voting officials are trying to sort it out after 59 absentee ballots for Tuesday’s election were given out and 45 received in Town Hall.

The Registrar’s office is once again scrambling to fix the absentee ballot error. This isn’t the first time a mistake was uncovered and some fear this latest error could have affected the last three election cycles.

The apartment complex, constructed in 2013 on the former Keating Ford property, had been given ballots for the 120th House of Representatives District, and should have been given ballots for the 121st House of Representative District.

The 121st District race is between third-term Democrat State Rep. Joe Gresko and challenger Republican Ed Scinto. Current Democrat State Rep. Phil Young is once again being challenged by Republican Jim Feehan in the 120th.

Young’s Republican opponent Jim Feehan was out door knocking and uncovered the address error. His campaign reported the issue to the Stratford Town Clerk. According to various news reports, the apartment complex address is in between both the 120th and 121st house districts. Rick Marcone, the Democratic Registrar, admitted people who live in the apartments were assigned to the wrong district, which means they may have voted with the wrong ballot for 3-election cycles.

Lou DeCilio, the town’s Republican voter registrar, said late Wednesday afternoon that leaving the apartments out of the correct district in previous elections could have affected the Young-Feehan races of 2018, where voters were given the wrong ballots on election day. DeCilio claims that he didn’t know if it has been that way since the apartment was built, ”At least we caught it in time for Election Day.”

“This is a human error thing, but it has to be remedied very soon,” said J.R. Romano, Republican State Chairman. And they will be given the right ballot.

“This is a difficult situation,” Young said on Wednesday. “The apartments were built in 2013, so since then, they’ve been voting in the wrong district. This is a screw up that no one seems to be able to answer for me. When I heard about this today, I felt my stomach drop.”

In a news outlet interview State Representative Phil Young said, “They found that out the day of the election. This time luckily it’s six days before the election. This has to do with the registrar of voters not doing what they are supposed to be doing.”

“They are in the process of fixing it now,” State Representative Joe Gresko said Wednesday afternoon. “We have a couple of days to figure it out.” According to the Secretary of the State the 8 wrong ballots – which can be identified by their bar code – will be set aside and hand counted in case of a challenge. Gabe

Rosenberg, counsel for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, confirmed the mix-up was a districting error. According to Rosenberg, it’s new housing that was put into the wrong House district, stressing that state law directs town voting officials (our Registrars) to reissue correct ballots and use the serial numbers on the erroneous completed ballots to track them down and void them.

The registrars began to investigate the apparent mix-up early on Wednesday and went to the complex after explaining to the state what the problem was. Voters are being offered new ballots.

Click here to read Stratford Town Democratic Committee Chairman Steven Taccongna’s Letter to the Mayor’s office. 

Candidate: Philip Young

Note: All Stratford candidates running for office on November 3rd were sent a Stratford Crier questionnaire. Candidates Jim Feenan, Rick Marcone, Kevin Kelly, and Ed Scinto did not respond.

Name: Philip Young

Office: State Representative 120th District

Have you held office before? If yes, when and what?

Yes, Stratford Town Council District 6, 2015-2017. Current 120th State Representative since March 2017.

Whether you have held office or are running for the first time, what is an accomplishment or project for the town that you are proudest of?

One of my favorite accomplishments actually in Stratford was seeing the mayor to prevent the sale of the Water Pollution Control Facility, and the subsequent town referendum to stop the sale. Both were successful.

What made you decide to run for this particular office?

I really want to work on policy issues that will benefit the town of Stratford, as well as the citizens of the state as a whole.

What would you like to accomplish if you are elected?

Update recycling laws and get away from single stream recycling. Introduce a law called the “Cure Act”, which would change the way disease is treated. It would look for the cure of Diabetes and other pre-conditions instead of maintenance-based approaches. Pass legislation for early voting in CT.

What’s more important for Stratford right now: building new homes and commercial space or rehabbing/expanding/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?

Both are important, but since Stratford has a lot of properties that are brownfields, I’d like to see them rehabilitated, with new entities to go onto the tax rolls.

If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

Probably donate half it to the Sterling House so they could expand their youth programs, and the other half to the Baldwin Center to expand their programs for the elderly.

How do you plan to engage Stratford residents and make them a part of your decision making process?

My staff sends out almost daily updates on issues I am working on. I’ve also held community meetings at the library, Baldwin Center and Sterling House to hear what Stratfordites are concerned over. I also work very hard to answer questions sent to my email.

What is one of your favorite things/places/events in our community?

Long Beach, for a good hike or just soaking up some sun.