Norwalk political notes: Dems in State leadership

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), Wednesday in the Connecticut Statehouse, as shown on CT-N.

NORWALK, Conn. — Some State Legislature notes:

  • Duff reelected Majority Leader
  • Dathan gains new leadership role
  • Simms appointed Assistant Deputy Speaker


Duff begins ninth year as Majority Leader

Bob Duff has been reelected State Senate Majority Leader, once again confounding his critics.

“When I first came to the legislature as a House member in a special election, I was so excited just to see my name on the board in the House, never thinking that it would I would ever be here in the Senate. Nor did I ever think that I would have the confidence of my colleagues to be the Senate Majority Leader. It is an honor of a lifetime and one that that hits me pretty much every single day,” Duff said Wednesday in the Statehouse.

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), right, highlights the presence of his wife, Tracey Duff, and Norwalk Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Eloisa Melendez, Wednesday in the Connecticut Statehouse as shown on CT-N.

First elected to the Senate in 2005, Duff has been Majority Leader since 2015.

Duff handily beat Republican opponent Daniel Miressi in last fall’s election. Miressi, who self-funded his campaign, was very vocal on Twitter and after the election highlighted a post pointing out that he’d won Darien while only spending $2,000 in the hunt for votes.

George Colli, a veteran journalist, wrote, “Lamont won Darien and Duff loses by hundreds? Any plans Duff has to ever run for more than State Senate were crushed by Dan Miressi and Duff’s immature demeanor. He’s done. I doubt he gets voted into leadership by his own caucus this year. Finished.”

Duff routinely loses in Republican-leaning Darien. Gov. Ned Lamont ran town-wide, while District 25 only includes part of Darien.

Miressi’s last Tweet was Dec. 23. He has a Nov. 14 post pinned to the top of his feed, announcing his new podcast. There’s been one episode.

On Wednesday, Duff said, “I look forward to working with all of my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, to make sure that the floor works smoothly, and that we get our bills through and that we have a productive session.”

Dathan appointed Committee Chair

State Rep. Lucy Dathan (D-142) began her third two-year term Wednesday. At the Dec. 19 Democratic Town Committee meeting, Dathan said she would be leading the Regulation Review Committee this time around. She’s been on the Human Services Committee and was becoming Vice Chair. She was also continuing on the Appropriations Committee, of which she has been Vice Chair, and she said she’d been co-chair of a Medicaid subcommittee.

Dathan was appointed Regulation Review Committee Chairwoman the week before.

“Lucy will be chairing a truly bipartisan committee – it’s evenly split,” Speaker of the House Matt Ritter (D-Hartford) said in a news release. “This is a Committee that does not let party get in the way of policy and that is exactly how Lucy operates.”

“The Regulation Review Committee is tasked with the important role of ensuring the regulations recommended by State agencies are fair and reasonable for Connecticut’s residents – a role I believe Rep. Dathan is well suited for,” House Majority Leader Jason Rojas (D-East Hartford, Manchester) said in the release. “Rep. Dathan has quickly established herself as a capable policy leader who understands governance issues and has a detailed understanding of the State budget and policy design. Her skillset is well-suited for regs review, a critically important step in the policy making process where proper implementation of the law is essential to positive and impactful laws. I’m excited to see her rise into this leadership role.”

Simms promoted

State Rep. Travis Simms (D-140), at the Dec. 19 DTC meeting, said he was being promoted to Assistant Deputy Speaker.

Simms, first elected in 2018, has been Vice Chair of the Transportation Committee. He said he was leaving that role.

The State’s website lists three Assistant Deputy Speakers but hasn’t been updated to reflect this year’s session. Simms is listed as Assistant Majority Leader for 2021-22.

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Bryan Meek January 5, 2023 at 8:18 am

Shiny titles aside, it would be nice to have regulation review on our trucking industry which we’ve been slowly but surely strangling to death.

The new Heavy vehicle use tax could will cost an 18 wheeler doing 100k miles an additional $17,500 a year in taxes. This is on top of the DMV IRP registration fees (almost $5k), on top of IFTA fuel tax, on top of local property taxes, on top of DOT biannual registration, on top of UCR registration fees, on top of the $2 per gallon in hidden taxes in diesel fuel when you add up all the taxes, fees, and regulations.

