The Wheelhouse | Connecticut Public Radio

The Wheelhouse

Listeners can still get great coverage of state politics Wednesdays at 9 a.m. during Where We Live, which now airs every weekday.  


Looking for a classic episode of The Wheelhouse? You can listen to your favorites by scrolling through the episodes below. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Two US Senate contests in Georgia will decide who controls the chamber.  Democrats are optimistic after a night of vote counting. How big of an impact will the outcome have on the direction of the country? 

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are divided about whether to accept the electoral college vote today, or whether to continue President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the outcome of the presidential election.  Will there be long-term ramifications for democracy?  The Trump administration and its supporters have failed to deliver evidence to support their claims of widespread voter fraud. 

Here in Connecticut, the General Assembly session begins today.  But because of COVID-19, it will be anything but a normal opening day.

Dafne Cholet Flickr Creative Commons

The Wheelhouse looks back at what was... Quite a year.

Also a glance at the president's pardons and a very early look at some possible candidates for governor.

Kathleen Megan / CT Mirror

Connecticut’s education commissioner is heading to Washington.  What sort of approach to schooling during the pandemic will Miguel Cardona bring to President-elect Joe Biden’s new administration?  He’s not the only person with ties to the state heading to the capitol.  Officials from Connecticut could have influence over environmental policy. 

Back in the state, would you pay a little more for gasoline, if it resulted in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions? 

And is it better for elected officials in Connecticut to get COVID-19 vaccinations now to instill confidence in the shots, or to wait until after all the doctors and nurses are vaccinated?  

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine has arrived.  What does this moment represent in the battle against the virus?  Electoral college votes have been cast in the state, and around the country, again confirming Joe Biden’s presidential win.  Will Republican voters believe that Biden was victorious?


Connecticut could face a crossroads in its battle with COVID-19. 

On one hand, healthcare workers are expected to get vaccinated over the next month-and-a-half.  But shots for elderly people and patients with underlying medical problems will not begin until January, and people who are not in a high-risk or critical group are expected to have to wait until June. 

In the meantime, can Connecticut prevent the virus from spiraling out of control over the holidays?

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

More than 5,000 people have died with coronavirus in Connecticut since the start of the pandemic. Deaths have been accelerating and the number of patients hospitalized with the illness is growing. But vaccines are on the horizon.

This week we look at Connecticut officials’ latest moves to counter the spread of COVID-19, and how virus response leads to disagreements in state governments around the country.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Top members of the Lamont administration go into quarantine as they also deal with a resurgence of COVID-19 in Connecticut.  How much trouble are we facing in the state, and in the nation?  And could an app on your phone help protect the people around you?

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

After losing the presidential election, the Trump administration has threatened to sue, and argued that maybe the Supreme Court should decide the election.  Why have the lawsuits failed to gain traction so far? 

President-elect Joe Biden has begun his transition effort, naming a Yale professor as one of the leaders of his coronavirus task force. 

And new leaders are asserting themselves at the General Assembly.

(Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public)

Election day is in the rearview mirror… Finally.  But what can we see back there?  We will consider who will lead the country for the next four years, review Congressional contests in Connecticut, and search for meaning in General Assembly races.

Are you sitting on a ballot?

Voting booth
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive is increasing in Connecticut. A member of the state’s Congressional delegation describes what it is like to be targeted by racism.  And look out Donald Trump... Here comes the mute button!  We look ahead to tomorrow’s debate between the president and former vice president Joe Biden.


There was no Wheelhouse this week because of live coverage of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearing.  In place of the Wheelhouse, here is a new program on Connecticut Public Radio called Disrupted.  

The debate was sponsored by WCSU, The League of Women Voters chapters of Northern Fairfield County and Litchfield County and The Danbury News-Times.

Donald Trump is back at the White House following his hospitalization with coronavirus. But did some aspects of the president's return send the wrong message about coronavirus?

Given the ages of both candidates for president, maybe we should pay a little more attention to tonight’s vice presidential debate.

We will also check in on the initial Fifth Congressional District debate.  After recovering from COVID-19, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes faced off with former prosecutor David Sullivan.


President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met in the first presidential debate last night.  The two men traded personal insults, and the president repeatedly interrupted the former vice president.  Here in Connecticut state lawmakers are gearing up for a special session today.  We will have the latest on which proposals are in, and which are out.

JKehoe_Photos Creative Commons via Flickr

Amid signs of public distrust in a quick vaccine release, Governor Ned Lamont says the state will review any COVID-19 innoculation for safety and effectiveness.  A member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation tests positive for coronavirus.  And how will Halloween be different during the pandemic?

