Litchfield News




Political Scene

Remembering Senator John McCain
By Audrey Blondin
It took a little bit of searching, but I knew I had these pictures and wanted to share them with you.
This was in Peterborough, New Hampshire in February 2000, spending a family weekend in New Hampshire viewing Presidential Candidates prior to the upcoming New Hampshire Primary.
Remember this was back in the day before 9-11 where you just showed up - no security - no tickets - no rope line - no vetting - nothing - just walked into this beautiful historic town hall and took a seat.
Remember also at that time there was no Facebook, no iPhones, no Twitter, no Fox News or MSNBC, just barely the beginnings of the Internet.
I remember Peter Jennings from ABC News in the back of the room and we were sitting about 3 rows back from John McCain and his wife Cindy. They had arrived on the bus the Straight Talk Express, and I thought how much fun it must have been to be part of that campaign.
The night before we had gone further upstate to a high school gym to listen and meet Bill Bradley, I eventually became a Bill Bradley delegate to the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles which our whole family attended and the kids spent the convention in some fancy skybox at the Staples Convention Center because we as the Connecticut delegation, were front and center after Al Gore chose Joe Lieberman as his Vice Presidential running mate. We couldn't resist going to see John McCain because of the interest and excitement his campaign was generating.
You can see in the pictures our son Joe with the Dolphins hat on with Rose next to him and Matt with Rose next to him and Matt with the yellow hat and W (Wesleyan) sweat shirt sitting next to our son Nick, who went on to graduate Phi-Beta Kappa from Wesleyan.
I had forgotten until I saw the picture that at the end there was this Confetti Canon explosion all over the meeting room, something again you would never have happen today.
Even though we obviously are of opposite political parties, John McCain was an inspiration to all of us with a great sense of humor, who you couldn’t help but admire and look up to after all he’d been through in service to our country. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to spend the time we did with him and also have been able to share that experience with our children to also honor such a great American as well.
Going to be 18 years old?
Time to Register To VOTE
The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County reminds all potential voters about to turn eighteen years of age that they should register to vote.
Any U.S. citizen who is a Connecticut resident and will be 18 years old by November 6, 2018, may register to vote.
Any 17-year-old who will be 18 years old by Election Day and who otherwise meets the qualifications of an elector may register and vote in a primary.
In order to vote in a Primary one must be registered as a Republican or a Democrat. Local primaries are scheduled for August 14, 2018. The General Election will be November 6, 2018.
You may get a voter registration form at any town or city hall, any public library, the Department of Motor Vehicles, other state agency offices, or via the “for voters” page at our State website, Or, call your registrars or municipal clerk to have a voter registration form sent to your home. Mail or hand in your form to the registrar of voters of the town or city where you reside.
The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County is a grassroots, nonpartisan political organization of women and men.
Lawmakers Achieve Perfect Voting Attendance
HARTFORD- State Representatives John Piscopo (R-76) and David T. Wilson (R-66) achieved a perfect record for votes cast on the floor of the state House of Representatives during the 2018 legislative session, according to the House Clerk’s Office. 
Representatives Piscopo and Wilson were present and voted for all 317 votes taken on the state House floor during the 2018 session, according to voting record data released last week by the House Clerk’s Office. 
“My voting record is more than just numbers, it is a reflection of my continued commitment and promise to my constituents, and I hope that this 100% lets them know that that their voice in their state government matters on every issue. I take my legislative responsibility very seriously, and it is very humbling that the residents of the 76th district continue to entrust me with the privilege of representing their voice in Hartford. I’m proud to say to the people I represent that their voice was heard again this year on every issue that was called for debate by the legislature,” said Rep. Piscopo, whose district includes Thomaston, Burlington, Harwinton and the Northfield section of Litchfield. 
“I am proud to have again been present and voted for each bill that was called on the floor of the House of Representatives,” said Rep. Wilson, who has achieved a 100% voting record during both sessions of his term. “The people of the 66th district elected me to be their voice and bring their concerns to the State Capitol, and I’m proud to say that for the second year in a row, their voice was heard on every issue that came before the House for a vote.”
