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Rep. Jack Hennessy Apologizes For Playing Solitaire at State Capitol During Late-Night Budget Debate

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Rep. Jack Hennessy, a Bridgeport Democrat, has had his picture displayed around the Internet as one of two Connecticut legislators playing solitaire during a state budget debate.

The incident occurred August 31 in the historic Hall of the House in Hartford as House Republican leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk was delivering a lengthy speech on the two-year, $37.6 billion budget.

The picture, by Associated Press photographer Jessica Hill, shows the back of Hennessy's head, along with Rep. Barbara Lambert, a Milford Democrat, who was sitting next to him.

In a letter to Bridgeport residents, Hennessy apologized as follows:

"It was certainly bad judgment for me to play a computer game even for just a few minutes during the final House session on the budget. I am embarrassed, and I apologize to each and every person in the North End and to people across the state.

"My actions were inexcusable. I do want my constituents to know that my poor judgment for a few moments on Monday in no way means I ignored your interests in representing you on this very serious matter. Over the past seven months, as a member of the General Assembly's Finance Committee, I have participated fully in the budget process and have played an active role in crafting a budget that provides the necessary services that our communities so desperately need while at the same time minimizing any negative impact on the city of Bridgeport and its people.

"I sincerely apologize to each of you. I look forward to having the continued privilege of representing you and your interests in Hartford. I thank you in advance for your understanding and have been humbled by those of you who have already expressed your understanding and forgiveness.''

The solitaire incident was discussed in an interview broadcast over the weekend on Channel 30's "Newsmakers'' program with longtime host Tom Monahan. House Speaker Christopher Donovan and Cafero squared off on the issue, as they have on many other issues.

"Was it a funny picture? Yes,'' Donovan said. "Was there any disrespect to Larry? No.''

Cafero responded, "This has made international news because it captures the frustration of the public. While Rome is burning, they're playing solitaire.''

2 Comments

Employees in the private sector would be fired for such indescrition.

Dave, if all the employees in the private sector who commit such indescrition [sic :] were fired, Unemployment would be significantly higher than even the present awful 10%.

Of course next year the voters of North Bridgeport CAN fire Rep. Hennessy for this unspeakable Computer Crime if they feel like it. Me, if I were in his district I think I just might vote against him for the pandering Cravenness of his ridiculously overblown Apology. "My actions were inexcusable." What nonsense. Stand up for yourself, Jack. Nobody who has ever heard one of Larry Cafero's orations - or even heard ABOUT one of them - could blame you for seeking late-night Refuge in a silent little game of Solitaire. ;>

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Christopher Keating has been The Courant's Capitol bureau chief for 12 of the past 14 years, covering the administrations of Governors Lowell P. Weicker, ... read more

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