government

Chion Wolf

When I first started writing about politics in Connecticut, I can honestly say that there were many more Republicans who excited my admiration than there were Democrats. It was 1979, the wave of interesting new progressive Democrats was coming, including that Bill Curry guy you hear so much about, but the entrenched Democratic leadership was anything but progressive. It was calcified, blinkered, and in too many cases, dirty. They'd had too much power for too long. 

The news from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' interviews with NPR and other news outlets — notably, how he uses a new book to criticize many in the White House — has now been widely reported.

But we also want to point to two passages in his conversation with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that particularly struck us.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says his criticism of President Obama is more nuanced than media reports about his new book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, would have you believe.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been one month since State Comptroller Kevin Lembo announced the expansion of Open Connecticut -- an online source for state finances -- to include financial information for Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies and federal programs.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Established in 1965, the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority has earned its title as the oldest quasi-public agency in our state. Now, it’s one of eleven quasi-public entities in Connecticut, agencies like Connecticut Innovations, Inc.; the Connecticut Development Authority; the Connecticut Lottery Corporation; and the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority -- to name a few. 

Former state Republican chairman Tom D'Amore died this week. A close friend of former Governor and Senator Lowell Weicker, he was the campaign manager for most of Weicker 's campaigns.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With two major holidays falling on Wednesdays, it seems like forever since our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse has gotten together. Well, we’re back with a New Year’s edition - where we start looking ahead to the 2014 campaigns.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut's new Bioscience Innovation Fund is looking for ideas to expand and improve the state's bioscience industry.

If anything defined 2013, it was the political misstep. There were so many gaffes, flaps, scandals and ill-advised moves that voters were often left scratching their heads at the political class's uncanny knack for diminishing its profession.

Here are eight of the more memorable screw-ups:

Chion Wolf

The Nose panelists explore the hidden mysteries of the Coen Brothers' new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, based  on the early folk movement of 1960's Greenwich Village and one of its early pioneers, Dave Van Ronk. 

CT Law Enforcement Memorial

Reuben Bradford sent a letter to Governor Malloy earlier this week announcing his retirement on February 1. Bradford was hired three years ago to head up the state department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, after serving as head of security for the National Football League, and before that in various posts for the Connecticut state police.

Elizabeth Lytle is an administrative program assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago — "a glorified name for a secretary," she says.

If Lytle isn't thrilled with her title, she's even less enamored of her job.

"The morale is just unbelievably low because we're never recognized," Lytle says. "Management doesn't seem to go to bat for us."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy stops by our studios for an end-of-the-year check-in. We talk about this year’s legislation, and what did and didn't get done in 2013. We'll also look ahead to what will certainly be a busy 2014 as Republican challengers already step forward.

President Obama, in his final news conference of the year, sought to put the best face on a difficult first year of his second term.

Speaking a few hours before he heads to Hawaii for a two-week vacation, Obama is meeting with reporters at the White House.

He touted the improving economy, saying 2 million jobs had been added in 2013, with the unemployment rate now at its lowest level in five years.

"2014 can be a breakthrough year," he said.

CT-N

The Connecticut legislature's Transportation Committee held a public hearing on Wednesday to learn more about the recent problems with Metro-North. The Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker addressed the Transportation Committee. 

Transportation Committee member Jonathan Steinberg, a State Representative from Westport, told Redeker, "Thank you, Commissioner, for submitting to our version of shoot-the-messenger." 

WNPR

What is your top story from 2013? We wrapped up the year on WNPR's news roundtable The Wheelhouse by asking this question. The following are some of your picks for story of the year as well as some other notable events up to this point.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Okay, so it's not Frost/Nixon. But over the last few years, I've been having an ongoing, at times entertaining, occasionally frustrating, and always interesting conversation on air and on stage with Dan Esty about "fracking" and natural gas. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This is the last edition of our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse for 2013. We're looking back at the year that was (and is) with our team of reporters and analysts.

We'll discuss the performance of the state legislature, which passed gun legislation after Sandy Hook, quietly approved Keno, and loosened campaign finance laws while former House Speaker Chris Donovan's campaign workers went on trial for corruption charges.

What will you remember about 2013?

Tucker Ives / WNPR

Dan Esty, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, has a plan for energy security that includes a huge investment in natural gas. But what about the effects of natural gas extraction methods like fracking and the uncertainty of future low prices? What about the need for renewable sources of energy?

Creative Commons

The budget deal reached last week in Washington will have a real economic impact on companies in Connecticut. United Technologies CEO Louis Chenevert welcomed the agreement, saying it gives his defense dependent corporation more ability to plan for the future.

The reviews are coming in for the bipartisan budget deal crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and as the Los Angeles Times says, the package seems to have "something for everyone to dislike."

A batch of internal documents recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

James Redeker, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, joins us to talk about the latest in infrastructure. What with Metro-North woes, CTfastrak progress, talk of changes to the I-84 viaduct in Hartford, and more emphasis on transit-oriented development, is the state doing everything it can to improve the quality of our trains, buses, bridges, and roads? Check in below to see what Redeker has to say.

CT-N

The Council on Environmental Quality met Thursday to hear public opinion on how the state's environmental laws might be improved. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Secretary of the State, Denise Merrill, said she may seek the authority to dissolve companies that don't comply with state registration requirements.

All businesses forming in the state must register with the office each year. 

Sujata Srinivasan

The public will soon have access to a one-stop web portal for information on tax credits and direct financial assistance the state is offering to help businesses grow and expand in Connecticut. Governor Dannel Malloy at a press conference in Bloomfield said taxpayers have the right to know what their state government is doing to promote economic development and job creation. 

It seems Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has given up on trying to make a point about the separation of church and state during the holiday season.

In a short statement issued on Monday, Chafee said the 18-foot blue spruce that will be raised inside the State House on Thursday will be called a "Christmas tree."

Technology giant Pitney Bowes has announced it will remain in Stamford, ending a months-long search for a new location. The company will also add 200 new jobs in Connecticut, after striking a deal with the state for a low-cost loan.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Another chapter in the political scandal that derailed former House Speaker Chris Donovan’s congressional campaign has come to a close as one of the key figures in the case was sentenced earlier this week. Our weekly political news roundtable The Wheelhouse will discuss this and what the Obamacare delay means for Connecticut. And will Foxwoods get a casino in Massachusetts?

Mark Pazniokas / The Connecticut Mirror

A former labor union official will spend six months in a halfway house for his role in a conspiracy to funnel illegal campaign contributions to former Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan. 

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