They may not have always agreed on everything, but Tom Swan executive director of Connecticut Citizens Action Group said there wasn’t an elected official in the room Friday that the progressive advocacy group hasn’t pushed.
When it came to honoring retiring U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd it was the “totality of his accomplishments,” the group celebrated Friday evening with three speeches and three video tributes.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Dodd’s first chief of staff, said it took Dodd seven years to get the Family Medical Leave Act passed but he introduced it year after year. When DeLauro was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she recalled Dodd telling her that her job would be there for her when she returned.
She said Dodd was committed toward progress and was always concerned about the people beyond the walls of the Senate chamber.
“I will miss you. The U.S. Congress will miss you,” DeLauro said.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who announced his campaign for Dodd’s seat hours after Dodd announced his retirement Jan. 6, told the crowd of more than 500 in attendance Friday evening.
“I have an impossible job,“ Blumenthal said. “Even talking about filling Chris Dodd’s shoes is impossible, but trying to duplicate the swagger and the rhythm.”
By the time Dodd took the stage Friday evening he joked that the evening of congratulatory farewell speeches amounted to a pretty good filibuster.
He said his decision not seek reelection last Jan. 6 was tough, but knowing Blumenthal would be the candidate and Connecticut’s next U.S. Senator, no matter how much money his opponent spent, made it a little easier.
While most of the evening remained a tribute to Dodd there may have also been an undercurrent of future political posturing with several potential 2012 U.S. Senate candidates in the room. Ted Kennedy Jr,, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, and U.S. Reps. Chris Murphy and Joe Courtney were all working the crowd prior to the formal program.