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D.C. Buzz: Not lining up to run for governor

April 19, 2017 GMT

Not many interested Connecticut Dems waited for the exit door to hit Gov. Dannel Malloy in the hind-quarter before throwing their hats in a circle of nutmeg. But conspicuously absent were any Democrats of the congressional delegation in D.C.

What’s the matter? After the bright lights of Capitol Hill, Hartford is dullsville? The reps who didn’t dodge the query outright insisted it’s not like that at all.

“I truly love my job,” said Rep. Elizabeth Esty. “Being in Congress is important, and I believe I’m most effective as a legislator.’’

Sen. Chris Murphy, asked whether he’d ever considered a run for governor, bluntly replied “no.”

Asked to elaborate, he said: “We have a lot of interest among Democrats, so I’m sure we’ll end up with a great candidate.” He added: “But not Chris Murphy.’’

Environmental watchdogs

For Yazmin Khan, solidarity really is forever. The 34-year-old Norwalk native — Norwalk High class of 2000 — is a foot soldier in the army of young advocates in D.C. working to make the world a better place. She serves as the digital campaign manager for the League of Conservation Voters, which tracks lawmakers’ eco-voting records and works to build support for those with proven pro-environmental cred.

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These are tough times for Yazmin and her colleagues. President Donald Trump and his EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, are working to subvert decades of environmental legislation. U.S. adherence to the Paris Climate Agreement is very much in doubt.

The league’s network of 2 million “is very, very engaged,” she said. “We’ve had huge increases in followers on Twitter and Facebook, and huge increase in donations.’’ The next target of opportunity is the People’s Climate Movement march on Washington on April 29.

Yazmin credits her family upbringing in Norwalk with two sisters and parents originally from India.

“I was always a news junkie as a little kid.”

Volunteering at Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium and Japanese immersion (including two trips to Japan) at school broadened her horizons and sensitized her to the fragility of the world’s many eco-systems.

When not working, you would find Yazmin at home just over the D.C. line in Maryland with her Greenwich-raised husband, Patrick Horton, who works for an animal rights organization. They care for a rescue dog, Shehroo.

Anything she misses about life in Norwalk? “Being by the water,” she said. “I miss that the most.’’

A shift in influence

Depending how you look at the rocky start of the Trump administration, you may not realize that the inmates no longer have a lock on the asylum. In fact, the foreign policy team — which some D.C. wags have labelled “the adults” — is winning cautious praise for muscular management of crises in Syria, Korea and Afghanistan.

Heck, they’ve even put some respectable distance between Trump and the despot he admires most, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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For better or worse, the world knows there’s a new set of sheriffs in town and it hasn’t prompted the start of World War III — at least not yet.

For the record, the “adults” are Secretary of Defense James Mattis, White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Three of the four are retired generals. Tillerson ran ExxonMobil and has experience negotiating international deals.

Their rise dovetails with the fall of the black-helicopter paranoids, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (fired), and Steve Bannon (sidelined).

So does Murphy, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sleep better at night knowing grown-ups have their collective grip firmly on the foreign policy rudder?

Sort of, he said, but the team dominated by former generals still lacks a career diplomat.

“Military policy is not foreign policy,” he said. “Experience in leading a brigade is a separate skill set from creating stability in messy places like the Middle East.’’

The facts on the ground also helped to usher in the “adults,” and push Flynn and Bannon off stage, Murphy said.

“Facts are starting to win out,” he said. “Russia doesn’t want to work with us in Syria, and that’s a fact. It was outlandish to ever think we could work with Russia to defeat ISIS.’’

— dan@hearstdc.com