Racial politics, a veto and ban on bump stocks

Owing partly to a holiday, it was a relatively quiet week in Connecticut – nowhere near as fraught as ABC’s abrupt cancellation of “Roseanne.”

It wasn’t until Friday that the Connecticut knives came out. Gov. Dannel Malloy vetoed one bill and let another become law without his signature, prompting a blistering response from Len Fasano, State Senate Republican leader. (It is not yet clear whether the legislature will try to override the veto in a special session, but leaders have already decided they will not be taking up online sports betting.)

The “Roseanne” incident aside, Connecticut people have concerns about race and racial balance in government. That’s why Arunan Arulampalam, of Sri Lankan descent, dropped out of the race for Connecticut treasurer while urging fellow Democrats to challenge the tradition of nominating only an African-American for the post.

Clarice Silber / CTMirror.org

Arunan Arulampalam talks to delegates on the floor of the Democratic convention last month.

Jahana Hayes, an African-American and also former National Teacher of the Year, is campaigning to be the Democratic nominee for the open 5th Congressional District seat; and if she is nominated would be the first Connecticut black Democrat to run for that job. (Former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman got the party nod, but now Shannon Kula, a former U.S. Senate chief of staff, has said she will attempt to petition her way onto the ballot, too. For his part, Republican Manny Santos has to clear his party’s primary before he can campaign against the remaining Democrat.)

Racial concerns also manifested at nearly every Starbucks in the country, Connecticut’s being no exception, as baristas spent last Tuesday afternoon undergoing racial-bias training instead of selling coffee.

It’s not exactly a racial issue, but the government’s treatment of Puerto Rico has engendered complaints of indifference toward the island’s citizens — illustrated by a Harvard study’s finding that the real death count from Hurricane Maria was 4,645 as opposed to the government’s number: 64.

mark pazniokas / ctmirror.org

First Lady Cathy Malloy and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at Chesire Correctional Institution.

In Connecticut, at least, there was some evidence of progress: A program for rehabilitating young male prison inmates – with Malloy’s encouragement –seems to be producing positive results.

Students and gun-control advocates, meanwhile, hailed his signing of a bill banning bump-fire stocks as a small step toward limiting gun violence. The signing was attended by Betty Gallo, who ends a remarkable 41-year run as a lobbyist at the State Capitol.

No one knew what to make of the U.S. Department of Interior’s sudden decision to reverse course and approve one of two measures that would enable construction of a casino in East Windsor.


There are some articles the Mirror produces that have no roots in the news of the day, but shed light on larger phenomenon affecting the state’s quality of life. Such is the case of the ongoing special project series “Extreme Inequality: Connecticut’s wealth dilemma.” It examines in detail how huge disparities in wealth and income manifest throughout the state’s economy — and might impact its future.

The Mirror also this week announced the appointment of new editor. Elizabeth Hamilton will assume her duties June 25.

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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. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers in 1972; and, in 2010, completed a training program in culinary arts at Manchester Community College.

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