Cathy endorsed by the Norwich Bulletin!

posted Oct 23, 2012, 5:39 PM by Sam Gilchrist

Our View: Osten: A strong, independent voice
Norwich, Conn. —

In the 19th Senatorial District contest to replace retiring state Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, we endorse Sprague Democratic First Selectman Catherine Osten.

As first selectman, Osten has demonstrated the sound fiscal judgment needed to hold the line on property taxes during difficult economic times while at the same time continuing to invest in her community’s infrastructure needs.

As a regional leader, Osten was selected to serve on the governor’s Two Storm Panel that investigated and recommended changes in response to the two storms that knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents last year.

And she has been, and continues to be an outspoken advocate for the young and old, working families and the poor. She is determined, dedicated and independent.

Her opponent, state Rep. Christopher Coutu, R-Norwich, cast the single No vote against a jobs bill, a $600 million bipartisan effort last year to jump start a sluggish economic recovery. Coutu says it was an act of courage.

It wasn’t, but it epitomizes an unwillingness to compromise and the kind of political posturing that he has exhibited many times in his four years in the House, such as suing the governor and Democratic leadership alleging a violation of the State Constitution in enacting an unbalanced budget, having himself several weeks earlier done the exact same thing in voting for an unbalanced budget.

We also find his disdain that he has shown for his opponent unbecoming and unnecessary, and in particular his criticism of her state pension — which she earned as a Correctional Department officer.

Two yearsago in a similar match-up, we endorsed Coutu over Osten while expressing our concern regarding her unwavering support of state employee unions in an even more difficult economic climate that required state unions to make major concessions.

Osten’s strong declaration that she owes no apologies to anyone for sticking up for working men and women is, in our opinion, admirable, and we are confident today that if elected she will serve the best interests of all Connecticut’s citizens.

Voters in the 19th Senatorial District will be well represented with the election of Catherine Osten.

Read more: Our View: Osten: A strong, independent voice - Norwich, CT - The Bulletin

Cathy endorsed by New London Day!

posted Oct 20, 2012, 9:10 AM by Sam Gilchrist

Article published Oct 20, 2012
Assessing a rematch in 19th Senate race

Two years ago Rep. Christopher Coutu and Sprague First Selectwoman Catherine Ann Osten faced each other in the race for the 47th House District seat, with the Republican Coutu winning a second term.

Now the two are going at it again, but much has changed.

Rep. Coutu decided to leave his House seat for a bid at higher office, originally campaigning for the U.S. congressional seat held by Rep. Joe Courtney. In May, Rep. Coutu pivoted away from that long-shot challenge when Sen. Edith Prague, who had held the 19th District state Senate seat since 1994, announced she was retiring.

Rep. Coutu seized this more realistic opportunity to move up the political ladder. In Ms. Osten he faces a formidable challenger, a candidate who has the strong backing of the fellow Democrat she seeks to replace - retiring Sen. Prague. The strength of that single endorsement, and Ms. Osten's own skill as a candidate, became evident when she defeated Rep. Tom Reynolds of Ledyard, a popular and respected lawmaker, in the Democratic primary.

Rep. Coutu, 36, and Ms. Osten, 57, now find themselves competing across the large state Senate district that begins in Ledyard and northeastern Montville and runs north through Norwich, Franklin, Sprague, Lisbon, Marlborough, Hebron, Columbia and Lebanon. Both are driven individuals, ready to fight for what they believe, which helps explain why this has been a particularly feisty contest.

Two years ago Rep. Coutu won this newspaper's endorsement. But things have changed in that regard as well. As an incumbent, Rep. Coutu got some benefit of the doubt as to whether he deserved rehiring. There is no incumbent in this race.

Both candidates have records that are two years longer. Rep. Coutu's knock on his opponent, a retired Department of Corrections lieutenant and a union leader, is that she will blindly back the demands of state labor unions to the detriment of taxpayers. In simple terms, he seeks to paint her as a tax-and-spend liberal.

But Ms. Osten's performance as a first selectwoman says otherwise. Under her leadership, taxpayers have seen only a small tax increase. By all accounts, she seeks to stretch tax dollars with a frugal Yankee temperament. While she has a deep-seated belief that workers deserve fair treatment and a living wage, she does not strike us as someone who will spend recklessly.

Rep. Coutu, on the other hand, has shown slavishness to his ideology of fiscal austerity. In October 2011 Democrats and Republicans joined in passing a massive $626 million jobs bill. In the best tradition of political compromise, both parties got some of what they wanted and settled for much that they didn't. The bill included tax credits for small and large businesses, the streamlining of permit processes, state financial inducements to attract new businesses and expand existing ones, along with funds for job training and critical infrastructure improvements.

