Himes: ‘Independent Voting Record’ And Barnes Wants Hennessy On Rocks

Congressman Jim Himes joins us for a Pol Pod chat. Himes won election in 2008 knocking off 20-year Republican incumbent Christopher Shays, backed by Barack’s Bridgeport tsunami, becoming the first Democrat in 40 years to occupy Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District, a swing election region that covers wealthy Republican suburbs as well as the state’s largest city.

Himes is well-financed as he faces reelection in November. Republican-endorsed Shelton State Senator and Bridgeport native Dan Debicella faces a multi-candidate primary in August.

Himes chatted about the legacy of the stimulus passage: stimulus remains controversial … as tough as it was we dodged a large bullet, he says.  He described the stuck-open Congress Street Bridge, its deconstruction a beneficiary of stimulus money, an appalling monument to urban decay.

On spending: we have accumulated massive amounts of debt and we must address that … now is the time to slow and reverse some of the spending.

On the future: move this country to cleaner, sustainable energy.

On education: it boils down to preparing our kids, two of the three Bridgeport high schools are failing to graduate half the kids walking in as freshmen.

On reelection: It’s going to be a tough election. “I have the single most independent voting record of any congressman in New England.”

Grab a cup of joe and listen: {running time: 8:56}

Barnes V. Hennessy

Bob Barnes, a retired jeweler, vocal critic of the party status quo, has qualified to run a Democratic primary against State Rep. Jack Hennessy who represents the city’s North End. Why is Barnes running?

It has to do with the foibles of Mr. Hennessy and his lack of representation to the constituents of the 127th District. He appears when it’s convenient or needs votes. Of course when he’s not doing that he’s playing solitaire. I meant to ask him how he did in the game.

Bridgeport has extraordinary economic engines that need upgrade. These include Sikorsky Airport, the harbor, Fairchild-Wheeler Golf Course, Veteran’s Park (and I’m a Vietnam Veteran Jul 66-Jul 67). All of these assets could generate millions more in money for Bridgeport, thus alleviating the 38 mil rate that the home owners are currently subjected to.

My intent is to get involved here. The airport needs to be recertified and rehabilitated to accept not only corporate jets, but the return of commercial aviation. I do have a plan for this and will share that plan with Ned Lamont, a true businessman like myself, who I believe will defeat Dan Malloy in the gubernatorial primary August 10th. The harbor needs to be dredged to accept ocean-going vessels. There is a distinct way of getting the money for Bridgeport via bonding that would pay Bridgeport back 10 fold. The golf course and, by extension, Veteran’s Park, needs physical rehabilitation to make it tournament quality to allow for a satellite tour event either from the Senior Men’s PGA Tour or the LPGA tour. There are connections here that would satisfy the labor aspect for such rehab. And, any rehabilitation to Fairchild-Wheeler would spill over to Veteran’s Park.

There are a myriad of other projects to get Bridgeport out of its economic doldrums, get people to work, but Jack Hennessy has no idea how to do this. His record in Hartford is lean, only attaching his name to a few hundred legislative bills without any real input, and voting a strict party line. I looked up his record and found nothing original or pro-Bridgeport. And then there’s the photo from August last year …

Barnes is referring to a photograph of Hennessy that captured the state rep playing a computer game during a long-winded legislative session last year. Hennessy apologized for the candid camera moment.

As the locally endorsed candidate Hennessy will appear on state party endorsed Dan Malloy’s gubernatorial line and Barnes on the line of Ned Lamont who has the support of most of the Bridgeport Democratic establishment. Defeating Hennessy will not be easy. He is an ally of State Rep. Chris Caruso who has yet to announce his preference for governor. Caruso will be campaigning actively for Hennessy.



  1. Well I spent 8-plus minutes listening to the interview with Congressman Himes and was duly unimpressed.
    Yes he got money to take down the Congress Street bridge so what have we got in its place? The same barriers are in place and we have a big gap in the roadway.
    The stimulus package has been an out-and-out disaster. Now I can’t place all of the blame on Himes for its failure. Where are the jobs? We still have an unemployment figure close to 10%.
    I have two kids who work construction and they are both out of work one for a year and the other for 6 months with very little chance of going back to work in the near future.
    We got money for 20 new police officers but if the union does not roll over and give back to the city we are going to lose 48 police officers due to layoffs.We spent a trillion dollars for Bupkus.
    Mr. Himes we are well aware of our problems in graduating only 32% of our freshman high school students what is your plan for this problem?

    1. Maybe TC will be attending the Gathering of The Vibes! Some sour notes but he’s not totally tone deaf. At least he said he can’t place all of the blame on Himes for the stimulus failure. I guess I can’t place all of the blame on TC and his DTC for all of Finch’s failures.

  2. What does TC think Dan Debicella or Rick Torres is going to do about jobs, education and the economy???
    They support the same BS that Bush did and got us into this mess to begin with!!!
    Dan, if he really has Bridgeport roots other than being born in a B-port hospital, he’s only now talking about his hometown because he needs their votes.

    1. Nothing. All these politician are full of it. I like the guy in South Carolina who won the primary for the US Senate. No money, no campaign staff, no rallies and a criminal record for obscenity; when he asked about how he got his message known he stated he just talked around a few people and they spread the word. Won with 60% of the vote.

