It's been a busy week . . . a busy few weeks actually, but that's par for the course as they say at Augusta and elsewhere. My email inbox and mobile voice mail were overflowing with inquiries seeking comment on the recent flap between State Representatives Rosa Rebimbas (a Naugatuck Republican) and Minnie Gonzalez (a Hartford Democrat). Truth is, I didn't feel a need to comment because there was little I could add to what had already been reported. Why rehash what other news outlets had already covered, including the reader comments which added sufficient detail that seemed to be unavailable to even the reporters themselves.
My feelings changed just a bit this morning as I finally had a chance to finish watching the CT-N video coverage for both the April 10th Judiciary Committee public hearing and also the April 22nd vote in the House of Representatives to reconfirm Chase T. Rogers of Old Lyme as Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. (I've got to do a piece about how great CT-N is . . . someone please remind me!)
It was a bit disturbing, after having listened to more than 10 hours of public testimony, both for and against the renomination of Chase T. Rogers, at the April 10, 2015 public hearing before the Judiciary Committee, to then hear Rosa Rebimbas rise in support of Rogers, and completely distort the picture of what had happened in that earlier hearing.
Does she not care one bit about her ethical obligations to her constituents, to the citizens of Connecticut, to her colleagues on the floor — from both parties — who may have had other pressing business to attend to and therefore rely on the sincere remarks and rendition of fact offered by someone they expect they can trust . . . an elected public official (and attorney no less) that shares a seat of honor and respect in the very same chamber as they.
Legislator or Lobbyist
In watching and listening to Rosa Rebimbas, it's difficult . . . no, actually, impossible to tell the difference between what a paid lobbyist would say any different that what Rebimbas, an elected public official actually did say. Rather than make readers search around for the official transcript (which is not yet available anyway), here is an unofficial transcript, but please, if you spot any inaccuracies, post a correction below and we'll do our best to get it fixed ASAP! Our goal is to inform, not mislead.
The remarks of Rep. Rosa Rebimbas begin at the 01:39:48 time stamp:
"Thank you Mr. Speaker and Good Afternoon. Mr Speaker, I also rise in support of the nomination of Chief Justice Rogers, certainly for all of the reasons that have already been stated by the Chairman Tong, I also stand in support of all of those statements made.
Chief Justice Rogers came before us with an opening statement and it was certainly a lengthy opening statement . . . and it was lengthy because she tried to highlight all of the good work that has been accomplished within the Judicial system under her leadership. Certainly she wasn't the only one working hard to make these programs possible but what she is, is the leader that led the way in supporting all of the wonderful things that again have already been stated. When she came in in 2007 as the Chief Justice, she actually laid out a blueprint clearly stating five main goals of which she then highlighted, many of which have been accomplished and are continuing to be accomplished.
Certainly as already previously said, the access to justice, we are now known throughout the nation as the leading example for the positive access to our judicial system, from the web site to languages provided, and because we have so many individuals that are now self represented, they can walk into our court system and feel that their voices could be heard and that’s very important again for making sure that justice is served.
Addressing the needs of the changing demographics, providing services and collaboration between the branches and accountability were also some of the other main goals. We heard not only from the Chief Justice, but we also received a lot of testimony, phone calls, from many different departments and individuals who had directly dealt with the Chief Justice and all of which were very supportive of the programs that have been implemented under her watch and I think that speaks volumes. We actually during the public hearing even had a chuckle because for the very first time we had not only the State’s Attorney’s Office but the public defenders actually admitting to the fact that they supported something together and agreed on something and that was on the nomination of the Chief Justice, um, and we saw that again all across all of the different departments and individuals who have come into contact with her.
She also showed great demeanor and patience throughout the judicial committee’s process of questions and providing information and highlighting the programs that have been successfully implemented.
(The remarks, in total, represent just over 3 minutes of oration by Rebimbas.)