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The Wheelhouse


Connecticut's best journalists come out of the political trenches every Wednesday to join us on WNPR's weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse.

Connecticut's best journalists come out of the political trenches every Wednesday to join us on WNPR's weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse.


United States


Connecticut's best journalists come out of the political trenches every Wednesday to join us on WNPR's weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse.






The Wheelhouse: Wind And Politics

This week, we clean up after the storm and the state's primary. There may also be discussion of football. Guests: Brian Lockhart -- Covers Bridgeport politics and policy at Hearst Connecticut (@blockhart1) Mark Pazniokas -- Capitol Bureau Chief at the Connecticut Mirror (@CTMirrorPaz) Mercy Quaye -- Columnist for Hearst Connecticut, adjunct faculty at Southern Connecticut State University, and founding Principal Consultant at The Narrative Project (@Mercy_WriteNow) Join us on Twitter...


The Wheelhouse: Disputed Decisions On Police, Back To School

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. Robert Cotto, Junior -- Trinity College Director of Urban Educational Initiatives and Educational Studies lecturer (@RobertCottoJr) Keith Phaneuf -- State budget reporter at the Connecticut Mirror (@CTMirrorKeith) Christine Stuart -- Owner and editor of Connecticut News Junkie...


The Wheelhouse: A Positive View Of Negative Tests

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? Guests: Renny Fulco -- Director of Public Policy and Law at Trinity College Dan Haar -- Columnist and Associate...


The Wheelhouse: Law Enforcement Changes Proposed

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...


The Wheelhouse: Frederick Douglass Still Speaks

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. Guests: Daniela Altimari - state...


The Wheelhouse: Connecticut Lawmakers Talking About Policing, Race

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? State GOP lawmakers are involved in lawsuits challenging the coronavirus actions of some Democratic Connecticut officials. Guests: Mark Pazniokas -- Capitol...


The Wheelhouse: Seeking Freedom From Brutality, Equality On The Job, And Pandemic Safety

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. Guests: Russell Blair - Content Editor at the Hartford Courant (@RussellBlairCT) Leah Wright Rigueur -- Associate Professor of...


If You Like The Wheelhouse...

...You should listen to First Wave. It's the Connecticut Public Radio news documentary about the arrival of COVID-19 in the state. With information collected as the illness spread, and interviews that reveal new information about the state's response to the pandemic, First Wave looks at how cornavirus has changed the lives of many people in Connecticut. Support the show:


The Wheelhouse: It's Okay To Cry. Or To Chant.

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? Guests: David Collins -- Columnist for The Day in New London (@DavidCollinsct) Bilal Sekou -- Associate Professor of Politics and Government at the University of Hartford (@bilalsekou) Colin McEnroe -- Host of The Colin McEnroe show, and a columnist at...


The Wheelhouse: Coronavirus Political Divide, Prominent Justice Retires

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. Guests: Kaitlyn Krasselt -- Political Reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media (@kaitlynkrasselt) Jonathan Wharton...


The Wheelhouse: Happy Reopening Day!

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...


The Wheelhouse: Prepping For Reopening, Replacing The Public Health Commissioner

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. Guests: Beth Hamilton -- Executive Editor of the Connecticut...


The Wheelhouse: Distance Learning Continues In Connecticut

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. This hour, we talk about what this will mean for students and educators, and how schools might plan to reopen in the fall. Also, in Connecticut black residents are dying from COVID-19 in higher numbers per capita than white residents. So what is the state...


The Wheelhouse: The Challenges Of Reopening Connecticut; Remembering Those We've Lost

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. Meanwhile, the 47-member “Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group” has been meeting behind closed doors to give recommendations to the governor on how the state might begin to get back to any sort of normal. This hour we check in on what it might look like to reopen our state....


The Wheelhouse: Klarides Departs, What Does The Future Hold For Murphy?

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....


The Wheelhouse: What Would A Normal President Do?

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...


The Wheelhouse: Should Coronavirus Change The Way Legislatures Do Business?

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 it seem to be hitting black people harder than white people? Guests: Khalilah Brown-Dean -- Quinnipiac University Political Science Professor and author of Identity Politics in the United States (@KBDPHD) Russell Blair – Hartford Courant Content Editor (@RussellBlairCT) Colin...


The Wheelhouse: Elected Officials And Regular People Grapple With Coronavirus Fears

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...


The Wheelhouse: Open For Business Or Stay Home, Stay Safe?

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...


The Wheelhouse: A Local Look At Coronavirus

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. Guests: Daniela Altimari -- Hartford Courant state government and politics reporter (@CapitolWatch) Paul Bass -- New Haven Independent Editor (@PaulJBass) on Skype Colin McEnroe -- Host of The Colin McEnroe Show. His new blog is called How Are...