Guns, Russians, jobs, a porn star and politics

In a day recalling the horrors of Parkland, Fla.; Columbine; Sandy Hook; and other school shootings, hundreds of Connecticut high school students joined a nationwide demonstration demanding Congress and the president enact stricter gun control laws.

It was the largest — but by no means the only — development last week that left President Donald Trump and his administration defending both his policies and his personal conduct.

Clarice Silber / CTMirror.org

Students from Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School stand outside for the #Enough National School Walkout holding the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Thursday, following the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Great Britain, the  administration imposed sanctions on several organizations in retaliation for, among other things, the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 presidential elections. The move was a reversal of Trump’s oft-repeated claims that Russian interference is a “made up story” and “fake news.”

That development came only days after he used a tweet to replace Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo as secretary of state – a nominee Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy will be reviewing as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  It was another (and reportedly not the last) in an unprecedented and ongoing series of staffing changes, followed quickly by the appointment of Connecticut resident Larry Kudlow as chief economic advisor, replacing Gary Cohn who resigned last week.

Also on Thursday came reports that the president’s business organization has been subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller, demanding documents related to his Russia investigation. (The House Intelligence Committee ended its own Russia investigation this week, saying it found no evidence of collusion on the part of the president, but its action disappointed Democratic Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, as being that of a “toothless” effort.) This as the president’s lawyers spar with porn star Stormy Daniels, who wants to undo her agreement not to talk about the sexual relationship she claimed to have had with Trump.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CTMirror.org

House members watch the tally as votes are cast on McDonald’s nomination.

At the State Capitol there were plenty of hardball partisan politics over the nomination of Justice Andrew McDonald to be chief justice of the State Supreme Court. The House, by one vote, sent the nomination on to the state Senate where Republicans seemed poised to block it.

The legislative session is well under way now, and Connecticut Republicans, since last year stronger in numbers in both the House and Senate, are pushing a bill that would impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients and tighten the rules for receiving food stamps.

Three Republican lawmakers also are demanding the Corrections Department disclose a report on inmate healthcare that identified eight deaths of prisoners in state custody. It is the latest expression of ongoing concerns about inmate healthcare.

Democrats of the General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, for their part, have identified pay equity and women’s health care as top priorities.

Municipal leaders of all stripes also have their priorities. For one thing, after a busy and expensive season of snow removal, city and town officials want the road maintenance money the state owes them.

Folks in Bridgeport (and New Haven) want a chance to develop a casino — something State Attorney General George Jepsen says can at least be explored without jeopardizing the state’s revenue deal with the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribal nations.

City officials, of course, want local jobs; and in that respect Hartford got a nice bump when Infosys, an India-based information technology company, named Hartford as one of its new technology-and-innovation hubs, promising an estimated 1,000 new jobs.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CtMirror.org

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a Republican candidate for governor.

In the big-picture outlook, Connecticut municipalities said they would be willing to risk seeing their local aid cut if the legislature adopted the full package of tax and economic development reforms recommended recently by the Commission on Fiscal Sustainability and Economic Growth.

On the political campaign circuit, Danbury Mayor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Boughton found himself explaining Friday that his seizure at a campaign event the previous night was caused by severe dehydration and should not affect his viability as a candidate.

About Paul Stern
Paul Stern

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 Courant.com. A trained chef, he and his wife are the owner-operators of the Stone Arches Bed and Breakfast in Mansfield.

Comments

comments