Somewhere between the parade, football games and holiday feasting, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for reflection; and in Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy delivered a sobering overview of a tumultuous year that has brought more than its share of human suffering, loss of life and fiscal challenges.

And while state Democrats have adopted a political strategy that will be critical of the Republican Congress’s tax plan and its negative impact on the state, local Republicans are focusing on the state’s dire – and continuing — fiscal problems and  the response of its Democratic legislators.

Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney calling the national GOP tax plan a catastrophe.

There seems to be no end to the need to repair the budget document approved, belatedly, only weeks ago, and the state government’s way out of financial trouble is likely to become no easier in the months ahead. Officials have not given up trying to improve the economy, however, and plan to spend $13.6 million cleaning up brownfields that will hopefully encourage development.

And there is good financial news for the unfortunate owners of homes whose foundations are crumbling. At the urging of U.S. Reps. John Larson (D-1st District) and Joe Courtney (D-2nd District), the IRS has agreed to make a large portion of money spent to repair the homes tax deductible.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

Hard times do not necessarily discourage politicians, though, which might explain why so many people – now including Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin — are considering a run for governor.  There is also a special election coming early next year in the 15th House District, which covers Bloomfield and a portion of Windsor.

Failure does not discourage them either: Witness the newest effort by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) to promote legislation that would ostensibly prevent individuals like the shooter in Sutherland, Texas, from slipping through the cracks of the federal gun-buyer background check system.

Paul has more than 40 years of reporting and editing experience at newspapers in New Jersey, Florida and Connecticut. He worked 22 years at the Hartford Courant in various editing roles including as deputy state editor, assistant editor of Northeast Magazine, and as an associate editor at He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. A trained chef, he and his wife own and operate a bed and breakfast in an historic home in Mansfield.

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