    2. If you are wondering where Rick Torres stands on jobs, education and the economy you should go to Harbor View Market and ask him. Obviously everyone is “for job growth, education and rebuilding the economy,” the difference with Rick is he actually has SOLUTIONS to fix these problems.

  3. I drnk my Henny in a snifter with a Heiny. Barnes and Noble will be featuring Neil Diamond’s Solitary Man. Barnes is a jewel of a guy, but won’t turn back the Diamond in the Rough!

  4. I realize I am a newbie here, but I never seem to see anything written by Lennie about the Bpt BOE, the most corrupt and disgusting organization in America. Pry open the juicy stuff?

    Nothing more juicy than the BOE but it seems as though they are a sponsor of this blog as they go under the radar while most of the management should be behind bars.

    1. Bpt Teacher: Money talks and bullshit walks. Send Lennie an e-mail with what you know. If he doesn’t know it makes it hard to write about it.

  5. I am a teacher, one of many in the system, I can’t even get my room cleaned properly or get my smart board repaired. Noone cares.
    This forum prides itself on prying open the juicy stuff, let the person who coined the phrase do the job of investigating, there is plenty on the surface and more between the cracks.

    1. Teacher

      You aren’t alone.

      Money has been mismanaged so bad in BOE that nothin’ can get fixed. No OT unless you are one of the boyz.
      No one can get the jobs done ‘cuz the workforce been spread so thin. I used to have 30 custodians in my school when I was there now that school is down to 12. Nobody can buy parts now so nothin’ gonna get done in our schools. How do those guys work if they don’t buy stuff to fix things? People here are hopin’ Malloy wins so Barnes gone with him to Hartford.

  6. BPT Teacher sounds more like a custodian who’s afraid of losing their job!!!
    Where is the outrage with keeping Black Rock School open and closing Roosevelt? This is nothing but a racist policy hoping the parents of kids in Roosevelt will simply shut up and take whatever the Board of Ed is trying to shove down their throats. This is an outrage.
    This is the same BS the board originally proposed with setting aside almost the same amount of capital money for improvements to Black Rock School as they were proposing for a new Harding High School.
    If they throw Ramos out tomorrow they will still have waited too long!

  7. TC wants give-backs from the teachers union but he can understand why other city unions won’t. He simply doesn’t like teachers.
    The teachers are supposed to be negotiating a new contract at the same time the city is asking for givebacks. Ask the Police Union how that worked out.
    They will give the teachers whatever they want fully knowing there is no intention of fulfilling those obligations.

    1. Grin: It’s not that I don’t like teachers it’s the fact they did not give back last year when everyone else did.
      There is no accountability for their performance once they get tenure and that’s wrong. There is no incentive for the good teachers who get paid the same as bad teachers. Performance scores for Bridgeport schools for the most part are below normal. With a dropout rate of 60-plus percent the whole system is failing. Why do we reward failure?

  8. The Bridgeport Regional Business Council comes up with a plan to get rid of 20 janitors and leave the 100+ administrators making over $100K a year alone.
    This is just a continuation of Finch’s low-hanging fruit philosophy. And the shame of it all is the ones we will be getting rid of are probably Bridgeport residents and the ones we are keeping live in the ‘burbs.
    But the same can be said for the BRBC. Send them packing along with Ramos.
    As my friend the Grin Ripper says Vamos Ramos. Adios Ramos.

  9. Where is Mr BPT to tell us what he (John Gomes) is going to do about the school system? Speak up John, er, I mean Mr BPT and quit making baseless statements about how things would be different with Gomes in charge.

    1. Hey Reaper,

      You’re nothin’ but a negative loser.

      I’m not Gomes and I’m not even Cape Verdean.
      Go back to the lonely hole you crawled out of and I hope your computer blows up and you got nothin’ to do but play with yourself, loser.

      1. “… Go back to the lonely hole you crawled out of …”

        Isn’t that part of what the “Reaper” is supposed to do–crawl out of his hole?

  10. Not to mention that John Ramos favors closing Roosevelt because they are planning major renovations to the school. Hello John. Didn’t you know they (that’s you) are planning major renovations to Black Rock School???

  11. Roosevelt School is seriously non-performing and the building has received a huge school construction grant to address the very poor building conditions. I have heard the recent analysis points to building a whole new structure rather than trying to rehab those tired buildings that have far exceeded their useful life. New Haven used the opportunity of school construction to reorganize the configuration of teachers that would be assigned when some of their schools reopened. Currently the construction bids are coming in way below the construction estimates. Therefore they need to design and get that school out to bid on the fast track. When it reopens the children will have a great learning environment and hopefully a new slate of teachers who will be held accountable to increase the performance outcomes of the children. How they handle the children in the meantime needs to be worked out with care and total sensitivity. I am not sure dispersing them all over the city is the right decision. I don’t think the BOE dispersed other schools during their school construction/rehabilitation. However waiting for the South End Swing Space School to open up for them is not an option since there are serious delays in the completion of the Columbus School Rehab. This is not a simple situation and the budget crisis is making the issue even more dire. It requires close communication between the South End NRZ, the RS Parents and the City BOE. As for the teachers union and administration, everyone needs to take a haircut. The tax revenues just aren’t coming in as this economy remains in a holding pattern. Furlough days are much better than becoming unemployed.


Leave a Reply