Piscopo, the Senior House Minority Whip and a leader in the House Republican Caucus, serves on the Environment, Energy & Technology and Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committees in the General Assembly.
Wilson serves on the Banking, Environment, and Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committees in the General Assembly.
For an overview of legislation passed this year, visit the Office of Legislative Research website:
Esty Amendment to Increase Funding for
Brownfields Redevelopment Grants Passes House
Today (7-19-18), Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) remarked on the passage of H.R. 6147, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, which included Esty’s amendment to increase funding to brownfields projects by $7 million. Esty introduced the amendment with Republican David McKinley (WV-1), which passed the House by voice vote. The final bill passed the House by a vote of 217-199.
This amendment would help cities and towns clean up brownfield sites in their local communities by funding additional projects under the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) program. Under this account, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers national competitive grants to states that want to carry out assessments or clean ups. Esty and McKinley introduced their amendment to add an addition $7 million to the $153 million in brownfields funding for FY 19.
“The inclusion of my amendment providing additional funds for brownfields revitalization is a victory for economic growth in central and northwestern Connecticut,” said Esty. “In today’s legislation, we increase funding for brownfields revitalization grants so that communities can continue to expand opportunities for investment by transforming blighted and contaminated sites into new factories, offices, and parks. Continued investment in brownfield sites is critical to the future success of historic industrial powerhouses across our state and in places like Meriden, Torrington, and Waterbury.
“While I am pleased the House voted to include my amendment in the bill, unfortunately, I could not support the final bill. This bill is filled with policy provisions that run counter to our values here in Connecticut, especially around health and the environment,” continued Esty. “It would undermine the Endangered Species Act, repeal the Clean Water Rule, and diminish the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Interior to keep our air and water clean. In addition, the legislation contains a long list of dangerous provisions that would cut all funds to protect against cyber hacking of our federal elections, and restrict not just federal, but local funds as well, from being used to carry out legal and safe abortion services.”
Click here to watch Esty discuss her amendment on the House floor
Brownfields sites – which EPA estimates number more than 450,000 nationwide, including an estimated 66 identified properties in central and northwest Connecticut – are often abandoned, closed, or underutilized industrial or commercial facilities. In March, the omnibus package included Esty’s Brownfields Reauthorization bill, which increased funding for the EPA’s Brownfields Program at $200 million annually with an additional $50 million annually for the state response program through FY 2023. It also makes adjustments for multipurpose grants and liability relief. According to a 2007 study, every acre of brownfields redevelopment creates close to 10 jobs, and every dollar spent through the EPA’s Brownfields Program leverages an average of $18 in outside investment.
Also known as the “Mini-Bus,” H.R. 6147 approves funding for the Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, and a number of their related sub-agencies.
League of Women Voters National Convention
 Resolutions include Abolishing the Electoral College
The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County announced the news from the United States 53rd National Convention held June 28 – July 1 in Chicago, IL. The event kicked off a two-year celebration of the coming 100th Anniversary in 2020 of women gaining suffrage and the establishment of the League of Women Voters. More than 1,000 League leaders from 49 states and the District of Columbia attended.
Over the four-day Convention, delegates voted on the national organization’s priorities and resolutions. There were several discussions about the Electoral College system of electing the U.S. President and Vice President.  The Convention overwhelmingly passed a resolution reaffirming the League’s long-held position that the Electoral College should be abolished in favor of a popular vote system.
“There are many reasons why now is the time to eliminate the Electoral College system,” said Kerry Mayers, President, of the Litchfield League. “The Electoral College discourages people from voting because they feel their votes do not count, and it magnifies the divisiveness in our country by emphasizing a false blue state/red state divide.” 
The League of Women Voters first called for an end to the Electoral College in favor of a popular vote system in 1970. The issue received more attention after the 2000 and 2016 Presidential elections, when the winners in the Electoral College lost the popular vote. The League’s position on the Electoral College is just one part of its Campaign for Making Democracy Work®, which includes ensuring a free, fair, and accessible electoral system for all eligible voters.
The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County is a grassroots, nonpartisan political organization of women and men.