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CONECT in the News

CONECT Clergy Join with Hamden Mayor Leng and Police Chief Wydra to Denounce Violence at Slyce Pizza Bar

CONECT leaders gathered on Wednesday, Sept 28th, in front of Slyce Pizza Bar (141 Arch St. in Hamden) with Hamden Mayor Curt Leng and Police Chief Thomas Wydra to call for an end the violence occurring and emanating from the establishment.  CONECT had canvassed the neighborhood and collect more than 200 signatures on a petition to challenge the renewal of Slyce’s liquor license, which is up for renewal in late October.  See press coverage links here:

CONECT Testifies at Rate Hearings in Hartford, Calls for Reductions in Outrageous Rate Increases by Insurers

CONECT Leaders testified on Aug 3rd and 4th in Hartford at the CT Department of Insurance rate hearings concerning rate increase requests by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, ConnectiCare, and Aetna.  This was the third summer in a row that CONECT has testified at public hearings to raise concerns about rate increases, hearings that CONECT pressed to make a regular part of the rate review process back in 2011.  Hearings in 2014 and 2015 led to more than $66 million in savings for CT customers, and we hope our continued presence and vigilance will cause state regulators to hold the line on the huge rate increase requests that came in this year — Anthem asked for a 24.3% increase, ConnectiCare amended their filling the day before the hearing to up their request to a 42.7% increase (!), and Aetna asked for an average 28% increases.  Rulings from the Department of Insurance are expected in September.

Read the press coverage here:

CONECT & Metro IAF Brief Congress on Do Not Stand Idly By with Senators Murphy & Blumenthal

CONECT Co-Chair Rev. Anthony Bennett and CONECT leader Rabbi Michael Friedman together with other leaders from Metro IAF sister organizations worked with Senators Murphy and Blumenthal to brief Congresspeople, Senators and their staffs on the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign on June 7th in the US Capitol.  You can read the CT Post piece on the briefing here.

Nearly 300 Jam Hall at St. Rose for Spring Assembly

Nearly 300 CONECT leaders from New Haven and Fairfield Counties came out on May 5th to our Spring Assembly at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in New Haven.  We addressed Sen. Chris Murphy about our on-going Do Not Stand Idly By strategy on gun violence and New Haven Schools Superintendent Garth Harries and Principal Cordero about concerns among parents at Fair Haven School in New Haven.  Check out the press coverage at the links below:
You can also find a video of Sen. Murphy’s full remarks — toward the end he gives CONECT tremendous credit and recognition — at this link.

650 Pack Congregation B’nai Israel for CONECT’s Winter Assembly; Guns, Schools, Parks, & Police Issues Addressed

Gov. Malloy & Mayor Ganim attend, Sen. Murphy sends video greeting

650 CONECT members and guests packed into Congregation B’nai Israel on Thursday, Jan 28th for CONECT’s Winter Action Assembly.  CONECT leaders shared stories and asked Gov. Malloy and Bridgeport Mayor Ganim for their support on issues from gun violence and schools funding to state parks and police reforms.  In addition, CONECT kicked off the year with congregations pledging $58,300 in dues and electing a 26 member Strategy Team.  See press coverage at the links below:

Watch US Sen. Chris Murphy’s video greeting to our Assembly, by clicking here.

CONECT, Metro IAF, Do Not Stand Idly By Pressure on Obama Administration Pays Off — Obama Executive Orders Include Parts of Do Not Stand Idly By Strategy

CONECT working with our sister organizations in the Metro IAF network has been working to engage the Obama Administration in our Do Not Stand Idly By strategy for more than two years.  This past week our persistence and willingness to bring public pressure began to pay off.  See the local press coverage at the links below:

CONECT Joins With Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport to Sponsor Interfaith Prayer Vigil

CONECT Leaders joined with leaders from the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport on December 22nd to speak out against the growing tide of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and racist rhetoric in our politics and public discourse.  Despite a downpour, about 150 people joined the vigil for nearly an hour to make their voices here and presence known.  See press links below:

CONECT Joins Push by the Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign for Obama to Take Action on Guns

Pastor Anthony L. Bennett of Mount Aery Baptist Church and Co-chair of CONECT joined with leaders from sister organizations in the Metro IAF network in front of the White House on Thursday morning, October 8th, to press President Obama to take executive action on gun violence rather than lamenting the inaction of Congress despite the continuing scourge of gun violence in our cities and mass shootings around the country.  The called on Obama to join in the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign with more than 75 cities, counties, and states and use the power of the federal government’s purchasing power with the gun industry.

