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Deecken, GOP State Senate Candidate, Decries Tribal Gaming Monopoly Against Bridgeport’s Interests

May 10th, 2018 · 51 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, Development and Zoning, News and Events, State Politics

Rich Deecken

Richard Deecken

Gaming monopolies are bad for taxpayers. It’s impossible for taxpayers to get the best deal without a competitive process showing all the financial cards. That’s the message from Richard Deecken, Republican candidate for State Senate in Connecticut’s 22nd District challenging incumbent Democrat Marilyn Moore. Deecken issued a response to the State Senate not taking up the bill for an open, competitive process, declaring “It’s time that the residents of District 22 have a State Senator willing to fight for their interests and not back down to other legislators looking to protect the interests of Hartford and the tribal casinos.”

Last year Moore supported a tribal casino in East Windsor in response to MGM’s $1 billion Springfield, Massachusetts destination scheduled to open this summer. Members of Bridgeport’s eight-member legislative delegation say privately while Moore would have voted for the competitive gaming bill, her support was lukewarm while the other senator who represents Bridgeport Ed Gomes weighed in heavily for the the MGM proposal for Bridgeport, a $675 million waterfront destination for the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area that calls for 7,000 jobs and annual tax payments to the city of more than $20 million. MGM says it will bring back its proposal next legislative session in January.

legislative delegation

Members of city’s legislative delegation meet with MGM officials on Tuesday. Senator Gomes attended. Senator Moore did not attend.

The bill, through efforts of a majority of Bridgeport’s legislative delegation, passed the State House last week, but was thwarted by legislators who support the state’s gaming monopoly with the tribal nations.

Deecken, without mentioning Moore by name, notes “What was the purpose of Bridgeport’s legislative delegation approving the East Windsor casino in 2017, if eastern Connecticut and Hartford senators were completely unwilling to have a debate and a vote on a competitive process for casino gaming in 2018.”

With tribal slot payments to the state dwindling, the proposed bill simply called for a competitive process examining the full financial impact for the state. The tribal nation greed for controlling everything gaming related in the state has worn thin with some legislators who want to open up the process, arguing the monopoly deal signed 25 years is now a terrible deal for the state leaving hundreds of millions of revenue on the table games.

From Deecken news release:

Deecken stated, “Eastern Connecticut and Hartford senators have had a successful 2018 legislative session: from bailing out the City of Hartford and successfully lobbying for millions in corporate tax abatements for Electric Boat in Groton, to successfully maintaining the tribal gaming monopoly in eastern Connecticut and East Windsor. Following the news that there would not be a debate or vote on HB 5305, the competitive casino gaming bill that recently passed in the House of Representatives, it has sadly become quite clear how irrelevant Bridgeport has become in the General Assembly.”

“Our current system of regional protectionism of a gaming monopoly, especially over casino gaming in East Windsor, Montville, or Ledyard, imposes economic barriers in the form of reduced competition. The state government should not be picking winners and losers, thereby restricting the potential of the state economy as a whole. Protectionism does not work, and will only obstruct the long-term growth of our local business potential. Regardless of whether a casino is approved in Bridgeport, competition from neighboring states will never disappear.”

Deecken continued, “As a Bridgeport public school teacher, I have devoted my professional career to preparing the next generation of Connecticut’s workforce for success. But when the efforts of educators are undermined by a fundamental lack of support for the state’s largest city, including blocking the bill that would allow Bridgeport to compete for commercial opportunities and jobs, it demonstrates a lack of understanding of how our state must stay united to move forward. If Bridgeport succeeds, Connecticut succeeds.”

“What was the purpose of Bridgeport’s legislative delegation approving the East Windsor casino in 2017, if eastern Connecticut and Hartford senators were completely unwilling to have a debate and a vote on a competitive process for casino gaming in 2018?

“When Hartford needed a bailout, they got it with help from Bridgeport.

“When Eastern Connecticut tribal casinos and legislators wanted a casino in greater Hartford, they got it with help from Bridgeport.

“Yet, rather than permitting a fair and open process and allowing equal opportunity for gaming throughout the state, eastern Connecticut and Hartford rejected free enterprise out of fear that their personal interests would be threatened.”

Deecken concluded, “This bill would not have automatically approved a casino in Bridgeport; rather, this legislation was created to establish a new process for competitive casino gaming going forward, with any specific gaming proposal still needing approval from the General Assembly. In addition, Attorney General Jepsen authored an opinion that the legislation would not jeopardize the existing revenue sharing agreement with the tribal nations.

“However, eastern Connecticut and Hartford senators were unwilling to even have the debate and call a vote, and Bridgeport could do nothing. Given all these factors, I ask: what is the harm in exploring the gaming market elsewhere in Connecticut? Why were Bridgeport’s senators unwilling or unable to muster the support in the Senate to bring this bill to a vote? When the time to stand and fight for Bridgeport came calling, why did they instead sit on their hands and remove themselves from the equation?

