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Malloy To Nominate Grogins State Judge–Special Election For State House Seat

January 2nd, 2015 · 61 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Council, City Politics, Education, State Politics

Malloy, Grogins, Kooris

Governor Malloy, left, State Rep. Auden Grogins and city development chief David Kooris on walking tour of Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock in September.

Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock, will not receive the oath of office for a fourth term in the State House. Governor Dan Malloy announced Friday he will nominate her to the Connecticut Superior Court. This will set in motion another special election presumably in late February. Malloy’s nomination requires approval of the Connecticut Legislature. That process will play out in the legislative session that starts next week.

Grogins, a ferocious campaigner with an independent-minded streak (full disclosure: I served as a campaign strategist), was a key Malloy supporter who put in long hours in her district to further his reelection. After serving more than 10 years on the City Council she won a seat on the Board of Education in 2003. She was defeated in a primary in 2007 during the hotly contested primary race for mayor between Bill Finch and Chris Caruso. One year later she defeated Bob Keeley, the longest serving legislator in city history, in a Democratic primary, despite being told by many political insiders she could not win. Grogins knocked on just about every door in the district.

As a campaigner, Grogins takes nothing for granted and as a public servant is responsive to constituent concerns irrespective of party label.

Grogins’ State House seat covers Black Rock, the West Side and portions of the North End and West End. She was an effective legislator who pushed quality of life, animal rights and government reform issues including passage of a state law that cracked down on unlicensed massage parlors as well as providing prosecutors the authority to shut down a business or evict a tenant that has been arrested or cited three or more times for illegal activity on the premises for crimes such as drug dealing, firearm offenses or excessive noise on commercial properties.

She secured $500,000 in state funds for facade and streetscape upgrades along Fairfield Avenue scheduled to start this spring. She also pushed funding for renovations to Black Rock School, Central High School and building of a new Longfellow School in her district.

Grogins has long been interested in a Superior Court appointment. Her dad served in that capacity.

“I am both thrilled and deeply honored that Governor Malloy intends to nominate me for a judicial appointment,” she says in a news release issued by the governor’s office. “I want to thank the Governor for his confidence in me to serve such an important public position. If approved, I vow to be an independent, fair and impartial judge. I will do my utmost to ensure that we continue building a brighter future for Connecticut.”

From Malloy:

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he intends to nominate Representative Auden Grogins to the State Superior Court. With nearly a quarter century of experience in civil and criminal litigation in both state and federal courts, Grogins currently serves Bridgeport’s 129th District in the General Assembly.

During her 24 years of practice, Grogins has served over 400 clients on a wide array of issues, ranging from criminal law and appeals, to personal injury law, to family law, to real estate, to contract and employment cases. She has represented numerous defendants in post-conviction cases for those involving claims of innocence or ineffective legal representation. Grogins owns her own practice.

First elected to the General Assembly in 2008, Grogins has previously served on the Bridgeport City Council, starting in 1991. She was elected to the Bridgeport Board of Education in 2003 and elected President of the Board in 2005. She is a currently the Deputy Majority Leader serving as a member of the legislature’s Education, Judiciary, Legislative Management, and Planning and Development Committees.

“Auden is a dedicated public servant who cares deeply about her community. In both private and public capacities, she’s spent a career serving those who need representation. Her breadth of legal knowledge is exceptional, and I know she will do an outstanding job,” Governor Malloy said. “Auden has earned the respect of her colleagues not only in the legal community, but also in the General Assembly. I’m proud to nominate her to the Superior Court.”

“I am both thrilled and deeply honored that Governor Malloy intends to nominate me for a judicial appointment. I want to thank the Governor for his confidence in me to serve such an important public position,” Auden Grogins said. “If approved, I vow to be an independent, fair and impartial judge. I will do my utmost to ensure that we continue building a brighter future for Connecticut.”

