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. 

Dialogue: #108 Amy Parmenter

April 30th, 2017 Dialogue Show:  

Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA

Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA

On this Dialogue edition, Steve Kotchko discusses with Amy Parmenter of the AAA in Connecticut, the problem of drugged drivers actually becoming more of a problem than drunk drivers out on the roads these days.  She tells that is a reason why the AAA is opposed to legalizing recreational use of marijuana in Connecticut.  Parmenter also tells where rising gas prices are headed for the summer driving months here in Connecticut.   

Dialogue: #107 Karl Wagener

Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality Executive Director Karl Wagener

Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality Executive Director Karl Wagener

April 23rd, 2017 Dialogue Show:  

This week Mark Sims talks with Karl Wagener, Executive Director of the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality, about the condition of Connecticut’s air, land and water.  Mr. Wagener discusses their new annual report on Connecticut’s environment, and obstacles the state faces in trying to keep its air and waters clean.  He tells how climate change has impacted Connecticut’s environment, and what could happen under President Trump’s administration environmentally.    

Dialogue: #106 Ed Quinlan

Ed Quinlan of the Malta Justice Initiative

Ed Quinlan of the Malta Justice Initiative

April 16th, 2017 Dialogue Show:  

This week on Dialogue, Steve Kotchko talks with Ed Quinlan from the Malta Justice Initiative.  In the show, Quinlan discusses a survey of Connecticut employers on the topic of hiring ex-offenders.  He also talks about the performance record of ex-offenders who do get jobs, and the cost to society if ex-offenders can’t find work.  

Dialogue: #105 Tony Guerrera

Rocky Hill Representative Tony Guerrera – Co-Chair of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee

Rocky Hill Representative Tony Guerrera – Co-Chair of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee

April 10th, 2017 Dialogue Show:  

This week Mark Sims talks with the Co-Chair of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, Representative Tony Guerrera about his strong advocacy for electronic tolls on Connecticut’s highways.  Rep. Guerrera tells why electronic tolls would be the fairest way to pay for the maintenance of our roads and bridges, and with out-of-state motorists contributing too … which does not occur now.  He explains the benefits and ease of how electronic tolling would work, and give his thoughts on when this might happen in Connecticut with momentum building in the legislature for it. 

Dialogue: #103 Len Fasano

State Senate Republican President Len Fasano from North Haven

State Senate Republican President Len Fasano from North Haven

March 26th, 2017 Dialogue Show:  

On this Dialogue edition, Steve Kotchko discusses with Senate Republican President Len Fasano what may happen as the legislature wrestles with trying to adopt a new 2-year state budget this session.  Fasano tells what he thinks of some of Governor Malloy’s proposals, such as towns and cities paying a third of teacher pension costs to fill the massive budget deficit.  He also discusses the governor’s new education funding plan, the need to get labor concessions, and what it would take to get bipartisan support on a state budget.   

Dialogue: #101 Michael Lawlor

March 12th, 2017 Dialogue Show:  

Michael Lawlor, criminal justice advisor to Gov. Malloy.

Michael Lawlor, criminal justice advisor to Gov. Malloy.

March 12th, 2017 Dialogue Show: 

This week Steve Kotchko talks with Michael Lawlor, Governor Dannel Malloy’s Criminal Justice Advisor, about the governor’s proposal to grant juvenile justice protections to persons aged 18 to 20.  Lawlor explains why it’s the best way to deal with these young people for lesser crimes, not felonies, so they are not tarnished for life and can be successful contributing members of society in the future.  He says they did this with 16 and 17 year olds 10 years ago and it has led to a reduction in crime in Connecticut and the closing of prisons because of less crime.

Dialogue: #100 Susan Bransfield

Susan Bransfield – Connecticut Conference of Municipalities President and Portland First Selectwoman

Susan Bransfield – Connecticut Conference of Municipalities President and Portland First Selectwoman

March 5th, 2017 Dialogue Show:  

On this show, Mark Sims talks with Connecticut Conference of Municipalities President, Portland First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield about issues concerning cities and towns.  She tells of their concerns about Governor Malloy’s proposed changes to the state’s education funding formula, and his proposal to have cities and towns pay a third of teacher pension costs.  CCM President Bransfield also discussed CCM’s own new report, “A New Way Forward” with recommendations for a vibrant future for cities and towns. 

Dialogue: #99 Eileen Healy

Eileen Healy – Representative of Connecticut’s Independent Living Centers

Eileen Healy – Representative of Connecticut’s Independent Living Centers

February 26th, 2017 Dialogue Show:  

On this week’s show, Steve Kotchko’s guest is Eileen Healy, representing Connecticut’s Independent Living Centers.  She tells why Governor Malloy’s budget effort to take away all state funds could be disastrous for these facilities that help the disabled.  Healy discusses how important the centers are to the disabled population, and whether the legislature might be persuaded to restore the funding.  If not, she discusses whether they could find funding from private sources. 

Dialogue: #97 Themis Klarides

State House Republican leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby)

State House Republican leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby)

February 12th, 2017 Dialogue Show:  

On this Dialogue edition, Steve Kotchko gets a Republican assessment of Governor Dannel Malloy’s new 2-year state budget from State House Republican Leader Themis Klarides.  She tells what she thinks about a new school funding program the governor is proposing, and whether towns can absorb funding cuts without hiking property taxes.  Representative Klarides also discusses Republican ideas to help balance the budget, and what will happen if Governor Malloy can’t get concessions from state employee unions to help cut the budget deficit.