The Wheelhouse | Connecticut Public Radio
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The Wheelhouse

Wednesdays 9:00 am and 8:00 pm

Connecticut's best journalists come out of the political trenches every Wednesday to join us on Connecticut Public Radio's weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse, hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil. 

The producer is Matt Dwyer. The technical producer is Cat Pastor. 

Photo by Alice Harold, Flickr Creative Commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/alicejt/

Is today the right time to start re-opening Connecticut’s economy after much of the state was closed to slow the spread of coronavirus?  We discuss the start of a phased-in reopening of businesses in the state.  We take a closer look at the problems plaguing the state Department of Public Health. Have they limited the agency’s capabilities during the pandemic?  Amid controversy over the attempted firing of the Partnership for Connecticut's new CEO, the Dalios pull out of the partnership. They blame two state lawmakers. 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Governor Ned Lamont has removed the Commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Public Health in the middle of a pandemic. How big are the problems faced by nursing homes trying to keep their elderly residents safe? We continue talking about the changes coming as the state gradually re-opens on May 20. And we share feats of strength and air grievances with a bit of a heavy heart, following the death of Seinfeld actor Jerry Stiller.

ccarlstead / Creative Commons

Parents have gotten news they were expecting about continued distance learning, but it’s still going to be a rough two months. Most states in the nation had already made this decision, including Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.

May 20th. It’s the day that Governor Lamont’s closure orders run out. Will schools and nonessential businesses begin to open back up? That all depends on positive trends on COVID-19 hospitalizations, and access to testing.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Some Connecticut residents including Trump supporters protested this week in their cars against the coronavirus shutdowns. The Connecticut General Assembly’s regular session is kaput, but lawmakers may return in a special session. Another GOP leader will say goodbye... But not forever. The state’s presidential primary has gotten delayed again, and now is the same day as the primaries for state offices. Connecticut US Senator Chris Murphy's foreign policy chops lands him a national profile.

Tucker Ives / WNPR

Yet again, President Donald Trump draws attention to himself with his comments.  This time the president claims to have "total authority" over decisions to re-open businesses and schools.  But governors actually make those decisions on a state level during a major public health crisis like coronavirus.  The president also says he will cut US funding for the World Health Organization, in the middle of a pandemic.

Has a partisan divide emerged over steps Governor Ned Lamont has taken to slow the spread of coronavirus? GOP state lawmakers have spoken out against some of the Democratic leader’s emergency orders.

We will also talk about the damage done to state finances by COVID-19 and efforts to slow the virus' spread.

Bernie Sanders has suspended his campaign and endorsed Joe Biden, but could Connecticut still have a presidential primary anyway?

Gov. Ned Lamont declared civil preparedness and public health emergencies as Connecticut braces for the spread of the coronavirus.
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Has COVID-19 ended Connecticut's General Assembly session? Lucy Nalpathanchil checks in with a lawmaker diagnosed with the disease.  How can voting go forward in Wisconsin while coronavirus is spreading? And why does the illness seem to be hitting black people harder than white people? 

coronavirus, union station, transportation
Joe Amon/Connecticut Public/NENC

Coronavirus is spreading across the nation, and New York City has become a hot spot for the disease. With its ties to New York, nearby Fairfield County has  also been hard hit. But as some governors try to protect their residents by ordering quarantine for out-of-staters, does it tear at the fabric of our country? Was the president too quick to speculate about quarantining parts of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey? We’ll also hear what our panelists are reading and watching now that we must all stay in.

Office of the Governor

Some people are seeing a recession in economic numbers for Connecticut and the nation.  Parts of the US economy have virtually shut down to prevent people from mingling and spreading COVID-19.  Agreement is reached to move forward a major coronavirus economic bailout package in Congress -- but not without partisan battles. What will it actually do? And could the spread of coronavirus be a moment when everything changes?  Oh, by the way Connecticut’s presidential primary was postponed. Along with everything else.

Lori Mack / Connecticut Public Radio

This week a look at coronavirus in one Connecticut city, on the state-wide level, and across the country.  How could COVID-19 change society? We also dissect the Democratic presidential primary results from the states that did not postpone their vote.  

MATT DWYER / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO

This week, we sort through the results from the latest round of Democratic presidential primaries in Michigan and five other states. Coronavirus has already postponed rallies and threatens to limit campaign activity at a key stage in the contest. We will look at the response to the virus across the country, and in Connecticut, where it is officially a public health emergency.