“It’s time that the residents of District 22 have a State Senator willing to fight for their interests and not back down to other legislators looking to protect the interests of Hartford and the tribal casinos.”

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51 Comments so far ↓

  • Local Eyes

    I like his Bridgeport First attitude.
    Democrats for Richard Deecken is a new strand within the electorate.
    He’s already serving Bridgeport students. In November, your vote will let him serve the whole city as its new state senator.

    • Local Eyes

      Whole city should be whole district. (gulp) I’m not too bright.

    • Marshall Marcus

      @LOcal
      The Senator for the 22nd District should not be Bridgeport First, the 22nd is made up of part of Bridgeport, ALL of Trumbull and a small part of Monroe. The Senator representing the 22nd District should be District first.
      The 22nd District is NOT only in Bridgeport.
      In fact this year the Democratic Convention to nominate the candidate for the 22nd will NOT take place in Bridgeport, it will be held in Trumbull. Disclosure, I am a delegate.

  • Jimfox

    Maybe Moore is pandering to the anti Casino group again?

  • Joe McLaine

    “Looks like Cathy Osten is the Eastern Connecticut Senator. Who is Senator Osten and why does she have so much power over Bridgeport?”

  • In The City

    It is about time for a change in the 22nd District. I think Mr. Deecken has a great platform here. Everyone that knows Senator Moore, knows she just goes to meetings to listen. She was not for the casino, and from what I think, secretly she is still against a casino. Coming from a Dem, I am willing to listen to what Mr. Deecken has to say.

    • Zena Lu

      Hmm. “In The City” as a handle, sounds to me, and aI am nobody, like a person who lives in the Suburbs trying to relate. Could be wrong…

      • In The City

        Bridgeport born and raised and still reside.

        • John Marshall Lee

          But perhaps employed by the City so that an infrequent contributor plus Lenny allows use of handle for originals but not more recent posters?
          By the way I love the idea that someone is listening and then connecting? When you consider who has been elected to office in Bridgeport and has failed to listen to constituents, taxpayers, parents of school age kids, etc. you begin to understand the group who fail to vote because they believe it does no good.
          As you begin to be informed on some big issues facing representatives with full information but still lots of hype, I personally respect those who can resist the push and pull, seek the core of the idea, understand the risks that are not raised in public, and are able to keep their head, while many about them are losing theirs.
          Think of the POLICE OVERTIME PENSION FUNDING: WHAT DID IT COST? WHEN DID YOU LEARN ABOUT $200 MILLION OR MORE? WHY DID THE FISCAL SOLUTION NEVER GET PUBLICIZED DURING THE FINCH DAYS? Only part of the story was told and no one goes to jail for that, or do they? Time will tell.

  • Marshall Marcus

    Richard Deecken is already collecting a government salary poaid for by the taxpayers. I am against any individual collecting multiple government salaries at the same time.
    He’s a great teacher and a fine member of Trumbull Planning and Zoning Board. BUT, the cash strapped Bridgeport BOE would have to give Deecken release time to attend to legislative business in Hartford. His students would suffer and expense of a substitute teacher be added to the cost.
    It’s noce that he agreed to take one for the team this year. Hammers got hammered in 2016 and Deecken will be defeated in 2018

    • Steven Auerbach

      Marshall Marcus to discriminate an individual because of a career choice is absurd. Andre Ayala was a Teacher and still is. As an elected official he was given the time required and he did a fine job. Mr. Deecken is an excellent teacher. Lets punish him for that. let’s elect people that don’t have to work. The fact that Mr. Deecken also serves his community as a “fine member of the planning and zoning committee”. I am a staunch Democrat but this gentlemen is a fine candidate and I suppose if can get his message out there, my State Senator will have to defend her record. I am sure she will. I think Mr. Deecken is one of the better candates the Republican Party has put up in years as well as David Walker. If I were to vote Republican, These are 2 fine candidates.

    • Local Eyes

      Your ability to predict the future is unproven.
      In regard to politics, all legislators face the same problem. The candidate’s situation is not unusual. Your post is indicative of your trepidation.
      He doesn’t want to double dip, he wants to serve twice.

  • Marshall Marcus

    sorry for the typos..using my phone not computer

    • Jimfox

      Marshall Marcus, put an egg in your shoe and beat it!

      • Marshall Marcus

        @Jimfox……………..
        I live in D22. ALL of Trumbull is in D22. You can’t say that about Bridgeport. Maybe you live outside the district and should beat it.

