Dialogue: 128 Mary Sotos

September 17th Dialogue Show

Mary Sotos, Deputy Commissioner for Energy at the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Mary Sotos, Deputy Commissioner for Energy at the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

This week on Dialogue reporter Steve Kotchko talks with Mary Sotos, Deputy Commissioner for Energy at the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  Sotos explains why Connecticut is updating its comprehensive energy strategy and why this detailed plan is important.  She discusses related energy issues including natural gas supplies, wind power, solar power, and how the state and federal governments may differ on energy policy.

Dialogue: 127 Donna Swanson

September 10th Dialogue Show

Donna Swanson.jpg

This week on Dialogue reporter Steve Kotchko talks with Donna Swanson, executive director of the FOCUS Center for Autism in Canton.  Swanson explains autism as an illness, and the so-called autism “spectrum” that covers various ways autism presents itself in children.  Swanson offers parents advice on how to get a diagnosis for a child potentially affected by autism and what treatments and strategies are available after a positive diagnosis.  She also discusses the challenges of educating children with autism.

Dialogue: 126 Lori Pelletier

September 3rd Dialogue Show

Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO.

Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO.

This week on Dialogue 2017 reporter Steve Kotchko talks with Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO on this Labor Day weekend.  In the program, Pelletier discusses the current state of organized labor, the effects of the prolonged state budget battle, how labor relates to the Trump administration, and challenges facing unions in the future.

Dialogue: 125 Joe Brennan

August 27th Dialogue Show

Joe Brennan, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA).

Joe Brennan, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA).

This week on Dialogue Steve Kotchko talks with Joe Brennan, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) about an op-ed piece he penned suggesting five says to spur Connecticut’s economy.  Brennan explains his plan includes avoiding major tax hikes, reducing the cost of state services, job training and other strategies to help Connecticut improve its economic well-being in the coming years. 

Dialogue: 124 Kevin Sullivan

August 20th Dialogue Show

State Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan.

State Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan.

This week on Dialogue reporter Steve Kotchko talks with State Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan.  Sullivan offers details on Connecticut’s annual “sales tax free week” on most clothing and footwear, running from Aug. 20 through Aug. 26.  He also discusses how the state and the world of retail are coping with the challenge from online sales.  Sullivan also describes cyber scams and cyber security tied to Connecticut’s revenue system.

Dialogue: 123 Kelly Isenor

August 13th Dialogue Show

Kelly Isenor, spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Connecticut.

Kelly Isenor, spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Connecticut.

This week on Dialogue reporter Steve Kotchko talks with Kelly Isenor, spokesperson for the American Red Cross in ConnecticutIsenor discusses the ongoing seasonal nationwide shortage of blood donations and the critical need for new donations now.  She describes the entire blood donation process in detail, and explains what happens to the blood taken in and how it is protected.  Isenor also offers options on how to find a blood drive near you.

Dialogue: 122 U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

August 6th Dialogue Show

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

This week on Dialogue Steve Kotchko talks with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal about issues on the front burner in Washington.  Blumenthal discusses in detail the recent historic vote on health care, and what may happen next on this vital and politically-sensitive topic.  He also offers insights on the controversial enforcement of immigration laws by the Trump administration, and discusses the ongoing investigation of Russian influence on last year’s elections and alleged Russian connections to the Trump administration.

Dialogue: 121 Michael Lawlor

July 30th Dialogue Show

Michael Lawlor, criminal justice advisor to Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Michael Lawlor, criminal justice advisor to Gov. Dannel Malloy.

This week on Dialogue Steve Kotchko talks with Michael Lawlor, criminal justice advisor to Gov. Dannel Malloy about various topics.  They include a detailed discussion of the controversy in the headlines about federal efforts to deport undocumented Connecticut residents even though they have no criminal records.  Lawlor also explains Connecticut’s new bail reform law designed to insure that people arrested for minor offenses are not kept in jail simply because they are poor and cannot afford bail.  Lawlor offers updates on the crime rate in Connecticut, and the declining state prison population. 

Dialogue: 120 Bill Hyatt

July 23rd Dialogue Show

Bill Hyatt, Chief of the Natural Resources Bureau at the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

Bill Hyatt, Chief of the Natural Resources Bureau at the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

This week on Dialogue Steve Kotchko talks with Bill Hyatt, natural resources bureau chief at the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection about the increasingly complex interaction between people and wild animals in our cities and towns.  Bears, coyotes, and bobcats have joined deer as creatures showing up in suburb yards and rural neighborhoods scaring many residents.  Hyatt discusses the reasons for this growing contact with wildlife, and how people should respond. 

Dialogue: 119 Dr. Philip Armstrong

July 16th Dialogue Show

Dr. Philip Armstrong, Director of Connecticut's Mosquito Surveillance Program

Dr. Philip Armstrong, Director of Connecticut's Mosquito Surveillance Program

Another mosquito season has arrived and with it the threat of mosquito-borne diseases.  State mosquito expert Dr. Philip Armstrong discusses the state mosquito monitoring program that just days ago detected potentially deadly West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in West Haven.  The Zika threat will also be watched this summer in Connecticut

Dialogue: 118 Howard Schwartz

July 9th Dialogue Show

Howard Schwartz, communications director for the Connecticut Better Business Bureau

Howard Schwartz, communications director for the Connecticut Better Business Bureau

This week on Dialogue, Mark Sims talks with Howard Schwartz who is the communications director for the Connecticut Better Business Bureau.  In the program he offers advice for Connecticut consumers to prevent being taken in by scam artists during the busy summer season.