Grogins holds a law degree from Quinnipiac University and a B.S. from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She will not be taking the oath of office for her General Assembly seat on January 7th.

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61 Comments so far ↓

  • Steven Auerbach

    Could this be Mary-Jane Foster’s opportunity? I am thinking yes!

    • Mustang Sally

      Huh? What is the rationale behind that thought? Not being snarky, I truly don’t get it.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Mustang, are you insinuating Mary-Jane Foster would not make an exceptional replacement for Grogins? Apparently, it is a great steppingstone to greater things. I think this is a great surprise and opportunity. I am probably wrong, but most likely I am not.

        • Mustang Sally

          No, I truly did not understand you meant Mary-Jane should run for this seat. I thought you meant Grogins’ absence would benefit MJF’s MAYORAL chances, because Mayor is in fact the position she may be contemplating.

          I must say though, you suggesting her for this did give me a chuckle.

          • Steven Auerbach

            A chuckle? Now I am confused. It seems Auden, the one politician I have not met, has really paid her dues and her recent nomination is the icing on the cake. Chris Caruso also put his time in from city council on up. I think MJF could really make a name for herself like Auden. Am I wrong here? I mean I predicted Foster was not going to run for Mayor this time around. That doesn’t mean the door is closed on that opportunity. I thought Mary-Jane FOSTER should have run for State Senator against Musto as well as Michelle Lyons, but it became Marilyn Moore, whom I wish my best. I have not heard anything about Mary-Jane FOSTER running for Mayor other than Lennie’s column and I am assuming since I am not running for Mayor, Finch will win unopposed. :-)

          • LennieGrimaldi

            Steve, if Mary-Jane wants to be a candidate for mayor, she’s certainly not acting like one. It’s getting late for her. Sounds like she’s trying to figure out a way not to run. It’s simple, either you have the fire to run for mayor or you don’t. These things rarely come to you, you have to go out and get it. She did not take advantage of her first run. She’s been largely quiet for three years and only now is feeling around for support. Fabs did the same thing looking for love and there was not enough love there. You can’t sit back looking for love. You gotta go out and get it. We’ll see.

          • Mustang Sally

            Since when is an opinion ever wrong, Steve? It’s your opinion and it’s right for you.

          • Steven Auerbach

            Lennie, everything you said is on the money. There is not one person on this blog who doesn’t know my respect for Mary-Jane FOSTER. I would support her if she had a platform that could change the obvious. This time belongs to Finch. I think he deserves it this time around. I am not talking about the background noise people attempt to make issues of. You cannot wait to run to express disgust. As you know Lennie, Finch has made a few missteps, but overall, you ask any non-political resident what they think. He is a nice guy. He has the wind at his back. The attempt to create a new machine in Bridgeport is just energy wasted and obviously splintering the party. Not enough to let a Republican in and not enough to kick Finch to the curb. Things change. People change. Finch will have to address issues before the next election but he will win largely unopposed. I have been wrong before, but Lennie, just because you want to be Mayor doesn’t mean it is your time. Chris Caruso has been running for nearly 30 years. He has always been visible at council meetings. He always got involved in issues that neighbors were passionate about. He always came close but just not close enough. All the positive PR coming out of city hall definitely makes Finch look great but let’s face it, don’t city residents want to feel great about the City they live in? Even John Fabrizi whose passion for Bridgeport almost eclipses mine made a wise decision. Mary-Jane FOSTER does not have to look for a way not to run. Her supporters would not want to put her out there knowing a tremendous loss would cripple any future political aspirations. If I didn’t believe the City was moving in the right direction I wouldn’t be blowing smoke up the Mayor’s butt.

          • Jimfox

            Steve, it’s not the blowing smoke up the mayor’s ass we’re worried about! It’s the inhaling!

    • Up On Bridgeport

      Bridgeport could use some Foster Care! Congrats to Auden.