        Trumbull is represented in Hartford by 4 legislators, Senator Moore and 3 right wing, conservative Republicans who are out of touch with reality and enemies of working people.

        I’ll not be voting for Deecken, based on party platform, his years as an elected official in the despicable Herbst Administration and my opinion that Senator Moore has done an effective job for the past two terms. It is not her job to grab money for Bridgeport at the expense of the rest of her district.

    • Local Eyes

      If you like what Richard Deecken is doing, you call it civic pride and “style”, if you don’t, you’ll sound like lousy comedian doing Marshall Marcus imitations.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Sounds like a candidate who’s pragmatic (about issues beyond his own political agenda) and not afraid to think — something very rare in these parts…

    Keep talking, Mr. Deecken… There’s a lot more to say about the needs of the 22nd District as applies to Bridgeport and the district as a whole, but you’re off to a good start.

    Keep talking. People are listening…

    (Mr. Marcus: Would you really restrict a public school teacher from taking part in the political process? What if that teacher wanted to join the National Guard — with its yearly training periods and possible lengthy deployments? That would be OK for a teacher, but political service wouldn’t?!)

    • Marshall Marcus

      @Jeff Kohut
      I generally object to people drawing multiple taxpayer funded salaries.
      National Guard, unless called up and deployed usually has weekend and night training and a few weeks duty in the summer when school is not in session. This is not the same as a state legislator who may spend months each year in Hartford.
      A National Guardsman/woman deployed for a lengthy period is not usually receiving a salary for their full time job which the government requires their employer to pay.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Marshall, I would love for you to take that argument on the road. As a substitute teacher you would be the recipient of a long term opportunity. I respect your personal opinion about getting a double salary from the Gov’t. Seriously? The man wants to serve. I agree with local eyes, He wants to serve twice. Being from Trumbull and working in the Bridgeport School system he may very well be a very electable candidate. I wouldn’t hold my breath in a very Democratic city like Bridgeport, but Moore has become vulnerable in Bridgepor t with the results in the past election. Mr. Deecken as a Public School Teacher may just find an ally in Maria Pereira. Stranger things have happened. I can only say as a Democrat and a delegate I have not heard from Marilyn Moore asking for my support. Though, admittedly it is possible as I have been receiving incessant phone calls from every politician out there. I always appreciate every candidate willing to run for public office and I try not to concern myself with their livlihood over their qualifications and what they bring to the table. Anyone that has Bridgeport’s best interest at heart has my ear.

        BTW- Tuesday May 22,2018 at 6:15 pm Testo’s Restaurant. Nominations . Democratic Town Committee Meeting.

        • Marshall Marcus

          Steve
          Marilyn’s campaign doesn’t kick off until after the nominating convention for the 22nd. I’m a delegate to various nominating conventions and have only had call from candidates in contested races. Moore is the only declared candidate for the 22nd.
          It’s not like last the last election when she demolished Tom McCarthy in the primary.
          Maybe Rich needs a ticket out of Bassick, did you read the story in the CT Post about the two students seeking Protective orders in Superior Court because the school can’t keep them safe?

    • Ron Mackey

      Jeff, seeing that you are always criticizing the so call Gold Coast well let’s hear your position on:
      By Brian Hallenbeck Day staff writer

      Republican Reps. Kathleen McCarty of Waterford, Mike France of Ledyard and Holly Cheeseman of East Lyme say they, along with other southeastern Connecticut lawmakers, have written to their Senate colleagues, urging them to vote against the House-approved bill. They say the measure jeopardizes existing casino jobs as well as the revenue the state derives from the casinos and puts at risk the financing necessary to complete construction of the East Windsor casino.

  • Zena Lu

    Just saying. Who could it be?

  • Tom White

    I am a delegate. I am not impressed with his statement. He is the only candidate. Oh well.

  • Ron Mackey

    Richard Deecken, you asked,”When Hartford needed a bailout, they got it with help from Bridgeport. (So what would you have done.)

    Then you asked, “When Eastern Connecticut tribal casinos and legislators wanted a casino in greater Hartford, they got it with help from Bridgeport.” (So what would you have done.)

    It’s real easy to throw stones but where are your public comments when all of this was happening?

  • charlie

    I hope you maintain the same attitude if elected. Those tribes are bribing the professional politicians for too long. They also have the arrogance of telling the state that if sports betting becomes legal they have the right to it,NOT

  • Donald Day

    Mackey, Rich and those that hide behind anonymity know full well that Senator Moore supported the trial casino prior to Bridgeport expressing the desire for one and much before MGM expressed their desire to build in Bridgeport. This fly by night new to the game individual offers nothing but criticism for the state legislature and for a lady that has done nothing but fight for her constituents, while never exploring solutions. Once he loses you’ll never hear from him again. There is one silver cloud, you have a sycophant that supports him that has never been correct in picking a winner.