Dialogue: 117 Kevin Lembo

July 2nd, 2017 Dialogue Show

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo

This week on Dialogue Steve Kotchko talks with State Comptroller Kevin Lembo about the state’s seemingly endless deficit crisis.  He offers some advice about how this fiscal dilemma can be resolved in the future.  Lembo also discusses his interest is running for governor next year, as the first openly gay major party candidate for the state’s highest office.

Dialogue: 116 Peter Gioia

June 25th, 2017 Dialogue Show

Peter Gioia, economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA).

Peter Gioia, economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA).

This week on Dialogue Steve Kotchko talks with Peter Gioia, economist for the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, (CBIA) about the state’s economic development status.  Gioia discusses some recent bright spots in the Connecticut employment picture, but candidly says the state must do much more to improve the business climate and grow jobs.  He urges lawmakers to buckle down and approve a new two-year state budget that signals stability to the business community.

Dialogue: 115 Denise Merrill

June 18th, 2017 Dialogue Show

Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State.

Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State.

This week on Dialogue Steve Kotchko talks with Denise Merrill, Secretary of the State about elections issues.  Merrill offers her views on the failure in the legislature of two major election reform proposals.  One is the movement for the so-called “national popular vote” that would have states commit to dedicating their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote, regardless of how the state’s voters cast their ballots.  The second failed reform would have allowed Connecticut voters to vote on a state constitutional amendment that would allow so-called “early voting” in presidential elections.  Finally, Merrill comments on the continuing controversy over whether foreign nations such as Russia can actually “hack” the U.S. election process.

Dialogue: 114 Henry Talmage

June 11th, 2017 Dialogue Show

Henry Talmage – Executive Director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau

Henry Talmage – Executive Director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau

This week on Dialogue Steve Kotchko talks with Henry Talmage, Executive Director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau, about farming and agriculture issues. With the ongoing budget crisis, Talmage tells why farmers don’t want the State Department of Agriculture merged with any other agency.  He talks about the diversity of farming in Connecticut which has been given a shot in the arm with the popularity of farmer’s markets, and about the state’s farmland preservation program to save farmlands from being turned into mini-malls or housing.

Dialogue: 113 Suzanne Aresco

June 4th, 2017 Dialogue Show:

Suzanne Aresco, Director of Travel for AAA in Hartford

Suzanne Aresco, Director of Travel for AAA in Hartford

This week on Dialogue, Steve Kotchko talks travel with Suzanne Aresco, the Director of Travel for Triple-A in Hartford.  With the summer travelling season approaching, Aresco discusses vacation trends, travel hotspots and consumer confidence.  She also provides some travel advice.

Dialogue: #112 Tony Hwang

May 28th, 2017 Dialogue Show:

State Senator Tony Hwang, Republican from Fairfield

State Senator Tony Hwang, Republican from Fairfield

This week on Dialogue, Steve Kotchko talks casino gambling in Connecticut with Fairfield Republican State Senator Tony Hwang.  In the show, Hwang explains why he is against any expansion of casino gambling.  He also comments about the potential of a casino in Fairfield County, and whether the societal impact of casinos in Connecticut is underestimated.

Dialogue: #111 Eric Hammerling

May 21st, 2017 Dialogue Show:

Eric Hammerling – Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.

Eric Hammerling – Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.

This week Steve Kotchko discusses with Eric Hammerling, Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, how proposed budget cuts would seriously impact state parks with staff cutbacks and reduced maintenance.  He talks about a proposal they support - called a “Passport for the Parks” - that would financially sustain state parks using a fee attached to motor vehicle registrations.  Hammerling also gives the status of a state constitutional amendment to protect state lands from being given away or sold without public input.

Dialogue: #110 Shawn Lang

May 14th, 2017 Dialogue Show:

Shawn Lang – Aids Connecticut Deputy Director

Shawn Lang – Aids Connecticut Deputy Director

This week Mark Sims discusses with Shawn Lang, Aids Connecticut Deputy Director, where things stand with HIV/Aids in Connecticut.  She says despite HIV/Aids not being in the spotlight in recent years, Connecticut has had over 21-thousand people diagnosed with HIV/Aids, and nearly 11-thousand of those folks are still living with the disease. Lang talks about successes in drugs to treat the disease, the success of the state’s syringe exchange program … but also unfortunately the lack of proper education in schools about prevention.

Dialogue: #109 Jacqueline Ford

May 7th, 2017 Dialogue Show:

Jacqueline Ford of the Department of Children and Families.

Jacqueline Ford of the Department of Children and Families.

May is National Foster Care month, so this week Steve Kotchko talks with DCF Foster Care and Adoption Specialist Jacqueline Ford about Connecticut’s foster care program.  She explains that foster care is a temporary arrangement for a child who is unable to stay in their home with their family because it’s unsafe … but with the ultimate goal of reunifying that child with their birth parent(s) sometime in the future.  Ford explains the requirements and process of how one can become a foster parent in Connecticut and make the difference in the life of a child.