      • Baffled in Bridgeport

        Lennie,
        Just because Foster isn’t sashaying her way into the pulpit at the East End Baptist Church, doesn’t mean she isn’t a candidate. There are lots of other things to do besides suck up to a constituency you screwed last time around. I have to bet most folks are still putting away their Christmas ornaments and could care less. As a reminder, it’s January. My best guess is she knows what she needs to do and when.

        • LennieGrimaldi

          Meanwhile, Foster is losing support because folks don’t think she has the fire. I admire anyone who’s willing to place their name on the ballot as she did in 2011 running a competitive race having been outspent two to one. I just know things from the strategic side of campaigns and she’s been largely quiet, not taking advantage of her first run. Strategically, I’m not sure she knows what she’s doing. Maybe she’ll show us otherwise. Or maybe she’ll fold her tent because she has a lot of work to do.

          • Jimfox

            Foster has until May to announce, she has the name recognition, the Finch team keeps fucking up every week, let them stew in their own juicees for awhile. By May the taxpayers will be sick of Finch and Steve the ASSHAT!

          • LennieGrimaldi

            Sonny Fox, Simon Says … Foster does not have that luxury. Her name recognition isn’t strong in most of the city. You gonna write her a check for $200,000? If she wants to get in the game she must start raising money. And she cannot wait for the special elections to shake out.

          • Steven Auerbach

            The taxpayers will be sick of me? May? Jimfox, she does not have until May. By May there will so much excitement with Steelepointe, Mayor Finch can go to Ireland. Mary-Jane would have to reinvent herself in a short window with developers throwing money Finch’s way to have a primary. I think the window of opportunity is done and Mr. Fox, unless you understand the hard work involved in a primary and the money needed, you wouldn’t be sitting on your fat ass suggesting a friend become the sacrificial lamb.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      You are wrong.

    • Bob

      Finally, Steve, you and I agree. Time for Mary-Jane to get her foot in the door to take birdman to task and perhaps defeat him in the next mayoral election.

  • Jimfox

    I’m all in!

  • Baffled in Bridgeport

    Great news for Auden, not so much for our legislative delegation. She has been enormously effective for Bridgeport and her leadership will be missed. She’ll make a great judge and I wish her the best.

  • Maria Pereira

    I am sure Steve Stafstrom is going to jump into the race. I hope there will be at least one solid candidate who can defeat him.

  • Ron Mackey

    I did not like Auden Grogins when she was on the City Council because she didn’t give a damn about her whole district, she was only concerned about Black Rock and not the voters in PT Barnum. Now as a State Superior Court judge I think she will be great because she doesn’t have to listen to the Democrat Party to follow their direction. She has been working hard to get this position and now that she is there she will really be good.

  • BPT REBEL

    Besides a HUGE raise in pay, this is a great opportunity, much deserved.

  • John from Black Rock

    I am very happy for Auden even though we will all miss her as she was the best State Legislator Bridgeport has had in a very long time. For what it’s worth, I like Mary-Jane but I don’t know she would be interested in running.

    Having said that, I believe Steve Stafstrom would make an outstanding State Rep.

    • Maria Pereira

      John, do you believe Steve Stafstrom will support Jack Hennessy’s bill or work to defeat it?

      • John from Black Rock

        Yes I do Maria, and if he runs that will be my first question to him. If his answer is no, I will not be supporting him.

        • John from Black Rock

          That is, I believe he will support Hennessy’s bill.

          • Pete Spain

            Congratulations to soon-to-be Judge Grogins. Her legislative competence and 24/7 dedication to her constituents will be missed.

            In 2013, volunteering at the primary polls in front of Black Rock School, I had a good conversation with Steve Stafstrom.

            In the course of that discussion, I asked Steve specifically about the Hennessy-Grogins bill. Steve told me he supported it with grandfathering and only with grandfathering. He said he believed this was the only way it would pass the legislature.

            Practically, he may be right.

