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Conn. Dems Helped Protest of Gov.

October 9, 2002

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The campaign manager for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Bill Curry acknowledged that a staff member helped set up a noisy protest that disrupted a tour by the Republican incumbent.

Campaign manager Roy Occhiogrosso said he planned to take action against the worker, but would not say whether the person would be fired.

``It shouldn’t have happened and it won’t happen again. I’m taking care of it internally,″ he said Tuesday. ``It is not the job of any member of this campaign to disrupt any public function.″

Gov. John G. Rowland and the visiting mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, had planned Monday to tour a Hartford neighborhood targeted for improvement, but Rowland canceled the trip after the 20 to 40 protesters showed up.

Some in the crowd waved ``Curry for Governor″ signs, and several held bullhorns and chanted, ``Enron, Enron,″ referring to the state trash authority’s failed $220 million deal with the former energy giant.

``They were loud and really insulting,″ said Carlos Lopez, vice president of the Park Street Special Services District.

Occhiogrosso said he learned that the campaign staffer was involved when The Associated Press showed him an e-mail sent by the staffer that called on supporters to ``follow (Rowland) around with signs, smiles, and the truth.″

A spokesman for Rowland’s re-election campaign said the link was not surprising that Curry staff members were clearly working with other groups.

``The Curry campaign has been following the governor around for several weeks at whatever public appearances they can find on his schedule,″ spokesman Dean Pagani said.

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On the Net:

http://www.curryforct.com

http://www.rowland02.com

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