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Sound Bites: Who’s looking to fill Santos’ seat?

Rep.-elect George Santos, R-N.Y., top center, sits in the House chamber on the opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington.
Alex Brandon
Rep.-elect George Santos, R-N.Y., top center, sits in the House chamber on the opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington.

Good morning. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has until the end of the week to issue a special election after the expulsion of George Santos (R-NY) from Congress on Friday. The election must be scheduled within 60 to 70 days of that proclamation.

“It’s been an abysmal run for him, and he has not done what he has to do for New Yorkers. And I'm glad he's gone because I need people I can work with to fight for New York, to bring federal money to our state, to create jobs and opportunities,” Hochul, a Democrat, said. “And George Santos just took up space.”

Nearly two dozen candidates have filed federal financial disclosures ahead of the upcoming special election. With no time for a primary, party leaders will have to make their nominations before voters are expected to go to the polls in February.

The short-list includes: 

Austin Cheng
Kellen Curry
Anna Kaplan
Gregory Hach
Scott Linvingston
Thomas Ludwig
Tom Suozzi
Mike Sapraicone
Jim Toes

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we’re hearing: 

More than 7,000 truckloads of waste have been removed from the former Raymark Industries site in Stratford since cleanup began in 2020. The Environmental Protection Agency expects another 2,000 truckloads remain in about two dozen polluted properties. The EPA crews are on track to clear them of hazardous debris by next summer. The total cost of the cleanup has ballooned to around $140 million in expenses.

Sag Harbor’s police chief is suspended. Austin McGuire is suspended for 30 days without pay while an investigation is underway. The Village Board has charged McGuire with 32 charges of misconduct, incompetence and insubordination after allegedly appearing in public intoxicated both on and off duty. The village seeks his termination. McGuire was on paid sick leave from July through mid-September, and has been on administrative leave since then. His lawyers are working on a settlement.

A New Haven police sergeant fired for lying about a traffic stop will get her job back. A state labor arbitration board said the city had not effectively proven that Shayna Kendall repeatedly lied about how she handled the off-duty traffic stop of a Yale hospital nurse. Kendall was fired in August 2022 after not documenting pulling over the nurse in an unmarked department vehicle. The nurse, who honked at Kendall, complained it was an abuse of power. Kendall will receive back pay.

Connecticut has approved the closure of Windham Hospital’s labor and delivery ward. The state Office of Health Strategy said the hospital, owned by Hartford Healthcare, must hire a consultant to assess the need for establishing a birthing center in the area. If there is a need, it must either operate or find a provider to operate the center. The hospital will also be responsible for providing emergency and nonemergency transportation for the birthing parent. Johnson Memorial in Stratford and Sharon Hospital have also asked to close their birthing services.

Groton will no longer observe Columbus Day. Instead, the southeastern Connecticut town will celebrate Italian Heritage and Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the second Monday in October. The nearby Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation applauded the town’s decision. New London has also canceled Columbus Day over the Italian explorer’s questionable legacy of genocide and colonialization.

Two court orders will force Long Island police departments to release officer misconduct records. In 2021, Newsday sued Nassau and Suffolk County police after the newspaper was refused most disciplinary records or received heavily redacted documents that are required to be made public under a 2020 law. A state Supreme Court judge in Riverhead and the state Appellate Division said the departments improperly used a blanket privacy exemption in cases where an internal investigation did not substantiate wrongdoing or impose discipline.

An investigation is underway into a shootout with West Haven police that killed a man. The gunman was killed by police who responded to a domestic violence call early Friday morning. The man shot an officer in the leg before police open fired. Police said the unnamed person was given CPR and medical attention before being transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Rep. Nick LaLota is in George Santos’ crosshairs. Santos wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that he’d be filing ethics complaints against LaLota (R-NY) and other Republicans who the disgraced congressman feels also broke the law. LaLota served as the head of the Suffolk County Board of Elections prior to Congress. Santos faults him on obtaining his law degree from Hofstra University while earning a public salary.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is home to a new white-naped crane. Named Khing, the bird came to Bridgeport from the Akron Zoo in Ohio. Khing will have a friend in Cora, the zoo’s other white-naped crane. The hope is that they will be more than friends as they reach maturity this breeding season. White-naped cranes are known to form "monogamous, long-lasting pair bonds." The species is considered “vulnerable” because boggy wetlands in Asia are drying up. There are fewer than 4,500 left in the world.

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A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.