NB Politicus

In Seeking Support For Senate Murphy Shares a New Britain Story

Posted in Chris Murphy, U.S. Senate by nbpoliticus on November 26, 2011

U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, in a holiday weekend message seeking support for his Senate bid,  shares the story of his mother’s upbringing in hardscrabble New Britain.

The appeal for support draws a sharp contrast with Republican frontrunner Linda McMahon and the untold millions the former WWE CEO will spend in 2012.

“Yesterday, like many of you, I spent Thanksgiving with my mother. I saw the proud look on her face as she sat on the couch surrounded by children and grandchildren who are all healthy, happy, and secure. 

Her pride runs so deep because she knows – and we all know – how hard she struggled to get to this point in her life. My mother grew up in the Mount Pleasant housing projects in New Britain, and though her family lurched in and out of poverty, she was determined to defy the odds and succeed. She did – she went to college, became a teacher, and raised me to believe I could do anything I wanted to in life if I just set my mind to it.  

But my mother didn’t do it alone. She lived in public housing, her father got a job making things for the federal government, and she went to college with the help of federal aid.  

She succeeded because her community helped her succeed. And to put it simply, I’m running for the Senate to restore that magical partnership between individual will and community investment.” 

U.S. Senate: New Britain Didn’t Stiff Merrick Albert

Posted in 2010 Election, U.S. Senate by nbpoliticus on May 13, 2010

He got into the U.S. Senate race as an upstart Democratic challenger to an increasingly vulnerable Chris Dodd. He sent Democratic leaders a self-published and  autographed autobiography and tooled around the state delivering an anti-war message akin to the Lamont campaign of 2006. He appeared to be on a mission to go from political kindergarten to graduate school despite having no higher position than a seat on his own Town Committee.

Sadly, however, Merrick Albert has adopted a Republican line of attack against Blumenthal for going to court too much on behalf of  state residents. It matters  little to Albert that Blumenthal’s litigiousness has to do with challenging utility rate hikes, protecting manufacturing jobs or fighting health insurance hikes. Like the Republicans now running, Albert’s rationale for running — an incumbent Chris Dodd — left the race.

Gaining little traction with Democratic regulars and the rank and file party members around the state,  Albert has issued a pre-convention press release broadly denouncing  town chairpersons for stiffing him when it comes to speaking.

There can be no doubt that Albert has been rudely rebuffed by some Town Chairs. His new release, however, lists the New Britain Democratic Town Committee as having a Town Chair who refused to allow him to speak. That’s not true. I am the Town Chair in New Britain and am relatively easy to reach if you make an effort to try.  That has not been the way the Albert campaign has operated, at least in communicating with New Britain Democrats.  Leaving it to a campaign manager to send a friendly missive or request via letter to people with work, families and community service to balance is rarely sufficient. 

In New Britain Democrats Merrick Albert would have found a respectful group ready to listen had he shown up uninvited. He just didn’t try.

John McNamara

Getting Specter’s Vote: Promise Him More Earmarks

Posted in earmarks, federal funds, U.S. Senate by nbpoliticus on April 29, 2009

The pundits are making much of Senator Arlen Specter’s defection to Democrats as proof that a “moderate” Republican can’t survive in the GOP; that it puts the Senate Democrats on the verge of that 60-vote threshold needed to cut off debate and move legislation if the cagey Specter goes along. Politically, it clears the way for Specter to skip out on a difficult if not impossible primary. Unlike Connecticut where the “independent” Joe Lieberman put himself on the November ballot after losing the Democratic primary in 2006, Pennsylvania has a sore loser law that would probibit Specter from running on a third line.

Despite all the national implications and the rightward drift of Republicans, don’t look for Specter to mimic Lieberman’s self-serving pleas for bipartisanship. Specter’s calculated move has a lot more to do with “bringing home the bacon” via Congressional earmarks — something he is a master of in his role as ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. A recent Washington Post story “If ‘Earmark’ is a dirty word, Pennsylvanians must be blushing” confirms how prolific Specter is at federal largess. A free ride with the Democrats could put Specter in the majority and add clout to his ability to underwrite his annual wish list from back home. Small wonder Specter didn’t leave the Republican caucus earlier over John McCain’s hammering away at earmarks, be they good or bad pork.

If Harry Reid really needs a vote from Specter, he already knows the way forward will be to serve up a few more earmarks for the newest member of the Democratic caucus.

O’Brien’s Call For Special Elections For U.S. Senate Vacancies Gets Traction With L’Affaire Blogojevich

Posted in national politics, U.S. Senate by nbpoliticus on December 14, 2008

State Rep. Tim O’Brien (D-24) gets a well deserved accolade from Connecticut Local Politics this weekend on his legislation requiring that special elections be held when vacancies occur for the U.S. Senate.

O’Brien saw his proposal die in the 2007 General Assembly with a criticism that his motive was “partisan.” Democrats haven’t held the Governor’s office in a long time and Jodi Rell, the incumbent, would be the sole appointing authority now should Chris Dodd or Joe Lieberman move on before their terms end.

You can’t blame O’Brien for bringing up the legislation (filed as HB 5034) again in light of the machinations of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the bipartisan calls springing up in the Land of Lincoln for “Blago’s” removal. “Blagojevich, according to FBI-related wiretap sources, wanted to sell Barack Obama’s vacated seat to the highest bidder, among other “pay to play”, indictable ideas.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)quickly called for a special election. It is a likely scenario that the Illinois Legislature will move quickly to impeach the sitting governor and set a date for an election — denying the cornered incumbent the chance to appoint or leaving it to the Lieutenant Governor who has called for the incumbent’s resignation. An Illinois special election, however, would bring electoral credibility to whoever fills Obama’s shoes and certainly promote the idea in other states.

O’Brien, who researched and offered the legislation as a member of the General Administration and Elections Committee (GAE), found it odd that U.S. Representative seats are always filled by special elections but not U.S. Senate seats. There was a time when senators were not elected by the people, but by legislatures. Gubernatorial appointment powers may be a throwback to those days. O’Brien cited the contradictory methods in filing the bill.

“My proposal was simple – let the people decide who represents them.” says O’Brien on his blog. “It is already the process we use to fill a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives when someone leaves that office. There is no good reason for why the process for filling vacancies in the U.S. Senate should be any different.”

O’Brien intends to file the bill again in the 2009 session. Opponents arguing that the Governor should remain the sole appointing power will be sure to have the Illinois situation thrown back at them.