Biography

Kevin Rennie of South Windsor is a lawyer and a former Republican state senator and representative.

Kevin Rennie

Kevin Rennie

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Privilege, Secrecy Mark CT's Education Insiders

Privilege, Secrecy Mark CT's Education Insiders

August 22, 2014

The start of a school year wafts in on a cloud of optimism and high hopes. You know something important is happening when the state relaxes its sales tax so new clothes are a trifle less expensive. Backpacks fly off the shelves. Reading lists and game schedules appear. So much promise awaits. It makes me miss being a student, even if I did stretch that as long as I could with three years of law school after college.

  • A Race Between Two Darth Vaders

    August 14, 2014

    Take cover. The shelling in the race for governor began in the immediate aftermath of Republican Tom Foley's Tuesday primary win. Democratic incumbent Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Foley are in a contest to see which can make his opponent the most unpalatable to Connecticut voters.

  • DCF Chief Joette Katz Must Be Fired Over Child Deaths

    August 8, 2014

    Sarah Eagan, the state's child advocate, released her long-awaited report on 2013 child fatalities. It includes this chilling conclusion: "2013 was an unprecedented year for infant and toddler homicide." The 34-page report highlights fatal failures of the Department of Children and Families that are condemning some babies to death.

  • Lt. Governor Pick Could Make Or Break Republican Ticket

    August 1, 2014

    Either Thomas Foley or John McKinney, Republican candidates for governor competing in the Aug. 12 party primary, would enter the fall campaign against incumbent Democrat Dannel P. Malloy with a strong chance of victory. Republican primary voters could endanger their candidate's prospects in November if they saddle him with state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, R-Stafford, as his running mate for lieutenant governor.

  • Kidnapping, Rockets Bring Selective Outrage

    July 24, 2014

    The tweets of the famous have failed to free more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian school girls from the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram. It's going to take more than pictures of forlorn sympathizers posted on the Internet to rescue those mostly Christian girls.

  • Airwaves Fill With Candidates' Toxic Claims

    July 17, 2014

    It has begun. Swords are unsheathed and unflattering comments fill the air. Expect 15 weeks of recriminations between now and November, with the Republicans practicing on each other for next three weeks.

  • Children Crossing Border Are Here To Stay

    July 10, 2014

    Children crossing the United States border with Mexico are teaching us a lesson in the power of the human spirit. A nation must be able to control its borders, but ours with Mexico is 2,000 miles long. It will always be porous. The Berlin Wall was about 100 miles long and required an army to keep East Germans from escaping communism to freedom in West Berlin.

  • Founders Left Lesson For Evasive Politicians

    July 3, 2014

    If you have not already this holiday weekend, take a few minutes to read the Declaration of Independence that those brave delegates to the Second Continental Congress adopted on pain of death 238 years ago. Its stirring opening, "When in the course of human events," rings through the ages.

  • City Officials Get Stadium Perk — A Skybox

    June 18, 2014

    It's the luxury box.

  • Primary Gives Hartford Residents A Vote On Stadium

    June 12, 2014

    Thanks to state Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Bloomfield, many Hartford voters get to participate in an August referendum on city leaders' secretly hatched plan to spend $60 million on a minor league baseball stadium. Coleman, seeking re-election as a primary challenger, opposes the misbegotten proposal. His opponent, party-endorsed Hartford city council leader Shawn Wooden, supports it.

  • Children's Deaths Demand Greater Scrutiny

    June 6, 2014

    The fatalities of children with a connection to the Department of Children and Families are occurring at a frightening rate. The facts surrounding these tragedies remain shrouded in secrecy. The Office of the Child Advocate announced last week that, between Jan. 1 and May 31, nine children died whose families were involved with DCF and whose deaths merit further review by the child advocate.

  • Public Financing Race Consumes Candidates

    May 30, 2014

    Connecticut's expensive public financing of election campaigns was intended to take the emphasis off money in politics. A candidate would raise a modest amount of money in small contributions of no more than $100 each and then dive into the honey pot of taxpayer funds. Instead, the system has kept money at the center of campaign calculations.

