Show cover of Y CT Matters

Y CT Matters

There are personalities behind the policies. And when we disagree, the common ground is ... conversation. Yankee Institute President Carol Platt Liebau talks with people across our state and country about the topics that are impacting YOU — and covers the human interest stories that make Connecticut unique. Join us weekly for news, policy — and a bit of fun thrown in, as well.


Ep. 100: Fighting for Free Speech With Humor with Seth Dillon
It’s our 100th episode! To mark the significant milestone, Carol talked with Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee, a satirical news site. Known for their conservative wit and “prophecies” (when jokes become reality), the Bee was famously locked out of its Twitter account over a joke. This action prompted Elon Musk to buy the social media giant. Dillon discusses why the Bee was founded, comedy in today’s climate, censorship and free speech, and interactions with Musk. Find the Babylon Bee’s work here.Also, hear more from Dillon at YI’s “Champions of Freedom Gala” on April 27 at the Woodway Country Club in Darien. Purchase your tickets before April 17 while there are still seats! Buy them here:
26:03 4/12/24
Ep. 99: Who is Carol Platt Liebau? Hosted by Andy Fowler
For 98 episodes, YI President Carol Platt Liebau has discussed Connecticut policy, politics and human-interest stories as part of the organization’s efforts to be your eyes, ears and voice. But now the interviewer becomes the interviewee. Andy Fowler, director of internal affairs, guest hosts, asking Carol about her background, her love for Ronald Reagan, her time at Ivy League Schools, the evolution of Yankee Institute during her tenure, her hope for Connecticut and even her favorite musicals. Carol’s full bio can be found here.
41:41 4/5/24
Ep. 98: How Scholarships Benefit Students with Tricia Tucker
How do scholarships benefit students? And how would a tax credit, if passed by the General Assembly, boost providing more educational access to low-income children? Tricia Tucker, head teacher/principal at Fairfield County SDA School, shares students’ journeys from public to private schools and the impact scholarships have had on her school. Learn more about the school here.
21:36 3/29/24
Ep. 97: Solar and Wind Batteries' "Fatal Flaw" with Nick Pope
The Independent System Operator-New England (ISO-NE) is warning that the batteries pushed by blue states in the region to prepare the grid for increased solar and wind generation may have significant trouble recharging in low temperatures. Nick Pope – a Connecticut native and Daily Caller contributor – shares further insights into the report. Find his full article here.
25:58 3/22/24
Ep. 96: How Tax-Credit Scholarships Will Help Low-Income Students Thrive with Carolanne Marquis
The Connecticut Center for Educational Excellence (CTCEE), a Yankee Institute project, launched just over a year ago, providing scholarships to low-income students and families across Connecticut. Carolanne Marquis, the CEO of CTCEE, shares how 900-plus families have applied for such scholarships, and how students have already benefited emotionally and scholastically in less than a year at their new schools. She also advocates for an active bill before the Finance Committee that would create a state-level tax-credit scholarship program. This program would incentivize greater support for scholarships that help the students and families who need it most. To learn more about CTCEE and tax-credit scholarships, click here.
23:32 3/15/24
Ep. 95: Identifying Key Issues with New Senate Minority Leader Stephen Harding
After his election to the 30th Senate District in 2023, Stephen Harding was named the Senate Minority Leader in February. He joins the show to share insights into key issues, such as housing, fiscal responsibility and electric vehicle mandates, as well as collaborating with different caucuses. Learn more about him here.  
22:44 3/8/24
Ep. 94: The Positives & Challenges of Working in CT with Chris Ulbrich
In a recent report by PJ Media, over 75% of red state business owners say they are happy in their current location, while only about 30% of blue state employers say the same. So what is it like doing business in Connecticut? Chris Ulbrich — CEO of Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc. — explains the positives and challenges of operating in the Constitution State. Learn more about his company, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, here.
19:04 3/1/24
Ep. 93: George Washington's Legacy with Prof. Kevin Gutzman
Who was George Washington? Why does he still matter in American life? Historian Kevin Gutzman, a professor and former chairman in the Department of History at Western Connecticut State University, returns to the podcast to share Washington’s monumental legacy and why he is worthy of praise today. His latest book The Jeffersonians is available now. Learn more at
30:40 2/23/24
Ep. 92: One Week Into Session with Bryce Chinault & Meghan Portfolio
The General Assembly’s new legislative session began on Feb. 7. So what’s happened since then? More than you’d expect. Yankee Institute’s Bryce Chinault (Director of External Affairs) and Meghan Portfolio (Manager of Research and Analysis) break down what bills are being introduced and the scuttlebutt at the Capitol. Learn more on YI’s breakdown on bills on our Take Action page, here.