Read the news coverage here:

And several opinion pieces, here:

300 CONECT Leaders Convene 4 Major Mayoral Candidates for Accountability Assembly on Sept 10th

On Thursday, September 10th, 300 CONECT leaders gathered in the basement of Mount Aery Baptist Church in Bridgeport to press for clear “yes” or “no” commitments from the candidates for Bridgeport Mayor on three key issues — police reform, gun violence, and education funding.  Mayor Finch, Mary Jane Foster, Joe Ganim, and Enrique Torres all attended and answered 12 separate questions with clear “yes” or “no” answers before being given time to elaborate a bit further.  CONECT’s Bridgeport members plan to hold whoever wins the race in November accountable to delivering on these commitments.  Read the CT Post’s front page coverage of the Accountability Assembly by clicking here.

CONECT Leaders Testify at HC Rate Hearings and Rates Tumble for 2nd Year in a Row

Leaders of CONECT’s Healthcare Team are celebrating reduced health insurance rates for the 2nd year in a row after a July 27th rate hearing on rate increase requests by Anthem, ConnectiCare, and Golden Rule spurred a ruling by the Insurance Department denying the requests and granting only reduced rate increases.  Last summer, after a rate hearing, Anthem’s rates were reduced by $66 million.  CONECT pressed first for a system rate hearings in 2011, winning a deal for hearing on rate increase requests of 15% or greater.  After last summer’s result, a new rate hearing deal was struck with CT’s new Insurance Commissioner Katherine Wade for hearing on rate increase requests of 10% or greater.  Read coverage of this summer’s hearings and rulings here:

300 Attend CONECT Community Dialogue on Policing in Bridgeport with Mayor Finch & PD Chief Gaudett

More than 300 CONECT leaders and allies gathered on June 17th at Bethel AME Church in Bridgeport to discuss policing issues with Mayor Finch & Police Chief Gaudett.  See the press coverage here:

CONECT Clergy Gather with Clergy in Newtown on Jan 15th to Press the Gun Manufacturers’ Trade Group on Do Not Stand Idly By

Read / see all about it here:

CONECT Takes Action with Public Officials, Metro IAF to Deliver Request for Information to Gun Makers

Read / see all about it here:

CONECT Helps Cut Anthem Rate Increase Down to Size with Public Hearing.

Using a deal CONECT helped forged back in 2011 between the CT Department of Insurance and the Office of the Healthcare Advocate to allow the Healthcare Advocate to call for public hearings for significant health insurance rate increase requests, we were able to push for a public hearing on Anthem Blue Cross / Blue Shield’s 12.5% rate increase request.  The hearing happened in late June, with our public comments and a story shared by a family from Temple Israel in Westport, and by late July, the Department ruled that Anthem’s request was excessive.  After revisions ordered by the Department, Anthem’s request of a 12.5% average rate increase was revised to an average .1% decrease.   Given that this ruling covers some 66,000 policies, it’s safe to say we helped save CT consumers millions of dollars.  To see our Op-Ed Piece in the CT Mirror on the value of public hearings in the rate review process, click here.  To see coverage on the hearing and ruling, click herehere, and here.

Gov. Malloy Joins CONECT in Do Not Stand Idly By Strategy on Gun Violence at June 2 Delegates Assembly

Read all about it:

CONECT Clergy Gather to Welcome Rev. Bennett Back from European “Gun Safety Trade Mission”  

Rev. Anthony Bennett, co-chair of CONECT, joined an 11-member, multi-state delegation of leaders from Metro IAF affiliate organizations that traveled to Europe to engage gun manufacturers around the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign, which is pressing manufacturers to invest in smart gun technology and tighter distribution systems.  See the March 13, 2014 CT Post New Bites piece hereFor more information on the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign, click here.  For a detailed report on the team’s trip to Germany, click here


CONECT Healthcare Forum on Eve of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Rollout — 176 people came out to hear from Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and others about how the ACA will be implemented in Connecticut on Monday, September 30th at Congregation B’nai Israel.  Watch coverage of the event on News 12 CT


CONECT wins Safer Driving campaign – CT passes legislation allowing all CT residents to get Drivers’ Licenses regardless of immigration status! 

