Connecticut GOP tries to harness toll opposition for fundraising

Connecticut GOP tries to harness toll opposition for fundraising
A toll opponents hold a sign at a rally for the anti-toll movement at the state Capitol on Saturday. (Kenneth R. Gosselin / Hartford Courant)

In a fundraising letter Tuesday, state GOP Chairman J.R. Romano wrote that tolls would place another burden on the state’s already over-taxed residents and businesses — and if they want to stop it, they should give money to the party.

The two-page appeal opens by referring to the governor as “New Tax Ned” Lamont, who it says “lied” during last year’s gubernatorial race about only supporting tolls on out-of-state trucks. Lamont, a Democrat, has since said that the only way to raise enough money for overdue transportation improvements is to toll all vehicles on 91, 84, 95 and Route 15.

Romano’s letter says Connecticut Republicans need to raise $40,000 over the next 21 days and asks supporters to chip-in $500, $250 or $100.

“Acting like arrogant kings and queens in a monarchy, the regal Connecticut Democrats love to tell you what to do and take your money and make it their money,” the letter reads.

Lamont senior adviser Colleen Flanagan Johnson said the only transportation funding alternative offered by Republicans, a plan known as Prioritize Progress, would take on long-term debt for the state and runs counter to the “debt diet” plan of the governor.

“This is desperate,…

Politics of pot becomes more potent as sales begin in Mass.

Statewide – The chances of Connecticut giving the green light to recreational marijuana increased dramatically when Democrat Ned Lamont won the race for Governor earlier this month.

Now, with hundreds of people lining up just 30 minutes north of the state border in Northampton, and Leicester, Massachusetts to legally buy marijuana and marijuana products, there will be more urgency on the issue.

Unlike Governor Malloy, Lamont embraced the idea of legalizing marijuana all through the campaign.

Related Content: What’s the difference between medical marijuana & recreational pot?

He now joins the highest ranking state legislator in the effort, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven). The Senate President Pro tem told News 8, “It’s pointless to continue to have it be illegal in Connecticut since people can now travel just across the border to Massachusetts. It’s a significant revenue item for us. It’s also…

Ned Lamont’s eight-year break from politics

  • Ned Lamont, Democratic candidate for governor of Connecticut, surprised some by coming back to politics after nearly a decade. Photo: Cathy Zuraw / Hearst Connecticut Media / Connecticut Post

Political insiders thought Ned Lamont was done with politics.

He’d spent a combined $26 million on his failed gubernatorial bid in 2010 and his 2006 loss to Joe Lieberman — more than enough to turn anyone off — and then he retired quietly from the political limelight. Or so it seemed.

“After 2010, he just dropped off the map,” said Frank Farricker, former chairman of the Greenwich Democratic Town Committee. “I don’t remember him really getting involved in any party-related activities at all. Not only was I surprised when he ran for governor, but I was surprised to the degree to which a lot of the party insiders decided to coalesce behind his campaign.”

Lamont officially announced his campaign in January. By the Democratic Party’s May convention, all of his many opponents — save Bridgeport Mayor and ex-convict Joe Ganim — had dropped out or, in Susan Bysiewicz’s case, joined his team. It’s a comeback that has left some wondering what he’d been doing in the interim.

“As far as I know, nothing,” Farricker said. “And I was town chairman of the Democratic Party in Greenwich, Ned’s hometown, from 2008 to 2015. It’s the most politically active I’ve ever been in my life, and I don’t recall him doing anything more than an ordinary citizen would do.”

Back in the real world

The day after his 16-point loss to now-Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in the August 2010 primary, Lamont returned to Campus Televideo, the company he founded in 1984 to bring cable television to college campuses.

But he found he wasn’t as intellectually invested in the company. So he transitioned from CEO to chairman and sold the company the next year.

For the first five years after the election, Lamont said, his day-to-day was spent working on the company’s transition in the morning, and in the afternoons, he sometimes taught classes at Central Connecticut State, or did work for one of the many boards he served on. As a Distinguished Professor, Lamont drew from personal experience as a candidate to lecture on political science, philosophy and even psychology, according to CCSU. A spokesman for the university clarified, Lamont did not teach semester-long courses in degree-granting programs, but rather individual classes.

After selling the company, Lamont invested in and provided consulting services for a pair of media startups — Stringr and Watchup — through his holding company, Lamont Digital. It wasn’t until General Electric announced its departure from the state in 2015 that Lamont dipped his toe back into the world of public service.

He had a friend at GE, and as a Connecticut resident, he said he needed to know what the state could have done to keep the company. Through Yale, where he served on the board of advisers for the School of Management, Lamont set up a…