MATT DWYER / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO

We pick up the pieces after the Super Tuesday primary. How big a factor were the endorsements of departing candidates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar for Joe Biden's big night? Bernie Sanders tried to cement a lead, but that did not happen. Michael Bloomberg placed a big bet on this round of primaries, and won.. American Samoa. What does the future hold for Elizabeth Warren? Plus, state lawmakers deal with possible conflicts of interest.  And is Greater Hartford's water agency in over its head?

MATT DWYER / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO

Because I could not stop for tolls --

They kindly stopped for me --

The Chrysler held but just ourselves --

And not the D-O-T.

KHALEEL RAHMAN / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO

Watch for crowds of people opposed to vaccines at the state capitol today for a public hearing on a bill that would require students claiming religious objections to get the shots. Some parents fearful of vaccines are threatening to pull their kids out of school or leave the state. Also, how do quasi public agencies work? Some say one quasi public ran aground while preparing for a major upgrade to state pier in New London. Plus, lawmakers again delay a vote on truck tolls.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

On The Wheelhouse this week, we run the odds on a gambling expansion bill and take a closer look at the state budget. We examine Connecticut's efforts to influence the New Hampshire Primaries.  And should the state go forward with $100-million in XL Center renovations in Hartford? 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

On this week's Wheelhouse: President Donald Trump's impeachment trial is scheduled to end with a final vote the day after his state of the union address. Has impeachment altered the presidential race? A new general assembly session also begins today. What will lawmakers be up to? Plus, we look at issues confronting Connecticut’s new chief states attorney.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Are lawmakers and Governor Ned Lamont nearing the end of their long dance on Connecticut tolls? The latest transportation bill gets a public hearing this Friday. A vote could happen early next week. We preview some of the issues facing the General Assembly in next week’s regular legislative session. Also, will a draft of John Bolton’s book alter the impeachment trial? 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

A Connecticut view of impeachment, one state lawmaker suggests giving a raise to legislators, and the speaker of the state house is open to a General Assembly debate over Native American school mascots. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The Wheelhouse roars back to life to confront tolls, the ways and means of Ned Lamont, and the latest Sheff V. O’Neill school desegregation settlement! 

Plus, the long-awaited reveal of the new Wheelhouse host, Lucy Nalpathanchil!

In an effort to avoid talking about tolls yet again, The Wheelhouse flees to the icebound hell of New Haven. But there is no escape. Also we have discussion of gentrification and a glance at presidential endorsements in Connecticut.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The House Intelligence Committee has released its report. The House Judiciary Committee is about to hold its first hearing on the matter. This hour, we focus on the ongoing impeachment hearings. What legal strategies are at play? We compare this impeachment with earlier proceedings.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

This week we continue our discussion on tolls! There's a new proposal for trucks-only tolls that some democrats are supporting. And what's the future of the Democratic Party in Connecticut?  We also talk about the sudden acendence of Jim Himes, and persistant political myths - like the "temporary" income tax. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

This hour, we talk through Governor Lamont's transportation plan - he wants to use $320 million in toll revenue to restore the state's infrastructure, improve commutes on state highways and Metro North, and stabilize the Special Transportation Fund.  

Are there any lessons we can learn from last night? Probably not. The predicted trends, like “The Trump Effect” didn’t really emerge. The state was split between Republican and Democratic victories.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

A battle over campaign lawn signs? Dueling opinion pieces about how great or terrible our state is? Big questions about how we’ll keep our population or lose it to those states down south? It sounds like your typical Wednesday in Connecticut. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The language of politics--of America, really--has gotten quite a bit uglier over the last few years. And the last few weeks in Connecticut are a case in point. Female political leaders from both major parties faced online insults and threats, and prompted a call from the governor and others for a more civil tone.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Last night’s 12-person Democratic presidential debate proved a few things:

1. That’s too many people on stage.
2. Elizabeth Warren has become both the front-runner and the target of most of her colleagues.
3. Warren is proving to be a bit harder to attack than former front-runner, Joe Biden.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The House of Representatives is conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Trump for his call for an investigation of Joe Biden’s son by the Ukranian government; Trump now says he and his White House won’t cooperate with what it’s calling an illegitimate effort “to overturn the results of the 2016 election” - an obstruction that the House might use to consider another article of impeachment. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

As impeachment news consumes Washington, more and more Americans seem to think that the House inquiry is a good idea. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

House speaker Nancy Pelosi took a long time to warm up to the idea of impeachment proceedings against President Trump. But the latest saga involving a whistleblower complaint about a call with Ukraine’s president, seemingly pressuring him to investigate Trump’s main political rival Joe Biden has gotten the impeachment train rolling, and all members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation are now on board. 

This hour we assess what our state politicians are saying about this week’s pivotal Washington news.

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