Memorable days and the Waffle King
WASHINGTON — We all bear witness to the history of our time in personal ways. For the greatest generation, it’s where were you on Dec. 7,
1941, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor? Or maybe it’s D-Day, the 75th anniversary of which fell on Thursday. For us aging Baby Boomers, it’s where were you the day JFK was assassinated?
And for virtually everyone over 30, it’s where were you on 9/11?
Connecticut has its own sub-species of this phenomenon: Where were you on Dec.
14, 2012, the day of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 20 children and six adult staff members?
U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes,
D-5th District, whose constituents include residents of Newtown, recalled that she had just been dismissed from jury duty and was driving through Waterbury when she heard the news. She immediately detoured to John F. Kennedy High School, where she was a social studies/history teacher.
She sensed her students would have a lot questions, a lot of emotions to sort through. She was right.
It’s a “memory I can’t shake,” she said Wednesday at a news conference on Capitol Hill to mark 100 days since the Democratic-controlled House passed its universal background check bill — with no comparable action in the Republicancontrolled Senate.
Hayes recalls one girl asking her, “Miss Hayes, why is this happening?”
And six years later in 2018 as Hayes was just getting started on her bid to represent Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District, the same girl — identified only as “Samantha” — contacted her in the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting.
“I want to work on your campaign because I still don’t understand what happened,” said Samantha, now a college student in New Orleans.
“For this one girl to ask me that same question six years apart, and for me still not to have an answer,” Hayes said. “For her to question ‘Why aren’t the adults doing anything?’ is a problem that we all have to face.”
Hayes, of course, voted for the background-check bill. She also voted for legislation that would extend the time for the FBI to complete a background check from three days to 10. The bill is aimed at closing the loophole through which Charleston, S.C. mass- shooter Dylann Roof bought a firearm despite a disqualifying record of drug possession.
Now it’s up to the Senate. Hayes’ plea likely fell on deaf ears, but that didn’t stop her from saying: “We don’t have to agree on everything, but to continue to do nothing is no longer acceptable.”
Who is the Waffle King?
We recently queried the two senators and three reps from the Western part of the state: What do you think of Gov. Ned Lamont’s toll proposal? It took them a while but at last the results are in.
Winner of the Franknessstein Monster Award: Sen. Chris Murphy.
“Governor Lamont is right to be advocating for using tolls as a stable, responsible source of funding to pay for transportation upgrades,” Murphy said. “If someone has a better idea to fix this problem for good, I’m all ears. But so far the governor’s idea seems to be the only serious one on the table.” So remember that when you’re on the highway of the future, and ... the lights above start blinking on your dashboard E-Z Pass
On the other side, the Waffle House Award goes to the usually blunt-spoken Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
“Once the General Assembly and the governor come to an agreement on how best to fund state transportation projects moving forward, I will work with state leaders in any manner necessary to further the goal of improving Connecticut’s infrastructure,” Blumenthal said.
Wait … what? Isn’t that precisely the problem? Lamont and Republicans in the Legislature are at loggerheads. So now is the time the step up to the plate and swing for the long ball. The score is tied, right? Why wait until the score is 10-2? Nothing clutch about that.
Reps. Jahana Hayes and Rosa DeLauro also occupy the safe middle, focused more on beefing up federal highway expenditures (even though the Highway Trust Fund is in deficit territory and Connecticut actually draws more from it than it chips in).
Rep. Jim Himes didn’t come out clearly for tolls either, but he did toss a grenade at Republicans who favor financing through bond issues, not tolls.
“I’m tired of politicians who talk about the importance of infrastructure but oppose measures to pay for it,” Himes said. “Even worse are those who propose borrowing to pay for it … As the argument over tolls demonstrates, this is not an easy conversation. But unless we’re honest and open minded, our country will continue to crumble.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Gov. Ned Lamont.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, 4th District.
U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-5th District, voted for the universal background check bill and legislation that would extend the time for the FBI to complete a background check from three days to 10.