            However, requiring grandfathering in the bill at the start strikes me as aligning oneself with the Finch follies–which is about as appealing to me in a candidate as calling in to the Rush Limbaugh show to praise that odious buffoon.

          • Maria Pereira

            Thanks, Pete. There should be no grandfather clause in the proposed bill. If the entire delegation supported the bill, there would be no issue with it passing. Where does the charter speak about grandfathering those who are currently in violation of the charter? They would clearly be allowed to finish their current term. That is more than reasonable. Any grandfather clause just waters down what the Bridgeport electorate already voted to support.

  • Dave Walker

    Congratulations to Auden, and thanks for her years of service to our community. This seat is tailor made for Rick Torres now that Auden is becoming a judge. Let the special election race begin.

  • Ron Mackey

    I guess it won’t be long before David Walker will get a tattoo like Rick Torres, his candidate.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Ron Mackey, you made my day. That was funny. :-)

      • Mustang Sally

        No, it wasn’t.

        • Steven Auerbach

          Mustang, I feel bad. I feel I let you down. For that I apologize. My gut tells me we will be on the same side down the road. I would never ask a friend of mine to run knowing their chances were slim. I just couldn’t do that.

          • Mustang Sally

            It’s all good, Steve. I promise.

            By now folks on this blog know I am not a fan of mean-spirited posts, name-calling, and generalized low-rent bull$hit. I think points can be made without reducing oneself to the level of personal attacks and pettiness.

            Peace be with you, sir!

    • Godiva2011

      Priceless, LOL. I’m sure that tattoo won’t make a winner out of either of them.

  • Ron Mackey

    Mustang Sally, if you are so serious then why do hide who you are, how can ANYBODY take a bullshxt name seriously, you can act real big when nobody knows you that’s why people shouldn’t pay attention anyone who doesn’t give their real name.

  • Mustang Sally

    Okay. You win, I lose.

    • Ron Mackey

      Mustang Sally, good answer because you are a loser, keep hiding. It’s sad you don’t have the courage to stand by what you say and give your name.

      Andy Fardy at one time used the name “Town Committee” but he has long since given up that name. I respect Andy for a number of reasons, first he stands by whatever he writes and gives his name. I worked with Andy as a firefighter and he was my lieutenant when I was rookie and we didn’t agree on anything but I knew he would do anything if something happen to me while we were fighting a fire and I would do the same for him but I still didn’t agree with him on anything. Thirty-two years later we still don’t agree on a lot of issues, in fact he writes things that piss me off and he will probably write something again where I will want to kick his ass but if I run into him we will talk. Mustang Sally, you will gain respect when you stand by what you write and give your name, it’s not the end of the world.

  • Mustang Sally

    We each have our own needs and goals. Gaining your respect on this blog is not a need or a goal of mine. However, many thanks for the advice and your selfless contribution to my future growth.

  • Ron Mackey

    It’s good to see David Walker support Enrique Torres for State Rep. Now we really know how he feels about issues.

    OIB ran a topic on Dec. 21, 2014 title “Torres Chats With Rush On Obama’s Cuba Policy, Black Relations My New Pet.” It’s to see Walker agrees with the head of the Republican Party, Rush Limbaugh, and with Mr. Torres. This a portion of what Rush said about Torres:

    BREAK TRANSCRIPT
    RUSH: Now, don’t misunderstand me, folks. Our last caller, Enrique, we looked him up. He’s Enrique Torres, city councilman in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Might run for mayor of Bridgeport. He is a pretty conservative guy. I was not challenging what he said. I just … I don’t know. This is the second call today, we got a guy calling up, “Man, I’m the biggest conservative in the world. I used to be the biggest liberal. I used to hate you, but my mother-in-law, my sister convinced me that you’re the greatest guy in the world. I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for 10 years, and I finally have, and I just gotta tell you, I’m the biggest conservative in the world, and I agree with Obama.”