  • Bacchiochi's False Accusation Will Haunt Her — And Foley

    May 22, 2014

    The one thing it was not was a "misunderstanding."

  • Children's Deaths Reveal DCF Shortcomings

    May 16, 2014

    The April deaths of 2-month-old Adore Daniels and 5-month-old Bradly Davis White are fading from the news, and they should not. The Department of Children and Families failed those two children, and their deaths must prompt action by state officials and others.

  • Malloy Finds Revenue In Land Of Pretend

    May 8, 2014

    The age of the Connecticut state employee suggestion box has ended. That was the notorious device Gov. Dannel P. Malloy used to balance a nearly $200 million gap budget gap in 2011. No one ever explained what the valuable suggestions were.

  • Malloy Forced To Shift From Rebate To Reality

    May 2, 2014

    The end of the legislative session has featured an unusual amount of gear-shifting by the state's leading policy-makers. The most notable came last week when reality forced Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to abandon his $55-a-person income tax refund under pressure from falling tax receipts that accompany a stagnant state economy.

  • College Conservative Voices Nearly Extinct

    April 25, 2014

    Eastern Connecticut State University adjunct professor Brent Terry got caught saying what he thinks Monday, when an anonymous student recorded the creative writing teacher's rantings. Terry is a paranoid left-winger who used his classroom to spew his fury at the prospect of Republican victories in this year's congressional elections.

  • Williams Flunks Test For College Presidency

    April 17, 2014

    There's been some confusion at Quinebaug Valley Community College, in the Danielson section of rural Killingly. Like every community college, the school's curriculum includes many job training programs. The problem here is that state Senate leader Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, mistook the presidency of the college for a job training program.

  • Shabazz Scores One For The Players

    April 11, 2014

    Look elsewhere in this newspaper for expert analysis of University of Connecticut basketball star Shabazz Napier's remarkable skill on the court. I hail him for his candor and willingness to speak truth to power last week as he declaimed on the conditions imposed on student athletes.

  • Tangled Deceit Will Cost Rowland — Again

    April 4, 2014

    Nursing home magnates Brian Foley and Lisa Wilson-Foley caught a nasty case of affluenza in politics. The wealthy couple spread some of their fortune around in places it shouldn't have gone. That brought them to a federal courtroom last week to plead guilty to conspiring with disgraced former Gov. John G. Rowland to violate federal campaign finance laws during Wilson-Foley's failed 2012 congressional bid for the open 5th District Congressional seat.

  • A Kennedy Stirs Connecticut's Politics

    March 28, 2014

    State Sen. Ed Meyer, D-Guilford, will not seek a sixth term in November. He has been a brave soldier in the endless battle to protect the public's right to know what its government is doing. This is harder duty than most people think. Those invested with public authority in Connecticut are always looking for ways to douse the spotlight on what they do your name.

  • Connecticut's Numbers Tell Gloomy Tales

    March 21, 2014

    College basketball brings weeks of numbers to popular culture. Tournament seeds, scores and predictions are everywhere. (Mine? Florida defeats Louisville, 69-65.) While you're in the spirit, let's look at some Connecticut numbers.

  • Republicans Must Rebuke Martha Dean

    March 14, 2014

    There is madness abroad in the land. Martha Dean is running for the Republican nomination for governor. Dean is the doyenne of guns who, in January 2013, signaled her agreement with an insane theory that the Sandy Hook slaughter of 20 children and six adults was a fictitious production aimed at boosting the advocates of stricter gun laws.

  • A Teacher's Impact Beyond Measure

    February 28, 2014

    Miss Harding. Two words that could undermine the confidence of a couple of generations of students.

  • FBI Agents Turning Screws On CT Legislators

    February 20, 2014

    Federal criminal investigators returned Wednesday to their stomping grounds, the Legislative Office Building in the state Capitol complex. Agents were in search of information about ties among some Republican legislators, a staffer and a Florida printing company that produces gazillions of copies of post cards and assorted brochures for candidates, many of whom use public funds to finance their political campaigns.