The bill passed the House 147-1, with Rep. Coutu casting the lone no vote. Rep. Coutu characterizes it as a courageous vote. The bill, he said, was too expensive and unfairly makes government the arbiter of which businesses deserve help to succeed and which do not. But if Rep. Coutu could not bend his ideology to compromise on this, a jobs bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, on what legislation will he compromise for the good of his district?

And now that the bill is law, who will be best suited to fight to make sure the region gets its fair share of this stimulus help? Ms. Osten, a member of the likely Democratic majority who believes the state should play an active role in stimulating economic growth, or Rep. Coutu, who believes the government should cut taxes and regulations and leave matters up to the free market? The answer appears obvious.

At this time, in this district, The Day believes Catherine Ann Osten is the better choice and endorses her for state Senate.

Kelly Middle School Debate Recap

posted Oct 13, 2012, 7:44 PM by Sam Gilchrist

State senate candidates spar over jobs, finances

Chris Coutu, Cathy Osten debate the issues

Norwich, Conn. —

The candidates running to replace state Sen. Edith Prague in the state 19th Senate District accused each other Wednesday of being in the grip of wrong ideas on a range of issues, including the efficacy of a state jobs bill and municipal as well as state finances.

Read more: State senate candidates spar over jobs, finances - Norwich, CT - The Bulletin

Letter to the Editor from some Republican Supporters!

posted Oct 13, 2012, 7:43 PM by Sam Gilchrist

Norwich, Conn. —

Cathy Osten’s many accomplishments in Sprague and tireless work proves she would make a great state Senator. Her resourcefulness in obtaining grants for projects that have been long overdue speaks for itself — the Grist Mill renovation, senior housing rehabilitation, river park project and the High Street streetscape to name a few.
Cathy has a strong background in community involvement. She truly cares for the well-being of others and has made a positive contribution to our town. She champions what is best for people and not her own political gain.


Read more: Letter: Osten’s effort speak to her commitment - Norwich, CT - The Bulletin

Cathy and Coutu on CTV 'Town Talk'

posted Oct 13, 2012, 7:41 PM by Sam Gilchrist

19th State Senate Candidates Serving: Columbia, Lebanon, Norwich, Franklin, Sprague, Montville, Ledyard, Hebron, and Marlborough. Cathy Osten, Sprague's First Selectman Chris Coutu, State Representative (47th)...

See the video here:

Jobs bill at work!

posted Oct 13, 2012, 7:39 PM by Sam Gilchrist   [ updated Oct 13, 2012, 7:39 PM ]

Malloy dedicates center at QVCC

Businesses support new training program

Danielson, Conn. —

Calling the program “an important part of Connecticut’s future,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy joined education and political leaders Wednesday to dedicate the new Advanced Manufacturing Center at Quinebaug Valley Community College.

The center, which is educating 51 students this semester at the college and at nearby Harvard H. Ellis Technical School, awaits construction of its own classroom and shop facilities at the college.

LTE: Coutu should stop the petty politics

posted Sep 25, 2012, 11:59 AM by Sam Gilchrist

Norwich, Conn. —

What a fight is going on in the 19th Senatorial District. Cathy Osten and Chris Coutu both want the seat opened by Edith Prague’s retirement.
Mr. Coutu seems to think that any publicity is good publicity for his campaign. In Sprague, where Mr. Coutu’s face is hardly seen except around elections — and then only on his campaign signs — he recently appeared at a Board of Selectmen’s meeting to help a constituent who was upset over what might be, as Mr. Coutu put it, a “frightening abuse of executive power.” In case you didn’t know, that’s what Coutu calls it when a town’s chief of police, who just happens to be First Selectman Osten, his opponent in this race, installs a stop sign for public safety. Yes, a stop sign.
Politicizing petty issues for political gain. It’s what Mr. Coutu does best. That’s the sign voters should stop and think about.


Read more: Letter: Coutu should stop the petty politics - Norwich, CT - The Bulletin

Osten, Crawford endorsed by League of Conservation Voters

posted Sep 22, 2012, 11:50 AM by Sam Gilchrist

Published: 09/20/12

The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Democratic candidate Cathy Osten in the 19th District state Senate race and James Crawford in the 33rd District state Senate race.

Of those who requested endorsement from CTLCV this year and turned in surveys in a timely manner, only 25 percent of all Republicans and 25 percent of all Democrats were endorsed.

All endorsed candidates must be committed to protecting Connecticut's land, water, air and wildlife, and to working for sustainable solutions to pressing state issues like transportation, energy, and waste management, the group said in a press release.

Osten, current Sprague first selectman, is running against Republican 47th District state Rep. Christopher Coutu in the 19th District race that covers Norwich, Ledyard, northeastern Montville, Franklin, Sprague, Lisbon, Marlborough, Hebron, Columbia and Lebanon.

"(As Sprague first selectman) Cathy has shown commitment to environmental protection. Some of her accomplishments include saving over 280 acres of open space, working to establish a greenway from Lisbon through Windham, cleaning up local brownfields, creating a smart growth council, and creating community gardens.