26:43 2/16/24
Ep. 91: FAQs about the Electrical Grid & Energy Infrastructure with Portia Conant
What do we mean when we talk about the electrical grid? What are Independent System Operators (ISOs)? How will energy infrastructure and markets be impacted by electric vehicle mandates? Portia Conant — senior markets analyst from Yes Energy — joins the podcast to answer those questions and more. Learn more about Yes Energy here.
26:56 2/9/24
Ep. 90: Why the Fiscal Guardrails Were Established, and Why They Still Matter with Suzanne Bates
The CT Mirror released a three-part series examining the effectiveness and viability of the 2017 bipartisan fiscal guardrails. Some state leaders believe they’re needed, others argue for reforms, and another contingent suggests eliminating the guardrails entirely. But Suzanne Bates — a former Yankee Institute Policy Director who sat on the Spending Cap Commission that presented the guardrails — notes how quickly state lawmakers have forgotten the financial mess that befell Connecticut from the government’s loose spending. She explains why the guardrails were established, and why they still matter.
22:19 2/2/24
Ep. 89: How Going “Green” Hurt California…And How It’ll Hurt CT with Edward Ring
 In 2004, Connecticut agreed to adopt California’s emissions standards. Fast forward 20 years, state lawmakers are now discussing how to implement electric vehicle (EV) mandates like the Golden State. But how has shifting to “green” energy impacted California? Edward Ring of the California Policy Center explains the detrimental effects, and why Connecticut should steer clear. Learn more about him here.  
24:16 1/26/24
Ep. 88: The Presidential Primaries with Prof. Gary Rose
With Donald Trump winning the Iowa Caucuses, how will the subsequent primaries play out, including Connecticut? How will the other candidates react? Prof. Gary Rose, who teaches political science at Sacred Heart University, gives insights to the 2024 Presidential Election.
30:04 1/18/24
Ep. 87: The Problems of EV Mandates with Sen. Jeff Gordon
Electric vehicle (EV) mandates have not been thought through, argues Sen. Jeff Gordon (R-35th District). From building sufficient infrastructure to being unable to charge EVs during power outages, there are a host of issues with the government mandates. However, Sen. Gordon expects EV mandates to be proposed during the session, starting Feb. 7. 
20:19 1/12/24
Ep. 86: Forecasting the 2024 Legislative Session with Eric Gjede
From electric vehicle mandates to housing, what policies will be up for debate in the upcoming legislative session, beginning Feb. 7? Eric Gjede, a chief lobbyist at Statehouse Associates, shares his insights for what’s in store in 2024.
17:16 1/5/24
Ep. 85: How CT Laws Hurt Local Restaurants
The state’s restaurants are hurting, still recovering from the pandemic and overburdened by regulations. Meanwhile, a ‘one fair wage’ bill that’s been introduced in other states and is gaining traction here — which would mandate minimum wage for tipped workers — would make things even harder for businesses, limit workers’ income and make a night out more expensive. Scott Dolch, President and CEO of the Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA), explains. Learn more about the CRA here. 
23:53 12/29/23
Ep. 84: Christmas Movies in CT with Tricia Ennis
The show producer has not yet provided a description for this episode.
22:38 12/22/23
Ep. 83: Antisemitism and Free Speech on College Campuses with Lauren Noble
 How has the Israel-Hamas war impacted free speech at Yale University and on other college campuses? Lauren Noble, executive director and founder of the Buckley Institute at Yale, shares insights onthe impact of increased antisemitism, and discusses a new study about how more students support shout downs than oppose them. Learn more about the Buckley Institute here. 
22:53 12/15/23
Ep. 82: What Hannukah Means with Rabbi Ari Weisenfeld
What is Hanukkah and what does it mean for the Jewish people this year, especially in light of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas? Rabbi Ari Weisenfeld, director of Agudath Israel of America office in Connecticut, explains the holiday’s history and why it has been, and remains, a source of spiritual strength for the Jewish people over thousands of years.
27:27 12/8/23
Ep. 81: Fighting Against Ballot Fraud in Bridgeport with Cameron Atkinson
Video evidence of multiple people dumping votes into absentee ballot dropboxes in Bridgeport ignited controversy, a trial, and a new mayoral primary. But the perpetrators have not faced direct charges. So a group of city residents have filed a lawsuit on Nov. 21 demanding them to be arrested for ballot fraud. Cameron Atkinson, a criminal defense and civil rights attorney, is leading the suit on behalf of Fight Voter Fraud, Inc., a Connecticut-based “non-profit, non-partisan” group created to “advocate on behalf of all disenfranchised voters, regardless of party affiliation.” He provides insight into the suit and the upcoming primary, as well as protecting the voting process. Learn more in Connecticut Inside Investigator’s coverage, here.   
21:08 12/1/23
Ep. 80: The Woman Behind Thanksgiving Becoming a National Holiday with Mike Allegra
How did Thanksgiving become a national holiday? Although President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863, much of the grassroots campaign is tied to the tenacity of Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book (the most widely circulated magazine at the time) and author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Author Mike Allegra, who wrote Sarah Gives Thanks, joins the show to discuss Hale’s efforts to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, as well as her abolitionist and charitable efforts. Learn more about his book, here. 
