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. 

Dialogue: #95 Denise Merrill

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill

January 29th, 2017 Dialogue Show:   

 On this week’s Dialogue, Steve Kotchkodiscusses with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill President Trump’s claim that massive voter fraud occurred in the presidential election, costing him the “popular vote”.  Merrill explains why Trump’s assertion is ridiculous, but also damaging and un-American for our elections system.

Dialogue: #94 Bob Duff

January 22nd, 2017 Dialogue Show:   

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff

 Steve Kotchko talks with State Senate Democratic Leader Bob Duff about the new shared power structure in the State Senate this year, with Democrats and Republicans now each having an equal number of members.  Senator Duff talks about why the state is continually facing budget deficits ... this year no different … and what needs to be done to fill that gap.  In addition, Duff gives his concerned views on how Connecticut could be affected financially by the new Trump administration in Washington.

Dialogue: #93 Jillian Gilchrest

Jillian Gilchrest – Chair of the Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council

Jillian Gilchrest – Chair of the Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council

January 15th, 2017 Dialogue Show:   

 This week on Dialogue Mark Sims interviews Jillian Gilchrest, Chair of the Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council, about the problem of sex trafficking in Connecticut.  She says it is a problem here in our state, as more than 500 children have been sex trafficked – sold for sex – in Connecticut over the last 5 years.  Gilchrest tells how they want to raise awareness about this, and discusses their efforts to end it by targeting the demand side of men buying sex, which fuels sex trafficking

Dialogue: #92 Kevin Witkos

State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-Canton)

State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-Canton)

January 8th, 2017 Dialogue Show:   

 On Dialogue 2017 this week, Steve Kotchko gets a Republican viewpoint on Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s State of the State Address from Deputy Republican Leader in the State Senate Kevin Witkos. Witkos tells his thoughts on Malloy’s education funding plan and on state pension reform.  The Republican leader also discussed the new power balance in the State Senate with Democrats and Republicans now each having the same number of members … something that hasn’t happened in 125 years.