  • Feds Circling — Rowland Feels Heat Rise

    February 14, 2014

    John Rowland again.

  • Malloy Shifts Into Full-On Makeup Mode

    February 7, 2014

    State leaders said weather delayed the opening of the year's legislative session from Wednesday to Thursday. I'm not so sure. Democrat and Working Families Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was still serving the detention imposed on him by the state's public school teachers.

  • Connections Smooth O'Garro's Cash Collection

    January 30, 2014

    Some lethal emails revealed by The Courant last week interrupted the genial flow expected in the week ahead. Trouble grows in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's promiscuous grant-and-loan business.

  • Republican Governor Candidates Building Their Bases

    January 24, 2014

    The race for the Republican nomination for governor is an odd and complex affair. The candidates are campaigning around the state seeking support from the 1,200 people they expect to be delegates at the May nominating convention at the Mohegan Sun casino.

  • DCF Problems Merit Governor's Attention

    January 17, 2014

    Brace yourself. The state's Child Fatality Review Panel will issue a report next month that reveals deadly failures at the Department of Children and Families in protecting a Danbury child who was killed at the end of September. The child's father has been charged with first-degree manslaughter.

  • Christie's Presidential Hopes Finished

    January 9, 2014

    The George Washington Bridge claimed a casualty Wednesday. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political ambitions were killed by a lethal stew of texts, emails and orange cones. You don't see that very often.

  • No Holiday Peace For Politicians

    January 3, 2014

    The state's two major political parties engaged in spitball by press release through the holiday season. It will grow barbarous as the year advances. Partisans will become sensitive about the tone and substance of the exchanges as they grow more fierce. Reasonable people will recoil at the ones that offend our sense of fair play.

  • Bits Of Stuff, In Homage To Larry King

    December 26, 2013

    When the great Larry King would poll his late-night radio audience on Why Are You Up night, I was among his largest demographic, law school students. He remains a distinctive host and interviewer. King's also a fine guest, as he reminded fans of the irrepressible Norm Macdonald's podcast last summer.

  • Unrest, Violence Mar Peaceful Season

    December 20, 2013

    You'll be hearing and maybe warbling about sleeping in heavenly peace in the next few days. There is little peace in the corner of the world where Christendom looks to every December to mark the birth of Christ two thousand years ago. It's a bleak time for Christians in the Middle East.

  • Recalling A Hot Tub On A Trail Of Corruption

    December 13, 2013

    We can't remind ourselves too often of what the powerful will do to sustain themselves in office when caught abusing their public trust. We mark the 10th anniversary of a remarkable saga in Connecticut politics. A decade ago last week, former Gov. John G. Rowland issued a groveling, convoluted apology for his many greedy transgressions, extracting valuable services from cronies and contractors.

  • NU Fundraising Email Reveals Ugly Politics

    December 6, 2013

    Northeast Utilities Chairman, President and CEO Thomas May, a Massachusetts resident, is a successful executive with appalling instincts who made an ugly assault on decency in September. The wealthy executive used the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre as a fundraising tool for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut's Democratic Party organization.

  • An Embarrassing Sandy Hook Report

    December 1, 2013

    Some high-ranking state officials continue to plunder their credibility in their quest to shut the public out of the people's business. The assault on the public's sensibilities reached a Captain Queeg-like level of madness with the release of Danbury State's Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III's investigation of the slaughter of 20 first-graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last Dec. 14.

  • Kennedy Guided U.S. Through Tough Times

    November 15, 2013

    We might not be here with the mists of myths and hectoring of conspiracy theorists — all marking the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination — if he had not insisted on caution during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.

  • Private Emails Hide Work Of Malloy's Administration

    November 8, 2013

    The Malloy administration has created a far-flung network of private email accounts to conduct the public's business.

  • Feds Interested In 'Business As Usual'

    November 1, 2013

    While most people were donning frightful masks last week to mark Halloween, state Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo slipped — revealing her ugly philosophy of politics.