26:21 11/24/23
Ep. 79: How Nonprofits Can Innovate for Social Change with Leah Kral
How can nonprofits and charitable organizations innovate their way toward new and exciting possibilities? Leah Kral — senior director of strategy and innovation at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University — studies just that in her latest book Innovation for Social Change: How Wildly Successful Nonprofits Inspire and Deliver Results. She explores hands-on design thinking strategies and techniques to use as a disciplined process for exploring what’s possible in your organization, as well as on ways to focus your efforts so that they can have the greatest impact. Learn more about the book here.
22:07 11/17/23
Ep. 78: How the Tax Foundation Ranked CT with Jared Walczak
The Tax Foundation recently released its 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index. So where did Connecticut rank overall? How did Connecticut stack up against other states in varying subcategories? Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects for the Tax Foundation and author of the Index, explains Connecticut’s rankings and how it could improve. Read the full report here.
23:30 11/10/23
Ep. 77: The True Costs of Electric Vehicles with Brent Bennett
Are electric vehicles (EVs) less expensive than their gas-powered counterparts? Are they destined to bethe future once the government mandates kick in? The simple answer: no. According to “Overcharged Expectations: Unmasking the True Costs of Electric Vehicles,” federal and state governments are driving the auto industry “off an economic cliff.” Brent Bennett – the Life:Powered policy director at the Texas Public Policy Foundation – explains his findings on EVs and their true costs. Read the full report here. 
31:27 11/3/23
Ep. 76: How 8-30g Has Failed in CT with David Flemming & Meghan Portfolio
Since its implementation, 8-30g has not solved the affordable housing issue but instead has exacerbated it, say Yankee Institute’s David Flemming and Meghan Portfolio in the latest policy paper, Failure by Mandate: Connecticut and 8-30g. They explore the history behind 8-30g, its unanticipated consequences, how it undermines localism, and offer commonsense solutions to address Connecticut’s affordable housing issues. Read their findings here.
21:19 10/27/23
Ep. 75: Avoiding Over-Regulating Earned Wage Access with Justin Hosie
Many Americans struggle with debt, living paycheck to paycheck. Going to a payday lender or credit card company may be a short-term solution, but a long-term issue with paying off the interest. However, earned wage access (EWA) is another solution. EWA — sometimes referred to as early pay — is the ability for employees to access a portion of their already earned wages, if needed, outside of a traditional pay cycle. Yet states like Connecticut are over-regulating the ability for people to access their own money to help them make ends meet. Justin Hosie, a partner at Hudson Cook, LLP, explains.
17:37 10/20/23
Ep. 74: A Shelter is Failing Teen Girls with Michael Criss
Harwinton has a problem.  In the past two years, first responders have been called hundreds of times to the Short Term Assessment & Respite (STAR) Home, a DCF-funded shelter. There have been missing girls, stolen vehicles, burglaries, physical and sexual assaults, sex trafficking and injuries to both STAR residents and state troopers responding to melees within the home. First Selectman Michael Criss explains how the shelter is failing the young girls in STAR, and how Harwinton has been impacted. Learn more about the ongoing problem in Marc Fitch's report in Connecticut Inside Investigator, here. 
19:46 10/13/23
Ep. 73: How a Teacher Beat the Labor Union with John Grande
John Grande, a physical education teacher in Hartford, was reprimanded for his actions during a mandatory training on “privilege.” After filing a grievance with the local board of education, Grande reached out to the Hartford Federation of Teachers Local 1018 to take the matter to arbitration — but they wouldn’t because he was not “a paying member.” Grande took legal action, as unions must represent all Connecticut government employees equally, regardless of their membership status. He fought the union on the matter. And the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations agreed with him. Grande shares his story. Read Connecticut Inside Investigator’s report on Grande’s case here.
22:45 10/6/23
Ep. 72: Hurdles to Build a Small Business in CT
Aaron Vnuk is the owner of the crossfit gym in North Haven and founder of Blind River Studios, an independent production company. He is also blind — but he continues to rise above challenges and pursue his dreams. However, Connecticut’s business climate has made it difficult for him as a small business owner to thrive with its regulatory and tax policy. He explains how. Learn more about Blind River Studios here.  
27:34 9/29/23
Ep. 71: Why CT’s Investments are Underperforming with Jeff Sonnenfeld & Steven Tian
Connecticut’s public pension funds have one of the worst investment track records of any state in the nation with long-term, chronic investment underperformance, according to a report released by Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute (CELI). With their research team, Prof. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Steven Tian investigated why Connecticut’s underperformance has cost the state billions — while offering solutions on how to reverse course. Read the full report here.
27:09 9/22/23