Bill Dunne says he’ll challenge Duff for state Senate seat

Republican Bill Dunne is running for the state Senate seat held by Bob Duff (D-Norwalk)
Republican Bill Dunne is running for the state Senate seat held by Bob Duff (D-Norwalk)

NORWALK, Conn. – Republican Bill Dunne, a member of the Norwalk Planning Commission and a 24-year resident of Norwalk, announced Saturday his candidacy to challenge incumbent Democrat Bob Duff to represent the 25th Connecticut Senatorial District in the Nov. 4 elections.

The district encompasses all of Norwalk and most of Darien.

“Darien and Norwalk deserve much better representation in the State Senate than we’ve been getting,” Dunne said in a press release sent Saturday to NancyOnNorwalk. “Bob Duff, the incumbent senator, has been enabling Hartford to treat taxpayers in this district like an ATM to pay for hugely expensive and wasteful projects elsewhere in the state. This has to stop.”

Dunne also cited what he called the “very alarming downward slide of Connecticut’s economy and fiscal health. This has put our state at or near the bottom of all 50 states in almost all important fiscal measures. It’s gotten so bad that a recent Gallup Poll indicates that half of Connecticut residents would like to move away from our state. Mr. Duff bears a substantial share of the responsibility for that, most notably by casting the deciding vote in 2011 for the largest increases in taxes and fees in Connecticut’s history.

“Darien and Norwalk are wonderful places,” Dunne said. “Each has very distinct charms and histories, and both deserve to have their local concerns vigorously represented in Hartford. That’s not what has been happening, and we have suffered as a result. I think the voters of Darien and Norwalk will agree that the process of reversing the downward slide can’t begin too soon.”

Reached for comment Saturday night, Duff said, “Democracy is best served when voters have a choice. America is a great country where anyone can run for office.”

Dunne was appointed to the Planning Commission in fall 2013 to fill the vacant seat of the late Don Nelson, who died in 2012. The appointment caused a small controversy because of Democratic opposition after Dunne’s personal Facebook posts came to light in a video posted online. The Facebook posts and other writings indicated that he does not believe in the theory of global climate change, and slammed President Obama. Some of the Facebook posts were subsequently removed. The planned August vote was postponed for a month.

Prior to his current service on the Planning Commission, Dunne served on the Norwalk Fair Rent Commission.

He is a graduate of Fordham University with a bachelor’s degree in economics; a retiree of the IBM Corp. where he worked in media relations and executive communications; and for the past 20 years has been running an executive-communications consultancy in Norwalk. He and his wife, Midge, have two grown children and two grandchildren.

Dunne is the second person to announce a challenge to the five-term incumbent. A Democratic newcomer, Israel Navarro, announced earlier this spring he would make a bid for the nomination.



30 responses to “Bill Dunne says he’ll challenge Duff for state Senate seat”

  1. Oldtimer

    Bill has made a career out of writing and/or editing speeches for other people in the comfort of a private office. He certainly has writing skills. Can that translate into a viable campaign, where he will have to speak in public for himself ? Can he speak off the cuff ? Can he deal with opposition in public forums ? He will impress some people with his command of the language, but will they vote for him ? Bob Duff is very good at what he does and will probably be doing for as long as he wants.

  2. Mr Norwalk Ct

    I am not sure if I am remembering this correctly, but is this the same Bill Dunne that thinks President Obama is not a citizen?

  3. Bob Duff is nothing more than a photo puppet – and I can’t wait till he gets defeated in the next election .

    Remember, he did such a “good” job for NEON… Slam dunk – he can no longer hide or avoid those big questions.
    he has hidden too many times when the chips were down. But ever the opportunist to jump on a band wagon that is leading the parade.

  4. Piberman

    Bill Dunn is a highly capable, thoughtful, knowledgeable student and practitioner of public affairs. He understands finance and government. Citizens who object to the Democratic super-majority in Hartford with all the fiscal and economic harm it has engineered to our city and state will have a viable and knowledgeable alternative. Citizens who admire Democratic tax hikes, jobs loss and new spending in CT can continue to vote for Senator Duff. It’s not often that Norwalk voters have such a clear cut choice – status quo with vote owned by the Party or a chance for economic/fiscal renewal for CT.

  5. EveT

    Is this the same Bill Dunne who interrupted a presentation by Secretary of the State to insist that voter fraud is rampant and CT’s voter ID laws are detrimental to honest elections?