    • Jimfox

      DD, Stevie A. ..?

      • Donald Day

        Jimfox, you already know. I’ll stop you when you’re wrong.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Hey Jim Fox and DD- To be clear I am a Democrat- to be clearer to the both of you regarding Marilyn Moore and myself. I supported Moore when she won the primary against What ever his name was. I wore my bright red sweatshirt and stood alone in front of Winthrop school for 8 hours. I never got a thank you- that’s ok. Mary Jane Foster never thanked me either for my time- wasted time supporting her. One of the biggest mistakes. Never gain is my support transferrable. One of the very few if any Finch supporters that gave her countless hours and wasted energy. I was the only person after Fosters concession speech that had the common decency to congratulate Ganim and all his supporters at Testo’s. Not an easy room to walk into. As for Moore. She hasn’t asked for my support but I do not see any reason not to support her until she and her opponent have a debate.

        BTW- Kudos to Marilyn Moore as well as our council for addressing WPCA. I will say this . I do not care about who is the collector for the city – John Doe or J. Epstein. I will say if I were hiring debt collector, I would hire an individual that gets results. Perhaps the aggressiveness was harsh and certainly created grief for many and I am glad that was addressed. As for Moore and Deecken, Thank you both for running. It takes a leader to put themselves out there as opposed to back seat drivers that only criticize and never find a redeeming quality. I know both candidates and it seems the people will have a choice. Too bad 3 of Moore’s staunchest supporters live in the wrong district or the wrong city. Moore is my Senator, I am a delegate and she will have my vote though she doesn’t need it since there will not be a challenge.

        • Steven Auerbach

          Btw- It is Lunch and the New Park City Lunch Truck at the top of the steps by Cabaret is the choice. Twin Lobsters tonight at Vazzy’s supporting the restaurant of our Barnum Festival Ringmaster. BTW the Funchel Buffet next door to the Holiday Inn is excellent 2nd only to Pantanel and Terra Brasilis.

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            You haven’t stopped in to my open mic, Stevie. They serve humble pie, perfect for the opinionated cowardly gasbag that hides behind the ‘Net. No worries. I’ll be at the OIB anniversary shindig. I’ll spoon feed it to you.

          • Steven Auerbach

            Thanks kid, I will not be attending!

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            What’s a matter, Stevie? Too much of a chicken to face the people you insult on this blog?

  • Bob Walsh

    Talk is cheap. Why doesn’t this coward attack the Republican leadership and the Fairfield County Republicans who made sure that the bill died.
    The Gold Coast Republicans would rather Bridgeport dies a slow death than to even allow a vote to consider an open process.
    That says it all.

  • Bob Walsh

    This guy talks a big talk but when push comes to shove he will be down with the Gold Coast and up on the Republicans.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Lennie: Would you run the vote roll-call of the GA House as well as the positions of the Senate members involved in the successful, last-minute effort to abort a Senate vote on the Bridgeport Casino Bill? I think that it would be useful for OIB readers to know at this point how the Bridgeport casino issue is playing out by region… (We can make a good educated guess, but it would be useful to have the actual positions of the legislators from each region…) What was Governor Malloy’s official position on signing a bill if were to have passed the GA?…

    • Ron Mackey

      Jeff, seeing that you are always criticizing the so call Gold Coast well let’s hear your position on:

      By Brian Hallenbeck Day staff writer

      Republican Reps. Kathleen McCarty of Waterford, Mike France of Ledyard and Holly Cheeseman of East Lyme say they, along with other southeastern Connecticut lawmakers, have written to their Senate colleagues, urging them to vote against the House-approved bill. They say the measure jeopardizes existing casino jobs as well as the revenue the state derives from the casinos and puts at risk the financing necessary to complete construction of the East Windsor casino.

  • Local Eyes

    Jeff Kohut is right. The Gold Coast does not want a casino in Bridgeport. MGM will pay for it all but the Indians have an exclusive contract that will be tough to beat. Compromise is possible but Bridgeport has lousy position due to legal and political realities.
    It doesn’t matter what Bridgeport wants, it’s what the Indians have that counts.
    What determines the outcome is called politics.

  • Local Eyes

    Despite his status with the bar, it would be within the Mayor’s executive authority to order The City’s legal team to execute a legal strategy that would improve the casino’s chances.
    I’m talking about something borderline brilliant of the Mayor’s making. A lawyer-without-license working through his staff would make a great story.
    This is a case that would prove his legal firepower and prepare him for his next campaign. Bonus: he doesn’t have to wait to make news.

  • Local Eyes

    Back to today’s topic:

    Connecticut has a lot of problems but the political ones will improve if we elect Richard Deecken as our new State Senator.

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