  • Malloy Fund-Raising Machine In High Gear

    October 25, 2013

    If you are a lobbyist or the client of one, watch for a consumer alert warning of a political fundraising shakedown. You may get squeezed for as much as $100,000. The squeezer is one-time campaign finance reformer Democratic and Working Families Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

  • Police Report Fatally Taints Foley Ambition

    October 18, 2013

    Republican Tom Foley has been conniving to keep a damaging secret for years. The release at any time in the past decade of a 1981 police report account of a chilling summer night on Long Island that tells a tale of an alleged assault with a motor vehicle driven by Foley would have snuffed out the Greenwich businessman's political ambitions.

  • Who's Got Hartford's Missing $669,997?

    October 10, 2013

    Nine students from High School Inc., Hartford's Insurance and Finance Academy, traveled to New York on Sept. 18 to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange — a reward for having the highest scores on Connecticut Academic Performance Test. Congratulations to them and their teachers and parents.

  • Politicians Well-Served Going Door-To-Door

    October 4, 2013

    The autumn of an odd-numbered year in Connecticut provides a vast classroom for politicians at every level. Municipal election campaigns are in season in most communities and local candidates are seeking the attention of the state's most engaged voters.

  • Governor's Pal Weds At Mansion

    September 27, 2013

    Governor uses official residence for wedding of state contractor and political crony.

  • Foley Steers Campaign Onto The Rocks

    September 19, 2013

    They raised the Costa Concordia on Tuesday. The 114,000-ton, 900-foot-long cruise ship had been on its side off the coast of Italy since January 2012, wrecked by a blundering captain who let the ship go off course and into submerged rocks. His name was not Tom Foley, but the similarities are striking.

  • Nora Dannehy Brought Down The Crooks

    September 13, 2013

    Fifteen years ago, corrupt officials at the highest levels of state government were perverting their public trust for personal gain. That dark time, however, coincided with a golden age of federal corruption in Connecticut. Felons and the just did battle; rectitude prevailed. Thank Nora Dannehy.

  • Republican Hopefuls Will Jostle For Contributions, Legitimacy

    September 6, 2013

    Four Republicans who have their eye on the 2014 race for governor are making their way to the starting gate. The next four months may narrow the field for the contenders who rely on taxpayer funds to finance of their campaigns.

  • Tighten Rules, End Sweetheart State Hiring

    August 23, 2013

    Courant readers have been paying close attention to my colleague Jon Lender's stories on state government officials hiring relatives for summer jobs in their departments. It's a dispiriting enough tale to have caught the attention of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

  • Harp's Missteps Hobble Bid For Mayoral Coronation

    August 15, 2013

    Some city mayoral candidates are tripping at the starting gate, embarrassed or defeated by simple tasks. The bumbles have brought one contest to an end and made two others more intriguing.

  • Political Intrigue While State Vacations

    August 9, 2013

    It's the beginning of August and while you enjoy the height of summer pleasure, government and politics roll along, providing an opportunity to review some old items and touch on some new ones.

  • Connecticut Spends $22 Million Luring Gun Seller

    August 2, 2013

    Newtown did not change everything in Connecticut public life. The slaughter of 26 innocents at the Sandy Hook School has not caused Democratic and Working Families Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to shed his expensive addiction to corporate welfare. Last week, Malloy's administration announced that it will provide at least $22 million to Bass Pro Shops for a 150,000-square-foot store in Bridgeport.

  • Prince George Is The Envy Of U.S. Royal Wannabes

    July 26, 2013

    The birth of a future British monarch to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge captured the attention of the world. That island nation continues to hold the copyright on all things royal. There were, as Slate pointed out, 367,000 other babies born on the same day as Prince George, but only he was the subject of news alerts around the world.

  • Who Knew What And When Certain To Emerge In UConn Scandal

    July 19, 2013

    University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst doesn't wear a miter, a chasuble and a pair of red shoes, but she may be starting to know what the last few popes have felt like. The first public stirrings of an appalling sex scandal at the state's largest public university are raising uncomfortable comparisons with the Roman Catholic Church and its troubles with dirty doings between the powerful and their prey.