  6. srb

    Tea Party candidate

  7. EastNorwalkChick

    I question anyone who does not believe in science…

  8. Peter Torrano

    An interesting array of responses to Mr. Dunne’s announced candidacy. As Chairman, the Norwalk Republican party is very pleased to be able to nominate a man of Bill Dunne’s character, intelligence and honesty. A comment like “I question anyone who does not believe in science” is an example of what we can expect from those who oppose Mr. Dunne. Quite possibly a more well thought out question would be something along the lines of “will Mr. Dunne vote for a budget that is not funded?” as Mr. Duff has done on the backs of the taxpayers of Norwalk and our state. Or possibly, “will Mr. Dunne run diversionary articles about anything designed to distract the voters from his voting record, such as Deer Ticks, food banks, etc?” or will Mr. Dunne address the real needs of our state: jobs, overspending, overtaxing, the constant flow of those fleeing our state, transportation, and the ECS formula. It is because we, as voters, have continued to allow many in our state house and senate to go unchallenged when they sign onto damaging legislation, oftentimes designed to do nothing more than to assure their reelection, that the State of Connecticut is ranked last or nearly last in so many categories. So, let’s, as adults, talk about what is best for our state and avoid the silliness of unfounded and often childish claims against those who seek to run, but address the obvious facts instead. We feel, as Republicans, that everything we bring to light about Mr. Duff and others in his party can and will be backed up with facts. Oh, and we won’t make false claims against Mr. Duff, as in calling him a “socialist” if those opposed to Mr. Dunne don;t make the wrongful allegation of “Tea Party” against him. It is patently untrue, and seems to be the newest attempt by the Democrats to dismiss and deride any Republican candidate.

  9. Bill Dunne

    @EastNorwalkChick… I won’t make it a practice to engage in dialogues with anonymous posters, but I’ll make an exception in this case. You might want to look up the definition of science. It is not a belief. It is a methodology. I believe in the scientific method. ‘Nuff said.

  10. John Frank sr

    I would be very cautious about supporting a candidate who is so far behind the times he argues against the evidence supporting the idea of global warming. He may say some good things about reducing government spending, but, as he well knows, talk is cheap.

  11. the donut hole

    @EastNorwalk. “believing” in science? So you admit that you believe, rather than understand? Do you consider yourself to be amongst those who “believe” what they are told, rather than understanding facts for themselves?

  12. srb

    Joe Espo, did you bother to check the cites that you refer to before posting? The first one is Jim Jones worthy. As for the tag TeaParty Candidate, Dunne, seems like he’s on the more extreme right wing, he mocks the President, apparently questions his citizenship, doesn’t accept global warming as anything but a hoax perpetrated by environmentalists etc.. he thinks voter fraud is a big problem…if it quacks like duck and walks like a duck it’s unlikely to be just a plain old elephant.
    As for Ct., we have incredibly high health care compared to the rest of the country, one of the highest incomes and one of the stronger educational systems. There’s been a net migration to the Fairfield County area, maybe things aren’t so bad.

  13. Joeespo

    Yes, Bob Duff will cure global warming because he will make sure that Governor Malloy will appropriate state funding to establish an Al Gore Cap & Trade exchange. We love Bob.


  14. Joe Espo

    @SRB: more taxes, more taxes…..yes…more taxes….. Hey Bob Duff…more taxes… Please Bob…more taxes… I want more taxes; global warming cap and trade taxes; government employee pension taxes; teacher union salary local edu budget taxes; municipal union employee taxes…All of the stuff you voted for. We love you!

  15. srb

    two back at you Joe. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/12/opinion/krugman-crazy-climate-economics.html?hp&rref=opinion&_r=0

    If they’re wrong and climate warming isn’t true economic growth will be diminished for a decade plus, if they’re right and we do nothing- its a catastrophe. I’m sure you can find some obscure rant someplace on the web that turns both these guys into clowns

  16. Oyster

    @MrNorwalkCT: Yes
    @EveT: Yes

  17. Piberman

    Curious that none of the NON commentators have endorsed Mr Duffs advocacy of the Governors tax and spend policies. Hope springs eternal.

  18. Tobias

    As long as he doesn’t put out a video done by the same production team as the Democratic “opposition” he will have a fighting chance…

  19. While the issue of ‘global warming’ (now renamed ‘climate change’, since the average temperature of the Earth stopped rising 19 years ago in 1995, as noted in the IPCC report itself) is CLEARLY the most important one facing Norwalk and Darien’s state senator, perhaps somewhere way down the list we might address an issue the state legislature actually has the capacity to DO something about — the gross mistreatment of Norwalk on the ECS formula, which shorts us something in the nature of $30 million PER YEAR in State funding for our schools.