National and local coverage includes:

Advocacy Group Scores,” Wall Street Journal, May 30; PDF Version

CONECT Release May-29-13

Senate Sends Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants Bill to Gov’s Desk,” CT News Junkie, May 30

Senate Approves Driver’s Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants,” Hartford Courant, May 30

Conn. Senate approves immigrant driver’s licenses,” CT Post, May 30

Interfaith Group Takes Leading Role on Political, Civic Issues,” Hartford Courant, May 27

House Approves Driver’s Licenses For Undocumented, ” Hartford Courant, May 23

Undocumented could get driver’s licenses,” CT Post, May 23

House Green Lights Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants,” CT News Junkie, May 23

“Weighing IDs For Illegal Immigrants,” Wall St. Journal, May 6

“Right choice to let license law live on” CT Post, editorial, May 1


Safe Driving in the News:

“Support for Drivers’ Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants”, NBC Connecticut Video, 3/7/2013,

“Thousands Turn Out To Support Allowing Drivers Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants”, Hartford Courant, 3/4/2013,,0,7017935.story

“2,000 attend New Haven hearing on bill to give licenses to undocumented”, New Haven Register, 3/4/2013,

“Pass law on drivers licenses”, Editorial, 3/1/2013,

“Let illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses?”, Hartford Courant Editorial, 2/19/2013,,0,2849543.story

“Let Immigrants Get Driver’s Licenses”, Hartford Courant Editorial, 2/18/2013,

“Churches Fight to Allow Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants”, NBC Connnecticut, 2/4/2013,

“Hugh Bailey: Working on behalf of the powerless”,, 2/1/2013,

“Connecticut to issue driver’s licenses to young people under ‘deferred action’ immigration program (video)”, New Haven Register, 1/7/2013,

““Dreamer” Immigrants To Be Eligible To Drive”, New Haven Independent, 1/6/2013,

“Churches and lawmakers pushing to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses”, New Haven Register, 1/4/2013,

“Latino Advocates Want Arrests Reviewed”, New Haven Independent, 2/1/12,

“Clergy group seeks state review of East Haven arrests (videos)”, New Haven Register, 2/2/12,

“Clergy Step Forward for “Justice and Healing” in East Haven Controversy”, Public News Service, 2/2/12,

“Westport Rabbi Calls for Review of East Haven Arrests”, Westport Now, 2/1/12,

“State may intervene in East Haven case”, the CT Mirror, 2/1/12,

February 1, 2012: CONECT Press Conference RELEASE: Proposed Reforms to East Haven Police Dept.

“CONECT: Giving voice to those adversely affected by the economy”,The Bridgeport, 1/11/12,

“Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut (CONECT) attracts 1,500 to founding assembly”, The Bridgeport, 1/11/12,

A Letter of Congratulations to CONECT from Speaker of the House Chris Donovan

A Letter of Congratulations to CONECT from Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick

“And the Register Person of the Year is: The Rev. James Manship of New Haven’s St. Rose Church“, New Haven Register’s front page on New Year’s Day featured its annual “Person of the Year”: CONECT co-chair Rev. Jim Manship, New Haven Register, 1/3/12,

“How we celebrate”, Article about CONECT leaders Fr. Reggie Norman, pastor of Blessed Sacrament,
and Ms. Pearlye Sams Allen (known to all as “Lulu”) of Mt. Aery Baptist Church, Connecticut Post, 12/25/11,

“There’s new help for some facing foreclosure, but not all”, Connecticut Post, 12/18/11,

“New multi-faith coalition has political, social agenda for New Haven, Fairfield counties”, Fairfield Minuteman, 12/8/11,

“Connecticut Interfaith Coalition Looks for Change” , WNPR/CPTV audio and text article, 12/2/11,

“Connecticut’s Faithful Take on Politics”, the CT Mirror, 12/1/11,

“Churches, synagogues CONECT to join force to fight social ills“, Connecticut Post, 11/30/11:

“New multi-faith coalition has political, social agenda for New Haven, Fairfield counties”, New Haven Register, 11/29/30,

“Malloy: I’m betting on Maria”, New Haven Independent, 11/7/11,

“Malloy firma el “Dream Act” y lo convierte en ley” New Haven Independent , 11/7/11, Spanish version in La Voz:

“New State Law Helps Illegal Immigrants Join Incoming Freshman Class”, WNPR (National Public Radio) August 31, 2011, story and audio download:

A Letter of Congratulations to CONECT from CT Speaker of the House Chris Donovan

A Letter of Congratulations to CONECT from Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick