The two 4th Congressional District candidates have both used local “political insiders” in their television commercials, although they are not identified as such.
Presumably the campaigns want to pass these folks off to viewers as just regular, non-partisan people they found out there on the streets of the district.
Himes, a Greenwich Democrat challenging the Republican incumbant, has been running an introductory ad this summer which includes a shot of him walking out of a local, Norwalk diner chatting amiably with two African American gentleman.
The shorter of the men I recognized from my time covering the city of Norwalk — Robert “Bobby” Burgess, former director of Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now and a longtime Democratic leader in the southern end of the city.
Shays recently began airing a commercial touting his support for alternative forms of energy. And one of the folks touting the Congressman’s record is Peter Torrano. You’ll recognize the former Republican Norwalk Common Councilman and police captain by his mustache.
So, is there anyone you know in these commercials?
Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell today reissued her call for a second federal economic stimulus package.
In doing so, Rell threw her support behind Congressional Democrats who have been urging reluctant Republicans, including President George W. Bush, to pass a $50 billion proposal to: Fund infrastructure projects; provide more money for food stamps; and give states additional dollars to help address increased Medicaid costs.
“The wild ride on Wall Street of the last few days has many people worried,” Rell wrote Congressional leaders today. “Keeping our overall economy on an even keel through sensible, targeted stimulus efforts would go a long way toward calming some of these jitters.”
Rell said the infrastructure portion of the proposed stimulus package in particular would help with job creation and added Connecticut could also use an increased federal Mediciad contribution.
The state is currently facing a $150 million deficit in the 2009 fiscal year and that number is expected to grow as a result of the Wall Street crisis.
“The slump on Wall Street could have … a ripple effect by reducing income tax receipts, hurting job growth and reducing consumer spending,” Rell wrote. “This aid could provide real relief to the state budget ‘bottom line’.”
Some sources claim the first economic stimulus package accomplished little. According to a Harris Interactive poll released last week “much of the rebate money ended up deposited in savings or being mailed to credit card issuers.”
In a follow-up interview this evening, Gene Guilford of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Marketers Association said that in setting up a gasoline price gouging hotline over the weekend, Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office created a self-fullfilling prophecy.
“If we went on television today and said ‘everybody unhappy about the price of gas, call this number’ – for God sakes, my wife would call,” Guilford said, arguing the average motorist does not understand the strict legal definition of gouging – charging an “unconscionably excessive” price not attributable to additional costs incurred by the seller.
“And all of a sudden the Department of Consumer Protection starts issuing subpoenas,” Guilford said.
Guilford said his association warned state officials late last week to expect a rise in gas prices as a result of Hurricane Ike.
“It was clear from all of the information available … that the shutdown of 14 refineries (and) loss of electricity not allowing the pipeline to send refined products through the southeast to New Jersey, was going to have an effect on wholesale gas,” Guilford said.
While acknowledging the price of crude oil dipped, Guilford argued that is a different market and gas prices do not always follow.
“The upshot is if we’re lucky this is an event that lasted a week,” Guilford said. “The average wholesale price in New Haven harbor this morning was $2.87. We’re back within four cents of where it was last week.”
Hello and thanks for taking the time to check out my new blog.
I’m especially appreciative you’re here because, at this point, this effort is not garnering any in-house publicity. That means you clicked on the “blogs” section of our website out of curiosity and then decided to delve further, if only to figure out why that guy with the glasses and so-serious-look warrants his own blog.
I didn’t choose the title – “Political Capitol”. But I like it a lot better than “The Blog-hart” which one of my colleagues here at The Advocate suggested, so we’re sticking with Political Capitol.
I’m approaching this as an opportunity to provide supplemental coverage of state government and its impact on our readers here in lower Fairfield County.
I’ve been driving back and forth up the Merritt Parkway to Hartford for two years now, reporting on the Governor, General Assembly and various state agencies and entities.
I’m probably more of an expert on traffic and avoiding the groundhogs, squirrels and wild turkeys that graze along the parkway than on Connecticut policy and politics. But I work hard, take the job seriously, and believe I’m providing useful information and insights to taxpayers living an-hour-and-change from the buildings where so many decisions impacting their daily lives are made.
You’ll find news on here, objective observations and I’m sure miscellaneous items that simply struck me as worth blogging about. Some days and weeks will be busier than others, so keep checking back and feel free to comment when you’ve got something to share.
But also please keep things civil.
At least according to Gene Guilford, head of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Marketers Association.
On Tuesday Governor M. Jodi Rell and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced the state would subpoena records from Cumberland Farms in an effort to determine whether the company was guilty of gasoline price gouging.
A state hotline set up after Hurricane Ike hit Texas has yielded about 500 complaints — about a third accusing Cumberland Farms of jacking up prices to as much as 48-cents-per-gallon.
But today Guilford sought to attribute at least some of the reported weekend price hikes to basic economics.
Guilford in an e-mail said that between Sept. 11 and Sept. 15, the average wholesale price of gasoline shipped into New Haven harbor increased from $2.83-per-gallon to $3.19-per-gallon.
“One would hope no one would expect local retailers to absorb 36-cent-per-gallon increases in wholesale costs and not pass anythign along through their retail prices,” Guilford wrote.
He said he respects and supports the government’s watchdog role in pricing “but let’s nto soely focus on the retil level without regard to how these retailers are being hammered by huge increase in their wholesale costs of gasoline.”
Although it can be politically popular to accuse gas stations of treating consumers unfairly, past efforts by Blumenthal have yielded results.
In 2006 the owners of seven gas stations agreed to pay the state over $33,000 to settle allegations that they took advantage of drivers by illegally raising prices in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. They did not, however, admit guilt.
Stamford’s own Michael Fedele, Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut, is scheduled to share his views on the Wall Street crisis and its impact on Connecticut with Fox Business News’ “Happy Hour” tomorrow (Sept. 18) at 5 p.m.
According to Fedele’s office, he’ll be interviewed by “Happy Hour” guest hosts Cody Willard and Rebecca Gomez.
Fedele should have plenty to talk about. As The Advocate reported today, about 45 percent of the state’s income tax comes from the pockets of Fairfield County residents, about 39,000 of whom hold financial services positions in the region, including jobs on Wall Street. Signficant layoffs of those Wall Street workers who live in southwestern Connecticut could eat into anticipated tax revenues, growing the state’s current, $150 million budget deficit.
“It’s bound to have a negative impact at some point – folks who live in Fairfield County who may have worked for Lehman Brothers, for example, who’ve been laid off,” Jeffrey Beckham, a spokesman for the state budget office, said.
Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell tapped Fedele as her running mate in 2006 partly for his business experience. Fedele founded the Pinnacle Group computer consulting firm and the administration often calls upon his expertise and contacts within the business community.
Brian Lockhart, a Connecticut native who has been covering news and politics in lower Fairfield County and New York City for nearly a decade, enters his observations on politics, policy and the goings on in the hallways of Hartford.