And for all of this we don’t even have weigh stations anymore taking the dangerous trucks off the road.

Next up, electricity. Our regulations have made it more expensive than any other state in the country.

$8 a pound lettuce is brought to you expressly by these nice shiny titles.

Johnny cardamone January 5, 2023 at 9:50 am

Well, looks like the Dems have Connecticut wrapped up for better, or for worse😩👍🏼👎🏽🇺🇸🙏🏼

Michael McGuire January 5, 2023 at 10:06 am

I sure hope the Dems focus on the outrageous cost of electric we seem to suddenly (post-election) to be burdened with. Perhaps such vaunted leadership will go back and look at what created these high prices in the first place. I’ll lend a hand.

1. Terminating gas and nuclear power in CT for base load capacity (base load is the minimum you need at all times to ensure availability). Wind and solar are not sufficient enough to carry the base loads since they are intermittent.

2. Not putting up any resistance to NY restricting any new gas pipelines across NY land. This isolates New England from the natural gas producing areas of the US. Natual gas is so abundant in the US that they flare off the gas at the wells as a waste product since insufficient infrastructure (new gas pipelines thru NY) exists to utilize this gas. Sadly, we can get some of that waste product right about now.

3. Not allowing the big CT cities to restart the shuttered gas, nuclear and coal power plants which provided reliable and inexpensive base load power to see us through these tough times. The Dems have been shutting them down for the past decade plus.

Bottom line – CT Dems need to quarterback a comprehensive plan to transition us into “Green Power” in a manner that does not destroy our way of life. The current plan of relying on non-existent Green technologies is just not cutting it. Perhaps it will in the future, but we need a plan that works with today’s limitations.

But I’m not going to hold my breath. I don’t think the Dems are allowed to debate any Democratic edict proclaimed from on-high, no one down the line is allowed to question the wisdom of said edict without swift retribution. That is the Achillies heel of the Dems.

Michael Murray January 5, 2023 at 10:09 am

Bob Duff is a confirmed liar, as evidenced by videotape when he assumed a Norwalk Police Officer of spitting at him, when surveillance video clearly showed the officer spitting directly at the ground. There is also a video on-line showing Duff clearly ignoring traffic laws, making a left hand turn through an intersection when he had a red light. He has yet to apologize for either of these incidents.

John O'Neill January 5, 2023 at 10:39 am

So…A guy, who at the height of the Racial Tensions in 2020, put the Norwalk Police in danger for political points keeps advancing in Hartford. That tells me a few things:
1) Duff is a slick/smart politician — IF that’s what you’re into great, but please take all mirrors down in your home. You may not like what you see.
2) Duff’s acolytes know where their place is..It’s not the front seat by the way…
3) When you look at your Electric Bills (Remember A/C season is only 5 months away) think about people like Duff and their shared policies on Energy Generation in New England. These policies began long before Ukraine, you just weren’t told about it.
4) Lucy Dathan — Nice person but not sure she’s done anything to help her district. I would argue her policies have been a “Net” Negative to the 142nd District. Maybe she should should run in a Bridgeport District. Her “wins” are their wins. NOT the 142nd..

Bryan Meek January 6, 2023 at 9:24 am

@Mike. Sad thing is most aren’t even aware that a lot of our electricity is being generated in Canada by burning Russian oil, since our regulations prevent them from sourcing cheap, clean natural gas which can’t be shipped through NY. It’s absolutely insane.

Michael McGuire January 6, 2023 at 1:45 pm

I bet they come back with “I’m fighting for you”……”But I can’t actually do anything on this electricity issue”….”Because of Putin”…

Drew Todd January 7, 2023 at 9:44 am

Well, of course the reason Eversource and UI had to raise rates is because..Wait for it..The war in Ukraine! Yepp that playbook is being recycled for their stupidity so they can justify themselves like Do Nothing Duff and we need more pronouns Johnson then actually doing what they were elected too. But in the meantime that thug Zelinski is enjoying over $120 Billion and getting more of our money!

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