Some things got done last week in Connecticut politics, and other things were undone. But mostly it was a week spent talking about things to be done… and, of course, toilets.

Last Monday, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson visited Willington to examine first hand one of hundreds of homes whose foundations are crumbling because they were poured using contaminated concrete. Saving the owners of these properties from financial ruin will require some doing from all levels of government, he said.

Gov. Dannel Malloy did some undoing when he vetoed two bills, including one that would have created a new process for removing violent students from classrooms. They were his second and third vetoes of the session; and while House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz thinks legislators should override one regarding tax credits for businesses, others say an override of Malloy’s first veto – limiting the governor’s authority to reduce education funding – will be unnecessary.

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, right, and U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, outside the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.

Down in Washington, D.C., after some prolonged prodding from Sen. Chris Murphy, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos undid her earlier statement that local school authorities should be the ones who decide whether to call immigration authorities on undocumented students attending their schools. Later in the week Murphy and other members of the Connecticut congressional delegation invested a day encouraging the state’s Latino community to increase its political clout.

Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was also skeptical of President Donald Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

In another federal case, Connecticut has joined with a number of other states in an effort to stop a Texas lawsuit from undoing the Affordable Care Act, including its provision requiring insurers to accept clients with pre-existing conditions.

Murphy’s colleague Sen. Richard Blumenthal spent part of Thursday in federal court in an effort to have President Donald Trump found to be in violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. A couple days earlier the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who declined to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, but observers said the narrow ruling will have little impact here.

The case did, however, make an impression on Rep. William Tong, a Stamford Democrat and candidate for state attorney general. He said if elected he would create a civil-rights division in the office addressing, among others, gay rights.

All around Connecticut various other candidates for public office were explaining to voters what they plan to do.

Jahana Hayes addresses the panel at the Thursday hearing. Clarice Silber /

Mary Glassman, the Democrats’ endorsed candidate for the 5th Congressional District seat to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, said she would take up her party’s effort to oppose the policies of President Trump.  (A cloud hangs over Glassman’s endorsement, and after a long and rare hearing Thursday about the propriety of the nominating process, a panel of state committee members will rule on whether the endorsement should have gone to her or fellow Democrat Jahana Hayes.)

U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, who faces little opposition in the upcoming election, is nevertheless making the rounds promoting his favorite issue, the stabilization of Social Security.

Four candidates for governor, meanwhile, made a public appearance Thursday on a CPTV “job interview” where, rather than issues, they spoke about leadership and answered questions unlikely to be heard at a debate: What are three adjectives your mother might have used to describe you at age 10?

The Board of Regents for Higher Education’s plan to consolidate its dozen community colleges was partly undone by a regional accreditation agency some weeks ago, but the panel has come up with a more gradual consolidation alternative that is projected to save $17.3 million annually.

Finally, there were the toilets — the eight in Democratic candidate Ned Lamont’s house, the 10 1/2 at Republican  David Stemerman’s, and the many mentioned in numerous news stories, columns and editorials about the depths of this year’s gubernatorial campaign.

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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