Former governor John Rowland will stand trial in federal court in June, ten years after he resigned from office to face corruption charges that would eventually lead to prison. What is next for this one-time political star? This Sunday on Face the State we will discuss the case with a panel of experts: Duby McDowell, Brian Flaherty, and the man who broke the story, Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie of Daily Ructions.
John Rowland was a fixture on Channel 3 Sunday morning political shows for more than a decade. He came on Face the State many times, dating back to the 1980s and in the 90s when the program was renamed annually (CT-94, CT-95, etc.) He came on as a congressman, gubernatorial candidate, and ultimately, governor.
I remember seeing the governor’s state-issued black Lincoln Town Car parked outside Broadcast House in downtown Hartford on occasional Friday mornings, meaning the then governor was in for a taping with Duby McDowell, Jeff Cole and later Al Terzi. In keeping with his political persona, Rowland always took time to meet with staffers and be interviewed on his way out.
Rowland’s final appearance on “Face the State” came in May of 2004, to be interviewed by Al. Rowland was in the throes of an investigation, and fending off calls for impeachment. To his credit, he came into our studios when it would have been much easier to avoid the cameras Al asked Rowland about the media, and the answer was lengthy, and focused on the state’s largest newspaper. The governor announced his resignation 6 weeks later. Watch it here:
Ironically, Rowland was a key figure in the survival of Face the State. In the late 1990s, our general manager (who is no longer with the company) told Duby he wanted to cancel the program, presumably to replace it with a lucrative infomercial.
Politicians got wind of the ill-conceived plan, and fought to save the show from the trash bin. Democratic activist Jonathan Pelto and GOP chairman Dick Foley organized a campaign, and then Rowland stepped in. According to Duby, it all came to a head when the assistant to our general manager interrupted him in the middle of a meeting to tell him “the governor” was on the phone. Legend has it Rowland implored that the GM not cancel the broadcast, citing its importance to the state.
After he left office, Rowland was invited to come on Face the State by Al and later me, but declined those invitations with one exception. He came in for a taping of a special to mark ten years since 9/11.
You can watch that here: https://dennishouse.tv/2011/09/11/face-the-state-remembers-911/
We’re hoping the former governor will come in for a Face the State appearance before his trial, but we’re not counting on it.
Also this morning we are talking about the case of Justina Pelletier: https://dennishouse.tv/2014/04/11/west-hartford-father-seeks-help-from-governor-malloy/