    I think we have a clearer picture of David Walker, maybe Torres and Walker could hold a press conference and talk about Torres’ “Black Relations My New Pet.”

  • DavidDanielsIII

    Congratulations to Ms. Auden Grogins. :)

  • Andrew C Fardy

    For those who don’t know, there are still tickets available to governor Malloy’s inaugural ball. The tickets are $200 each or $400 per couple. Of course I wanted to take my bride of 48 years but when I checked my account I found I had no money. I paid the first half of my city taxes, my car taxes and a healthy increase in my UI bill so no dough, no go.

  • Godiva2011

    I am very happy for Atty. Grogins–she will be a fine judge. This is a loss for Bridgeport since this woman always had the city’s best interests at heart and accomplished many good things during her tenure. Whoever follows in her footsteps will have big shoes to fill, as she is one of the best Bridgeport has ever sent to Hartford. Good luck, Auden!

  • Ron Mackey

    What happen to CW4BB, where is their candidate? They were blowing smoke up everybody’s ass, having meetings, putting out press releases, for what? To support Rick Torres to the City Council and to give David Walker a platform to lose.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ron, Happy New Year to you and yours!!! The beat goes on. By that I mean you continue to repeat stories that are incomplete in your telling, for which you have received notice in the past, and yet press on, ignoring the partial truths you spout above.
    CW4BB was a group of active, registered, taxpaying Bridgeport voters who saw primaries were to be used more extensively in this City than previously, challenging the DTC candidates. We came together for a few months, raised a few dollars that were provided to candidates who met with groups of people, were questioned and provided responses. In some cases candidates did not avail themselves of this ad hoc process. They received no comment or support. Many challengers who were heard and supported won the office they sought.
    CW4BB never intended to be a new party, at least such was not raised at any meeting I attended. They supported BOE winners from different parties and worked (as in “having meetings, putting out press releases” and in many cases joining candidates knocking on doors in the name of the candidate, not CW4BB.
    That this recitation of history does not coincide with your storytelling does not surprise me. You have declined invitations from me to visit Harborview (or any other City coffee provider) to sit and chat and otherwise get to know each other better FOR THE PURPOSE OF ADVANCING CITY BETTERMENT, NOT FOR PERSONAL REASONS BUT FOR THE YOUTH, maybe. You have failed to positively respond to this invite and readers of OIB have seen that. The invite is still open. It’s a new year. I try to learn something new and practical every day, so my perception and understanding of the community changes a little bit from time to time as it must. How about it? Up for some talk and listening? 2015 might be the year. Time will tell.

    • Ron Mackey

      John Marshall Lee, this is the first time I’ve ever read, “challenging the DTC candidates.” The group was a front for the Republican Party, yeah you join a group of Democrats in the BOE race who everybody knew were going to win. JML, so I guess you support Rush Limbaugh just like your CW4BB main candidate, Rick Torres? Why in the world would I want to sit or be around anybody who has the views about blacks Rick Torres has?

    • Ron Mackey

      John Marshall Lee, so I sit down with you and you explain everything you want me to know and I understand what you are telling me, nothing is going to change. Please tell me when did it ever appear in OIB CW4BB was set up for challenging the DTC candidates?

      Look, there is only one game in Bridgeport and that’s the Democrats, so if you want change then you change it from inside the Democratic Party by running primaries to influence and to change the party. Electing Republicans will get you nothing in Bridgeport.

      • John Marshall Lee

        All candidates, as in Democrats, Republicans, WFP, GREEN monsters, etc. were invited to meet with a screening committee to gain an endorsement and some funding. The fact the Democrat-endorsed slate (or some of them) decided to pass on the opportunity, or to meet and not gain an endorsement was up to the candidates.
        The point is the process is different from that which you described and understand. That is a shame, in a way. You could have been part of the process and come away with a more accurate story.
        I do not believe CW4BB was set up to challenge the Democratic slate per se, but rather to take a look at all the candidates and provide support for those who seemed most committed, ethical and of independent mind. It is in that way I use the term “challenge the DTC slate.”