  • State Struggles To Feed Hungry In Summer

    July 12, 2013

    Let's think about food. Not the food you eat, but the food others struggle to obtain. Congress continues to shape and debate a bill on food policy as it determines how it will allocate hundreds of billions of dollars to farmers and low-income consumers.

  • Murphy's Push To Strip Rights From Non-People Scary

    June 28, 2013

    Thursday brings our annual celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in that storied year, 1776. The defiant document was preceded by Americans commanded by George Washington chasing their British masters out of Boston and followed by a string of disasters that nearly ended the war in its first months.

  • Connecticut Leaves Businesses Vulnerable

    June 21, 2013

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a splash by arriving in Connecticut on the wings of an advertising blitz declaring the Lone Star State "Open for Business." Perry wants Connecticut businesses to move to Texas. There's nothing new in governors alighting in other states to try to take home some businesses with them. All governors do it: It's their records of success that vary.

  • Spying On Us, But Missing The Bombers?

    June 14, 2013

    Most Americans understand that in a hostile world, governments need to engage in some snooping to monitor and thwart our enemies. We know they need to crack codes and keep secrets. In exchange for handing the government that extraordinary power, we expect it to be exercised with prudence within a rubric of restraints on abuse.

  • Legislators Pass Budget Unfettered By Reality

    June 7, 2013

    Scientists have long agreed that the human brain has tripled in size over the fullness of time. Connecticut's General Assembly this year put that settled conclusion in doubt. The legislative session, which ended at midnight on Wednesday, suggests that in Hartford the march of progress on some fronts is in retreat.

  • State's Reputation For Openness Must Be Sore Spot

    May 31, 2013

    Some Connecticut leaders must be ashamed. That can be the only reason they continue to conspire to diminish the state's worldwide reputation as a leader in freedom of information laws. Year after year, friends of liberty look to Connecticut for instruction on how to build a system of access to government where none exists. At the same time, the law in Connecticut is under sustained attack from people who ought to be proud of the state's trailblazing heritage.

  • Influence Peddlers In Season At Legislature

    May 24, 2013

    Former Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan made a bizarre appearance at the federal courthouse in New Haven on Tuesday as a jury deliberated the fate Robert Braddock, the finance director of Donovan's disastrous 2012 congressional campaign. Donovan used the inappropriate opportunity to announce to the press that he never sold his vote in the campaign finance scandal that saw Braddock convicted later in the day.

  • House Leader Larry Cafero Fatally Tainted By Bribery Trial

    May 21, 2013

    The just completed federal criminal trial of Robert Braddock, a fundraiser for former Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan's unsuccessful 2012 congressional campaign, revealed corruption at the highest levels of the General Assembly. Law enforcement officials did their job, now politicians must act.

  • Obama's Really Bad Week Likely To Last Much Longer

    May 17, 2013

    A president, any president, is entering a trough when friends or detractors drag out creepy John Dean to offer an opinion on the scale of a scandal. The obstructor of justice from the Watergate scandal has been on display lately as a trifecta of controversies diminish the Obama administration.

  • No Wrongdoing Here, Just Some Distractions

    May 9, 2013

    You pay attention to the wrong things. That's what three politicians claimed when caught in betrayals of the public interest in the past two weeks. With no credible explanation for their bad acts, each branded their controversy a "distraction" as they wrote checks to try to make their foolish avarice fade from public view.

  • Privilege Penchant Still Dogging Katz

    May 3, 2013

    Please allow me to take a moment to begin this column with a few words of appreciation for sharp-eyed readers who add to my knowledge of a subject after I've written a column about it. Thank you also for helping to shine a light on some of the murkier corners of the people's business. Lately, I've seen an uptick in public-spirited readers who share a common dismay and nose for detecting the haughty sense of entitlement that infects some public officials. You are doing important work in your own way.

