D.C. Buzz: A taste of New Haven comes to Washington

November 9, 2017 GMT

In Washington, geographic loyalty goes only so far. In hiring a press secretary, a House member or senator generally looks for prowess in putting the lawmaker before cameras, trying for the right quotes in the right newspapers, and bookings on CNN and MSNBC.

But when he interviewed with Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Will Serio found that all politics is indeed local — at least in the fiery liberal House veteran’s office.

“We hit if off immediately,” said Serio, 26, a West Haven native. “She’s Italian, I’m Italian-Irish. We just get each other.’’

Serio has been DeLauro’s spokesman since August. And he married his college girlfriend, Louise Dufresne (now a producer with CBS News) here in the Washington area in September.

They served wedding guests locally produced New-Haven-style “Apizza.”

It was “a hit,” Serio reported, “but I still prefer Zuppardi’s and Pepe’s.’’


A 2009 graduate of West Haven High School as well as Vassar College class of 2013, Serio got his first taste of politics handing out literature in high school for a teacher running for City Council.

He edited a political journal at Vassar. But it was a deployment to the land of tumbling tumbleweed in West Texas that got him hooked. Serio worked in the 2012 campaign of Democrat Pete Gallegos in a district that stretches from San Antonio almost to El Paso — 580 square miles, making it larger than Connecticut.

Gallegos won that year but lost two subsequent bids. “It was a completely different world,” Serio said.

But equally important, he discovered politics can be a calling.

“It was like hey, the political world is open,” Serio said. “It’s something where you can have job and make a difference on the issues you care about.’’

Good-guy argument returns

After yet another mass shooting, the National Rifle Association was in hibernation — pretty much the sad norm in recent years. But the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday gave the gunslingers an opening: A local citizen brought out his own AR-15 and shot the AR-15-armed shooter twice.

The mass shooter, Devin P. Kelley, ultimately ended his own life with a self-inflicted shot to the head.

But it turns out the good Samaritan, Stephen Willeford, is an NRA member and certified firearms instructor. He represents “what the mainstream media doesn’t want you to hear,” an NRA TV announcer intoned online. “A good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun.’’

In Connecticut, one advocate to pick up the NRA’s beat was Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League.

“We are thankful that an armed, law-abiding citizen was able to help put an end to a horrific mass murder,” Wilson said. “While it might have been better and ended quicker if there were armed parishioners inside, this does illustrate the fact that an armed citizen can make a difference.”


Needless to say, none of this sits well with Connecticut’s congressional delegation — keepers of the gun-violence-prevention flame since the 2012 mass-shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted: ``Let’s be clear — nobody ‘stopped’ this shooting. 26 people, including little kids, are dead in one of our country’s worst mass killings.”

And Murphy told ABC News: “That’s certainly part of the mythology that the NRA wants this incident to be. Until we recognize that these powerful assault weapons kill so many people so quickly, we’re never going to stop this cascade of mass tragedies.”

De-escalating rhetoric

In tweets and at the United Nations in September, President Donald Trump taunted North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as “little rocket man” and threatened to “totally destroy’’ the rogue nation, if need be.

But on his 12-day swing through Asia, Trump has put belligerence aside in favor of . . . negotiations?

“It makes sense for North Korea to come to the table and make a deal that is good for the people of North Korea and for the world,” Trump said in South Korea.

But Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, believes the real Donald Trump is just taking a short break.

“The president’s rhetoric during this trip has been uncharacteristically diplomatic,” Murphy told reporters on Tuesday. “But let’s not kid ourselves. The braggadocio and loose talk is going to come back the minute he is alone inside the (White House) upon his return.’’

Murphy has introduced legislation requiring Trump to get a sign-off from Congress before commencing hostilities with North Korea — absent an imminent threat.

Trust but verify?

``This is a president surrounded by staff (in Asia, who) all of a sudden will be back on the loose once he’s grounded,” Murphy said, as though he were describing an errant kindergartner. “I think we are very worried about what this loose war talk will set off inside the North Korean power structure.’’