Image from the Connecticut US Attorney's office

There are developments in two unrelated federal investigations that involve Connecticut and the world of politics.

One inquiry resulted in the arrest of Bridgeport’s police chief and the city’s personnel director. 

There was a high-ranking resignation from the other probe, amid concerns about political pressure from the Trump administration.  That investigation is run by the US attorney from Connecticut, and targets the federal officials who investigated possible connections between the president and Russia. 

Also, COVID-19 may be sticking its nose back under the tent in Connecticut.

...And Khalilah Brown-Dean gets Disruptive!

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

High school football players, parents, and coaches make a goal line stand to try to prevent the cancellation or postponement of their season due to COVID-19. Is the virus  controlled enough to let students compete on the gridiron?  Also, a partisan divide deepens over the governor's coronavirus emergency powers.

Gov. Ned Lamont
Cloe Poisson /

Governor Ned Lamont wants to keep his coronavirus emergency powers five months longer. Not everyone is happy about that. Will the pandemic alter the next race for governor? Plus we look at some other impacts of COVID-19 in Connecticut, and we check in on the presidential race now that the conventions are in the rear view mirror, demonstrators are clashing in the streets of some cities, and the president visits Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Republicans use their national convention to stoke concerns about radical Black Lives Matter demonstrators, socialists, and low-income housing. Eversource gets zapped by angry Connecticut customers at a public hearing on rate hikes. And how will parents and educators choose between in-person classes and distance learning as the school year begins?

Democratic National Convention Pool Video

The Democratic National Convention goes virtual. President Donald Trump takes on the  Post Office as Connecticut and many other states are poised to expand voting through the mail in November.  Domestic violence allegations that were known in the GOP resulted in the arrest of a Republican congressional primary candidate who won the party's endorsement anyway.  How bad is the fallout for party leadership?

Line workers in Rocky Hill after Tropical Storm Isaias
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

This week, we analyze Joe Biden's pick of Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate. Also, we clean up after the storm and the state's primary. 

Adam Hushin / Connecticut Public Radio

The state Senate is considering a police accountability bill that cleared the house last week. Meanwhile, parents, teachers, and students are making difficult decisions about going back to school during the pandemic. 

Lucy Nalpathanchil is working on Connecticut Conversations this week.  That show will air August 6 at 8 pm on Connecticut Public Radio and Connecticut Public Television.

COVID-19 testing
Cloe Poisson /

We look at the mostly positive trends for COVID-19 in the state.  And we glance worriedly at some other states.  Our panel will take a closer look at new rules, training, and oversight for police officers in Connecticut.  That bill is expected to soon be considered in a General Assembly special session.  And are new beach restrictions in some towns really entirely about COVID-19?

New Haven, protest, black lives matter
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

State lawmakers have put some details on the table, as they craft a law enforcement bill in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  But does the proposal meet the needs of the moment? After opposition including a lawsuit involving the state of Connecticut, the Trump administration backs off a new rule that targeted international students.  And an announcement is expected in the coming weeks, as former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd helps presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden find a vice presidential running mate.

Can Pac Swire / Flikr Creative Commons License

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass has been in the news recently, even though he died more than a century ago.  What can one of his speeches from before the Civil War teach us today? What could be proposed in a Connecticut General Assembly special session in response to the death of George Floyd?  Donald Trump offers a possible preview of his campaign themes.  And Connecticut postpones the next step of re-opening because of mounting COVID-19 cases in other states.

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, announces Juneteenth agenda for a special session on Friday at the State Capitol.

This week on the Wheelhouse, we compare some of the proposals on the state level in Connecticut, in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Should the focus of a special session be on making law enforcement more just for people of color?  Or should larger issues also be considered?  Will a special session actually happen?

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Changes are starting to be made in Connecticut law enforcement, as protests continue over the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.  The US Supreme Court issues a decision some see as a landmark in the fight for gay rights.  And today marks the start of a new phase of the reopening of businesses in Connecticut as coronavirus recedes in the state. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

The country is jolted by the death of George Floyd, and by nation-wide demonstrations against police brutality that sometimes turned violent.  How did we get to this point? What should be done to make law enforcement and society more just? 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

This week, we take a look at the political divide on coronavirus in Connecticut and around the country.  But could there also be a seed of pandemic bipartisanship in the state?  We playback some of the judicial greatest hits of a high-profile member of the state Supreme Court.  How might Justice Richard Palmer’s retirement change the court? And a look at some award-winning reporting.

Photo by Alice Harold, Flickr Creative Commons /

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.