Archive for the ‘Chris Dodd’ Category

The Oldest Rookie?
October 11, 2010

Is 60 the new 40?  That’s what Dick Blumenthal and Linda McMahon must be hoping.  If elected, each would be one of the oldest rookie senators Connecticut has ever elected.    Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman are both older than Blumenthal and McMahon, but were much younger than this year’s candidates when first elected in 1980 and 1988 respectively.    Age certainly isn’t what it used to be,  and Blumenthal and McMahon appear to be in good health and look younger than their years.  

When McMahon announced Sunday  that if elected she would serve only two terms,  I was curious about the history of senators from our state and of the ages of the men and women in the chamber.  McMahon, who just turned 62 last week, would be 74 at the end of a second term.   

 Is 74 old?   Nah, not in the U.S. Senate.  Right now roughly a quarter of the senators (23) is older than 70; an additional four are in their eighties.   Several of these senior citizen senators are seeking re-election, including Daniel Inouye of Hawaii who is 86, the second oldest senator after New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg, who is nine months older.      As for women in the senate, Maryland’s Barbara Mikulksi is older now than McMahon would be at the end of a second term,  and she is running for re-election.  

Blumenthal, who turns 65 in February,  would the oldest person elected to the seat now held by Senator Chris Dodd since Roger Sherman was elected back in the 1700s at the age of 70.   

 If Blumenthal is elected, he will  be the oldest freshman in the senate, with the exception of 67 year-old Dan Coats of Indiana, who wouldn’t be a real  freshman because he served in the senate previously back in the 1990s.  If elected, McMahon could  also be the oldest freshman depending on how senate elections in other states go.

Speaking of Dodd, he is one of the youngest senators our state has ever elected, sent to the senate by voters in 1980 at the age of 36.    He is Connecticut’s longest serving senator.  For Blumenthal to break that record he would have to serve until he is 95; McMahon until she is 92, and each would have to be re-elected in 2016, 2022, 2028, 2034 and 2040 to achieve that milestone.    

Will I still be moderating “Face the State” in 2040?

How should Dodd and Rell be Honored?
October 10, 2010

2010 marks the apparent end of the long political careers of two of the biggest names in Connecticut politics:  Senator Chris Dodd and Governor Jodi Rell.    Rell has been on a ballot in our state for a quarter century, serving as state representative, lieutenant governor and of course her present job.    Dodd has been around even longer, nearly 40 years as a congressman and senator.       Dodd could become an ambassador or cabinet secretary, and Governor Rell an advocate for a charity or cause close to her heart, but it is unlikely either will seek elected office ever again. 

One thing is certain:  these two political heavyweights will be remembered in stone, concrete, wood, granite, or all of the above.  Make no doubt about it, someday  they will each have a building, a park or a monument named in their honor, and deservedly so.      Dodd’s father, the late Senator Thomas Dodd, served fewer terms in Washington than his son, and he has a library at the Universityof Connecticut named after him, as well as a stadium in Norwich. 

How are these for suggestions:   if the stretch of interstate 84 in Hartford known as the Aetna Viaduct is lowered and a tunnel is built there, it could be the Senator Chris Dodd Tunnel.     Or if cash is tight, then what about renaming the Founders Bridge the “Dodd Bridge,”  to honor his years of work bringing home federal funds for Riverfront Recapture?  Perhaps a rebuilt UConn Health Center could bear his name, or Rell’s.    

As for the governor,  there was a suggestion made a while back by Hartford Courant columnist Tom Condon that the old historic Second Church of Christ, Scientist, a spectacular building near the Capitol,  be donated to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and christened “Rell Hall, ”  or the “Rell Center.”    Over time it would simply be called “The Rell.”   It would help revitalize the neighborhood near the Bushnell.  

Many of our past governors, senators, and mayors are memorialized in our infrastructure and architecture.  There is the Bulkeley Bridge, Wilbur Cross High School, the Ribicoff Federal Building, the O’Neill Fieldhouse, Ella Grasso Boulevard, and the list goes on. 

It is not easy to get someone’s moniker on a sign, believe me.  I worked to help the family of former Hartford Mayor Ann Uccello procure something to honor her trailblazing accomplishment as the first woman elected mayor of a major American city. This was 40 years after her historic election.  It took more than a year of conversations with city and state officials and private citizens to make Ann Uccello Street a reality.    

There will be people who will be opposed to anything named after Dodd or Rell, but they won’t prevail and nor should they.   The two have served our state for many years, and were major players in several chapters of recent Connecticut history.   

There are some recent political names absent in permanent recognition:  John Rowland and Lowell Weicker.   The Rowland State Government Center is named in honor of the former governor’s family, for their role in Waterbury politics, not the man who resigned in disgrace.  

Weicker, the former congressman, senator and governor is part of an elite club of men who have been elected to those three offices.   It is pretty rare.   Before Dodd and Rell leave office, they might want to propose naming something after Weicker, to show their successors how easy it can be done.    

It is good karma.      

This originally appeared in the July issue of Hartford Magazine

Blumenthal on Face the State
January 8, 2010

The newest candidate in the race for the U.S. Senate is our guest this week on “Face the State.”   Attorney General Richard Blumenthal entered the race at 2:30PM on Wednesday and within 24 hours two polls christened him the frontrunner. 

Everybody knows Blumenthal has wanted to be a senator for years,  patiently waiting for a seat to open up.     I asked him today if he had hired a campaign manager, then jokingly said…”Never mind, I forgot you’ve had one on retainer since 1996.” 

Blumenthal was relaxed on the Face the State set, which is no surprise since he appears on camera more than some of our reporters.     He was surprised by our guest reporters, Ted Mann of the New London Day and Chris Powell of the Journal Inquirer.  Blumenthal knew there would be a reporter panel, as all the senate and gubernatorial candidates face, he just didn’t know who.

Why?  When the attorney general agreed to come on he didn’t ask who else would be asking the questions.     He was prepared for whoever was here, but I should point out most candidates ask about the reporters beforehand. 

Anyway, I’ve interviewed Blumenthal many times, and even though he has told me to call him “Dick,” I just can’t.  It is Mr. Blumenthal or General Blumenthal in professional settings.

During the taping of “Face the State” we asked Blumenthal to spell out the difference between him and Senator Dodd, and we asked him about  foreign affairs, health care, his opponents and other topics.     Also this Sunday, Blumenthal disagrees with the Obama administration and senate and house leaders on a major issue.      

I will say he agreed to debate the other Democrat in the race, former Air Force  officer Merrick Alpert.


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