  • Health Center Bonus Veiled In Secrecy

    April 26, 2013

    "We collected the document at the end of our discussion so there were no copies floating around," reads a May 26, 2010, email from Mark Bonney, head of the board of directors of Community Health Center, to executive director Mark Masselli.

  • Consumer Advocate Took Handicapped Space

    April 19, 2013

    If you believe some dings and scratches on your car are indignities to avoid by flouting the law, you have something in common with the state's public utility consumer advocate, Elin Katz. If, however, you join the rest of us in honoring the reservation of certain parking spaces for people with disabilities, you will want to read this story that tells a tale of callous, grasping entitlement.

  • Mrs. Thatcher A Forceful Agent For Change

    April 12, 2013

    Margaret Thatcher's remarkable career teaches essential enduring lessons in freedom and the ordeal of change. They did not end with her death Monday at London's Ritz Hotel, a luxury departure lounge where since late last year she awaited for her trip to glory at age 87.

  • Katz Stored Sports Car In State Parking Spot

    April 5, 2013

    Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families Joette Katz's sense of entitlement reminds us that the taste for privilege appears in unexpected places.

  • Helping Poor Brings Health CEO Big Payday

    March 22, 2013

    There's money in poverty. Learning to work the system of government payments can mean lavish salaries under the guise of helping the poorest among us. Just ask Middletown-based Community Health Center Inc. CEO Mark Masselli, though he probably won't speak to you.

  • Short-Term Judges Win Pension Lottery

    March 8, 2013

    You are right to wonder why a hefty tax increase and claims to have gotten spending under control have not brought stable finances to state government. Sometimes a jarring example will help explain something as complex as Connecticut's troubled, growing budget.

  • Cafero, Ritter Dealings Benefit CRRA Officials

    March 1, 2013

    House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero and Democratic former Speaker of the House Thomas Ritter have blurred the lines between Cafero's public office and the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, a client of the law firm where they are partners.

  • Malloy Spends On As State Budget Burns

    February 8, 2013

    In the end, he decided to pretend. Politicians will do that, trumpet that something is different than we know it to be. It's not what we expect in so many large doses from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who revels in his reputation for rude candor. The state's finances continue to challenge and defeat his hopes.

  • Malloy Misses Chance To Lead, Set Tone

    January 11, 2013

    Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's state of the state address Wednesday began with notes of promise. It started with a meditation on the slaughter of innocents in Newtown last month. It would have been appropriate for the governor to devote his speech only to the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

  • Shooting Raises Vexing Mental Health Issues

    December 21, 2012

    Despair at the massacre of innocents at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown will spur action from political leaders. It will also remind us of our limitations.

  • Stunning Newton Comeback Yields Strange Bedfellows

    May 25, 2012

    Bridgeport continues to challenge Waterbury as the home of the most embarrassing and bewildering politics in Connecticut. Former state Sen. Ernie Newton did last week what few in Connecticut politics have achieved: He subdued bumptious Working Families and Democratic Gov.Dannel P. Malloy.

  • Speaker Donovan Juggles Unions, Fundraising

    February 19, 2012

    The General Assembly will strain to look productive during the three months of its regular session this year. By their own design, the Democrats who run the House and Senate will not be required to make difficult spending decisions. Last year they gave Democrat and Working Families Gov. Dannel P. Malloy the authority to make sweeping budget cuts if revenue, spending and employee benefit savings do not reach their targets.

  • Butler, Malloy Create Ongoing Storm

    November 6, 2011

    Connecticut Light & Power Company President Jeffrey Butler mumbled and mispronounced his way through one consistent message last week: This storm was worse than Irene in August. No matter the topic, day after day, the utility executive found ways to mention the late summer tropical storm.

  • Dodd's 'Cottage': A Cozy Purchase

    February 22, 2009

    Ireland does not easily give up its secrets. That may have been one attraction it held for Sen. Christopher Dodd in 1994 when he became an owner of a refuge on nearly 10 acres on the Irish west coast. The murky tale includes a felonious inside trader, a Kansas City businessman, a presidential pardon and what appears to be a financial bonanza to Dodd during the Irish property boom.

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