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January 20, 2020
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Politics

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal Photo Credit: File
State Sen. Will Haskell Photo Credit: Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg Photo Credit: File

Around The Towns: CT Senators Bash Iran Attack, State Transit Hearing, Plan To Merge Colleges

On national television and at a Hartford news conference,  Connecticut’s two U.S. senators expressed concerns about the fallout from killing Iran’s top general, questioning whether President Donald Trump and his administration have a plan to protect Americans from reprisals.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said previous Democratic and Republican administrations also had opportunities to kill Gen. Qassem Soleimani but chose not to because his death might make him a martyr and make him more dangerous to the U.S.

“My guess is that the assassination of Soleimani will lead to greater harm to U.S. personnel, U.S. citizens and U.S. interests,” Murphy said during a briefing with reporters at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford with fellow Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

“The question moving forward is whether the administration has given any thought as to how to manage the fallout that comes from such a drastic action,” Murphy said. “I do not believe the administration has gamed out how very badly this could go for the U.S. and our interests.”

Both Murphy and Blumenthal, who agreed Soleimani has been a deadly enemy of the U.S. for years, said it is imperative that the Trump administration meet with Congress immediately and explain why it took this action to protect Americans abroad and how it plans to protect the nation and its interests from any deadly response from Iran and its proxies.

Both senators also agree the administration needs authorization for future military action.

“The concern I have now is American security, the safety of Americans in the region and around the world, men and women in uniform, our diplomats and ordinary citizens. And I’m concerned as well about the security of our nation here at home,” said Blumenthal, a member of Senate Armed Services Committee, which he said should hold a hearing immediately on the attack.

“I want to hear from the administration the strategy for protecting Americans abroad and at home, and equally important the straetgy involved in this assassination,” he said.

Transportation Town Hall

State Sen. Will Haskell, D-New Canaan, and state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-Westport. hosted a "transportation town hall" on Sunday, Jan. 12.

Gov. Ned Lamont, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk and state Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti also planned to attend the forum at Bedford Middle School, 88 North Ave., in Westport.

The town hall meeting is designed to inform the public about proposed plans to overhaul state transportation infrastructure.

“Improving our infrastructure is a top concern for my district," Haskell said in a news statement. "That’s why I’m so excited to host Governor Lamont and leaders from his administration to hear directly from my constituents at this town hall meeting.”

"I hope constituents of all political opinions will come to share their thoughts on how we should build faster trains and safer roads," Haskell said.

Merging Community Colleges?

A proposal to merge Connecticut's 12 community colleges into one school by 2023 is moving ahead.

Plans are still moving ahead to consolidate Connecticut’s 12 community colleges into a single accredited school by 2023, despite escalating resistance from faculty unions who question whether the complicated proposed merger will work or even makes sense.

A progress report on the plan is due in April. 

It will update how Connecticut’s current system of independently operated and accredited state-run community colleges—with individual presidents, curricula and administrations—will be consolidated into one accredited school with 12 campuses and three regional presidents.