        Finally Ron, were we to meet at some future time and place, it would not be for me to “tell you” anything, unless you asked. Reference to governance issues might have us exploring Bridgeport in a different light than OIB repartee does or than referencing everything as a “game.” Too much money, too many lives and too many opportunities are bypassed by the few for their personal benefit to have me consider this a game. Am I right or wrong? Time will tell.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ron,
    Did those endorsed by CW4BB challenge the DTC slate? The fact this is the first time you realized this or thought about it is not something to necessarily brag about. Are you assuming Torres’ views, whatever they are, are held by me as well? That’s convenient for you, but also inaccurate and false. As a registered Democrat, why does the Bridgeport Republican party seem so menacing to you?

    You can keep wrongly guessing whatever you wish about Rick Torres and anybody else, but the real question for those who look at what you write and endorse much of the time is why you avoid the invitation to sit and talk like free citizens in a democracy though with different opinions? The fact is, in Bridgeport the community as a whole has lost out because of this Balkanization of races, religious groups, and people in general. The separation of peoples has created more power to maintain the status quo with meager voter turnout.

    Come to City Hall this evening where I will provide a brief review of what the City Council has not accomplished this year on behalf of those who elected them. According to Brian Lockhart, the renaming of streets may be the most important item of public safety and importance facing our municipal legislature. Perhaps you will come down some evening (City Council meets on 1st and 3rd Monday evenings most months with opportunity for public speaking before) and share your pleasures with what they are doing or fault with where they are failing. Time will tell.

    • Ron Mackey

      JML, “Balkanization,” then you need to talk to Rick Torres, race is the “dog whistle” for the Republican Party especially in the South, now it’s up north with Rick Torres.

  • Ron Mackey

    John Marshall Lee, Happy New Year. It’s now 2015 and the Republican Party in Bridgeport has NO POWER, they have one City Council member out of 20 and that one member cannot get other council members to support anything he suggests. Black Rock is basically a Republican district but Black Rock is not Bridgeport.

    JML, the Republican Party does not have the ability to expand in Bridgeport, just look at those who can vote, will black voters move over to support the Republican Party? Why would Hispanic voters become Republicans in Bridgeport?

  • Bob Walsh

    John Marshall Lee,
    If CW4BB was all about the Board of Ed or all about the kids, why wasn’t any of that included in the name of the org?
    Citizens Working For A Better Bridgeport sounds much broader in purpose than the BOE.
    And whatever it was really about, CW4BB has failed!!!
    Unless you think Bridgeport is any better than it was when CW4BB was formed. I don’t.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ron,
    I guess it must be reasonable to say there is no need among any slice of the population, black or white, Latino or Asian, Christian or Muslim, recent immigrant or been here for generations, for any political party other than one. Bridgeport’s success is proof of this?
    And Bob joins you in heaping scorn on a group of people who were open (as opposed to common public secrecy), accountable (for raising, disbursing and recording funds) and transparent (we did what we said we were going to do in spite of critics who would not invest in attending one meeting to see what was happening). And neither Ron nor Bob were at the City Council meeting last evening or most evenings to see how decrepit our governance has become. Or possibly talk to the Council, face to face, to see if the spirit exists to change their subservient and failing status as representatives of the few who vote. Is it much more fun to chew on familiar material when you age and your teeth get worn down? Old dogs are not necessarily watchdogs! Time will tell.

    • Ron Mackey

      John Marshall Lee, (1857) Frederick Douglass, “If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress.” The struggle for power in Bridgeport is within the Democratic Party, there is no base of operation for Republicans to win in Bridgeport. If CW4BB were wise they should have turned their efforts inside the DTC; but no, their leader David Walker had other plans. You don’t need me to sit down with a group that’s not going anywhere.

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