  20. Oyster

    Yes. About those school funds:
    State formula grant support for Norwalk will increase by $500,655 to $18.3 million
    in FY 15. This figure includes approximately $11.3 million in Education Cost Sharing
    funds for Norwalk schools in the coming year, an increase of $276,610 over FY 14.
    Norwalk will also receive a further $250,000 increase in Priority District school
    funding, for a total $750,655 increase in state aid in FY 15 compared to FY 14.

  21. anonymous

    @Oyster, happy with scraps I see. Are you Duff?

  22. Norewalk Lifer

    Norwalk does not need another “clown” in the State Legislature, Duff has done a lot for Norwalk, you see Duff at many fundraisers, and there are no cameras, the recent basketball fund raiser at McMahon, what a great game, and a great cause,

    But no camera, I’ve read some of Mr. Dunne’s writing and while he might be well meaning, I think his sophomoric sense of humor might be detracting in the state house.

    Look, I don’t know about many in this town, but picking the “last loaf of bread” before the campaign storm at the Republican grocery store, just doesn’t impress some of us

  23. Oyster, as anon notes, while we are happy to receive these scraps from the Hartford table, they are literally that — scraps, in comparison to what better-connected towns and cities receive from the State. If Norwalk simply received the AVERAGE ECS compensation received by the other cities in our DRG group (28%), instead of the 7% we get, we would get $30 million more per year in aid. Not $300K more, not $3 million more — THIRTY million more. Per year. So we got $750G more. Now of course, so did most other places, so we’re just keeping pace — about $30 million per year behind where we should be. That’s not an impressive record on the part of our legislative delegation.

  24. Here’s an interesting graphic on state aid in the latest budget: http://ctmirror.org/state-funding-how-much-is-your-city-or-town-getting/. It shows total changes in aid by town. Norwalk is getting 3% more. Wealthy Westport got 2%; wealthy Fairfield 3%. By contrast, Stamford got 8% more, Danbury got 7% more, West Hartford – a wealthier community than Norwalk – got 4% more (but their representative chairs the Education Committee and actually seems to have clout).

  25. the donut hole

    Mike, it isn’t $30 million. It’s $30 million X 22 years. $660 Million in today’s dollars. That’s over a half a BILLION DOLLARS (said in best Dr. Evil voice for emphasis). Thanks for your hard work everywhere else, but the city needs to sue the crap out of the state on a discrimination lawsuit.

  26. Oyster

    That’s an interesting argument, that we “should” be receiving exactly the average. Average means some get more and some get less, so why not argue that we “should” be getting the $85MM that New Britain gets? That’s why there’s a formula.
    Sure the formula needs fixing, but the idea that a single legislator is going to achieve that is folly. I’m quite sure that one factor in looking at Norwalk for ECS adjustments is how it is currently handling its funds. It wasn’t all that long ago when Norwalk jumped from a $4mm shortfall to a $10mm shortfall in the course of a single budget-setting cycle. Now that the finances at the BOE aren’t making headlines, perhaps a case can be made, but “me-too-ism” isn’t the way to manage a whole state.

  27. Oyster, I didn’t say we should be receiving the average — I could probably argue that we should be receiving far more than the average, given that roughly 50% of our student population is on free and reduced lunches. I simply chose the average to demonstrate the magnitude of our short-changing by the State, which is simply breathtaking.

    Nor did I say a “single legislator” could fix the formula; I said that our “legislative delegation” as a whole had an unimpressive record on this. Since the Democrats are the long-term majority party in Hartford, they have the greater responsibility to fix it. What efforts have our legislators made to ally themselves with others who would support fixing it? Democrats from Fairfield County might find allies in Republican ranks who they could work with on this issue – have they even tried? If they have and the paltry sums they’ve brought us are the fruits of their labors, they are ineffective. How about some old-fashioned horse-trading? ‘Governor, if you want our votes for that boondoggle bus highway upstate, we want $5 million more per year for Norwalk’s schools?’ Again, it either hasn’t been tried or they’ve failed.

    I’m not talking ‘me-tooism’, I’m talking basic fairness. This middle income city pays far more in taxes to the State than it gets back, and is treated by Hartford as if it was Greenwich. Local officials of both parties have been making noise about that mistreatment for years. It would be nice if our legislators at least TRIED to do something about it. Gail Lavielle did.

  28. Donut, you are correct — the shortchanging of Norwalk adds up to well over a half billion dollars. We are, in fact, supporting the litigation challenging the ECS formula in court (since our legislators largely seem unwilling or unable to do anything about it), as is Mayor Rilling. Although such suits are something of long shots, given the inactivity on the legislative front, it may be our best bet.

Leave a Reply

Recent Comments