The nation is on edge today waiting to find out what it will learn from the release of some or all of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.

It will be hard for the findings to live up to the expectations that have been building since the investigation was begun in May 2017. Connecticut’s two senators – and, in fact, the majority of Congress and the American public – want the entire contents of the report made public. And Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he would push for the report to be subpoenaed if U.S. Attorney General William Barr does not release it voluntarily.

Sen. Chris Murphy, on a foreign relations trip to Britain and Ireland to learn the potential impact of Brexit, observed that “Mueller investigated issues at the very core of our democracy—including whether a foreign power worked with the president or his campaign to get him elected, and whether (President Donald) Trump and those around him tried to cover it up. The American people deserve to know all the facts now.”

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy meets in Dublin with Simon Coveney, Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland. Twitter photo.

Only transparency and a full accounting of the findings can bring closure to this issue and allow our country to move forward,” added U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District.

The momentous development at least put in the rear-view mirror what Murphy termed “the slow motion car crash that is our President’s twitter feed these days.”  Its most prominent feature was Trump’s ongoing denigration of Murphy’s former colleague, the late Sen. John McCain. It was presidential behavior condemned by former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman in an op-ed published in the Washington Post:  “The person who suffers most from the strange, posthumous attacks by the president is the president himself,” Lieberman observed.

As is often the case in predominantly blue Connecticut, Trump’s policy announcement supporting “free speech” on college campuses (meaning no federal funds for schools who prevent speakers “from challenging rigid, far-left ideology”) was met with ambivalence, since public schools like the University of Connecticut use the First Amendment as a “guiding principle,” a spokesperson said.

On the other hand, neither the Mashantucket Pequot or Mohegan tribes were complaining when the U.S. Department of Interior — in an abrupt reversal possibly related to the criminal investigation of its former secretary Ryan Zinke – announced it would sign off on the construction of a jointly owned casino in East Windsor.

And though unemployment is at a 17-year low of 3.8 percent, Connecticut could certainly use the jobs, having lost 400 last month. In fact, one economist sees the lack of job growth as a troubling sign of economic weakness.

The state’s financial health, as everyone knows, is not good; and lawmakers are looking for ways to cut expenses, which is seldom a universally popular pursuit. That is likely to be the case with Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan to impose an asset test for the participants in the Medicare Savings Program, a joint federal-state program that helps an estimated 180,000 low-income seniors pay for services Medicare doesn’t.

The governor, at least, is capable of responding to criticism when it is heaped upon him, as was the case with his proposal to force small school districts to consolidate or face financial penalties. He has stricken the words “redistricting” and “consolidation” from his proposal. Sen. Norm Needleman, meanwhile, has an alternative plan that would help the small towns save money a share services voluntarily.

The lawmakers themselves aren’t asking for and won’t likely be getting pay raises now that a study panel is recommending against them.

A toll opponent at the State Capitol.

They are, however, pushing forward with three controversial bills that will move the state closer to setting up a system of highway tolls intended to help fund future transportation improvements.  Tolls are about as popular among some as the ideas of a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave are among members of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, but Lamont told the group those measures are likely to pass the legislature this year.

Proposals for a state-administered public option health insurance plan and state-funded healthcare for undocumented families are also gaining steam. And last week the legislature’s Human Services Committee heard testimony as to the need for establishing human services network  for the LGBTQ community, whose members, particularly young people, suffer from the effects of stigma and discrimination.

Ella Briggs, 11, Connecticut’s openly gay “Kid Governor” this year, knows a little about that.

Another bill under consideration at the capitol is one to eliminate the rule that, for religious reasons,  allows parents to send their children to school without being vaccinated. Connecticut’s vaccination rate is higher than the national average, but has dropped in recent years. That may in part be due to rhetoric from people like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who, invited here by two state representatives, denounces vaccines, the science they are based on, and a long list of medical and scientific organizations who support their use.

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Paul SternViewpoints Editor

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 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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3 Comments

  1. A multi-millionaire governor wants to impose an asset test on low income seniors receiving Medicare Savings benefits. If this were to happen in ANY of the European countries that we call “soft” the people would be out in the streets. Here…..nothing but whining.

  2. Himes and Murphy, in true Alinsky style, use innuendo to continue to keep a cloud over the Trump Administration. Clinton, Obama, the DNC et al require an investigation of their conspiracy thru Michael Steel with the Russians to get this all started. The Russian conspiracy was on the part of the Dems and Clinton (for whom Himes bundled campaign cash) to start the entire scam. So, who’s kidding who?? Bring THEM to justice!!

  3. By “full transparency,” does Rep Himes mean full investigation of the Clinton server and her Russian deals, or does it mean a further deep state takedown of a sitting President?

    By cutting the state budget, should we target senior Medicare or should we cut bloat and layers of state Government? There is no meaningful cuts being considered and we all know that. Its another tax and spend abomination which will accelerate our fiscal death spiral. With another half percent coming out of of our paychecks for paid medical leave, there’s always room to fund illegals and state unions in the budget. I’m sure also that the $15/hr minimum wage will also “stimulate” less jobs and more small business misery. And of course we can’t forget tolls, that regressive tax that working stiffs will have to pay to allow legislators to rob the transportation fund and ask for more dollars for transpotration projects.

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