Crawford, a current state Representative from Westbrook, is running for the 33rd state Senate seat against Republican Art Linares and Green Party candidate Melissa Schlag in the district that covers Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook.

"As a freshman legislator, Jim worked to promote water conservation, the preservation and protection of Long Island Sound and the development of mass transit," the endorsement press release said. "As a member of both the Shoreline Preservation Task Force and the (Genetically Modified Organisms) Task Force, Jim has shown willingness to devote time and energy to the environment."

Read more:

Letter: Osten’s proven her abilities to govern

posted Sep 22, 2012, 11:48 AM by Sam Gilchrist

Published: 09/16/2012

Cathy Osten has proven her political abilities as Sprague’s first selectman. She has made more improvements to the town than anyone in memory, and she did it while keeping taxes down. Her repeated re-election by huge majorities proves that the people who know her best are pleased with her service.
Do voters of the 19th Senatorial District need to know more? Let’s elect her to the state senate.


Read more:

19th Senate voters face stark choice in diverse district

posted Sep 22, 2012, 11:45 AM by Sam Gilchrist   [ updated Sep 22, 2012, 11:45 AM ]

By: Paul Choiniere
The New London Day

Published: 09/16/2012

How voters in the state's 19th Senate District perceive Rep. Chris Coutu's lone vote against the massive jobs bill approved by the General Assembly last October could go a long way in determining whether Coutu or his opponent, Sprague First Selectwoman Cathy Osten, will be representing that district come next year.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made it a point in reaching out to the General Assembly's Republican minority in getting the bill approved. It was not because he needed them - the Democrats had the votes to pass anything they wanted - but because he desired the legitimacy a bipartisan vote would provide. It was an astute political move.

In return for joining hands with the Democratic governor, Republicans got things they wanted - more assistance programs for small businesses, making the Business Entity Tax payable every other year rather than annually, and expanding use of tax credits to encourage investment in businesses.

Thus the $626 million jobs bill became everyone's bill, its success or failure owned collectively, the ability to criticize it muted because all signed on. Everyone, that is, except Rep. Coutu from the 47th District, encompassing Norwich and towns to the north. When the bill passed the House of Representatives, the vote was 147-1, and Coutu was the 1. (There was also one no vote in the Senate, Sen. Kevin Witkos, Republican from Canton.)

Coutu, the only Republican lawmaker from southeastern Connecticut and now a candidate for a Senate seat, wears this lone vote as a badge of courage. He argues that while there were some good things in the bill, the idea of the state borrowing more money to pay for tax credits and government investment in selected private businesses made no sense to him. The better option, he argues, is to cut government, lower taxes and make Connecticut more attractive to all businesses.

His Democratic opponent, Osten, contends that lone vote makes the case for why voters should reject Coutu's bid to move from the House to the Senate. As Osten sees it, casting the no vote was not an act of courage, but the act of an ideological extremist who does not recognize politics is the art of compromise. At every opportunity she tries to make the case that Coutu was too busy railing against the size of government and taxes to do the basic task of bringing funding back to the district and assisting its small businesses.

Which depiction the majority of the voters in the politically and culturally diverse district find most revealing and appealing could very well determine the outcome of the race. The sprawling district includes all or parts of Norwich, Ledyard, Montville, Franklin, Lebanon, Columbia, Hebron and Malborough. The seat became vacant with the retirement of popular Democratic Sen. Edith Prague, elected to nine straight terms.

There may be no other race in Connecticut that offers a clearer choice between such strong candidates.

While Osten has shown she can control a budget as first selectwoman of Sprague, she is at heart an unapologetic progressive. Osten is a former president of the supervisors' union for state prison guards and a strong defender of labor rights. She supports the Prevailing Wage Law, which requires the state, towns and cities to pay union-scale wages on most every construction project, but which she argues assures quality construction and living-wage paychecks. Osten backs the move to provide personnel care-givers the authority to unionize as a way of raising their compensation and benefits. She sees a significant role for the state government in providing seed money, loans and other forms of assistance to encourage business growth and development.

Coutu opposes all these things. He contends the hand of the unions is too strong, particularly in government, at great cost to taxpayers and businesses and to the benefit of the Democratic Party. Coutu decries that care-givers who don't want to be part of a union may be forced into one. He does not see it as the role of government to select which businesses to underwrite. He argues that Malloy is using the grants and loans provided by the jobs bill as a slush fund to boost his own standing and play favorites. One example, notes Coutu, is the $115 million in incentives the state will provide to a hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates of Westport, to convince it to build a $750 million headquarters in Stamford, where Malloy long served as mayor.

The woman who says she will go to Hartford to cooperate for the betterment of her district or the man who says he will fight the growth of government at every opportunity, even if it means casting the one lone no vote. That is the choice in the 19th Senate District.

Paul Choiniere is the editorial page editor.

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