Submitted by Pete Beck, Greenwich
I urge voters in the August 17 election for a state senator to represent the 36th District to reject the candidacy of Ryan Fazio. As shown by his extensive writings (some of which I discuss below), I believe that it is not accurate to describe him as a traditional or moderate conservative.
Rather, he is a local spokesman for the new American right that supports policies that would do considerable harm to the people of Connecticut and to American democracy.
In the words of conservative writer Bill Kristol, “Not to put too fine a point on it, the New American Right is…anti-American.” (Twitter August 5, 2021, quoted in August 5, 2021, Washington Post column by Jennifer Rubin).
To learn his views, on July 16 I sent Fazio an email containing several questions about current political issues. He did not reply, so I sent the same questions on July 20. Again, I received no reply. I sent a third email with the same questions and added “If you are not willing to express your views, please tell me why.” That email bounced, and I was told by an agent of my email provider that Fazio had blocked receipt of any incoming email containing my name.
Putting aside questions about the policies he supports, Fazio’s refusal to even receive an email from a constituent who may disagree with him indicates that he is not qualified to represent the people of Greenwich, Stamford, and New Canaan.
Refuses to Say If He Agrees with Trump That Election Was Stolen. One of the questions in my email was whether he supports Donald Trump’s claim that the 2020 election was “stolen”. Trump’s repeated lies and actions to reverse the results of his overwhelming defeat include promoting the January 6 march on our nation’s capital and his demand that the Department of Justice reverse its opinion that the election result was not tainted by fraud and, instead, “just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me.” (New York Times July 30,2021).
January 6 has, so far, resulted in more than 500 criminal indictments, and the leaders of Department of Justice fortunately refused to accede to Trump’s demand that they endorse his big lie.
Fazio’s refusal to tell the voters whether he agrees with Trump’s big lie and fraudulent and possibly criminal actions to overturn the results of the election is further indication that he is not qualified to represent our senatorial district. A candid answer to the question is critical to evaluating Fazio’s core values and whether he respects the rules and traditions of our democracy.
Attacks Taxation to Support Healthcare. Fazio clearly expressed his views about government financed healthcare in an article in the extreme right-wing publication The Federalist on July 3, 2019. He wrote that to tax people to support government financing of healthcare is simply a socialist attack on our right to liberty and property – in his words “Is there anything more backward and barbaric than claiming that one man has the right to make another his beast of burden?”
Fazio’s claim that it is “barbaric” to tax people to support the healthcare of others tells us that given the opportunity he would oppose taxes to support government financed programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Childrens’ Health Insurance Program, as well as government financed healthcare research and state-owned healthcare facilities. As a state senator, he can’t touch Medicare, solely a federal program. However, as a state senator he could attack the funding for Medicaid, a joint federal/state program which together with children’s health insurance today provides healthcare for more than 935,000 people in Connecticut.
The result of a successful Fazio attack on Medicaid and children’s healthcare in our state would be widespread sickness, pain, and premature death … inevitable outcomes of the policies advocated by the extremist right wing.
Says It is Wrong to Publicly Protest Racism. At the 2019 Pan American Games, gold and bronze medal winner fencer Race Imboden took a knee during the awards ceremony. Imboden wrote in a tweet (August 9, 2019) that his purpose was to protest the “shortcomings of the country I hold so dear” including “racism, [need for better] gun control, mistreatment of immigrants and a president who spreads hate.”
Fazio responded on Twitter (August 13, 2019) calling Imboden’s words “a vicious lie about our country” by an “ingrate – whose country gave him everything.” For Fazio, if a successful American such as Imboden – also a medal winner in the 2020 Olympics – protests our nation’s failures, such as continuing racism and inadequate gun control, he is uttering a “vicious lie”.
In the words of Bill Kristol quoted above, Fazio’s view that it is a “vicious lie” to protest our nation’s shortcomings is simply anti-American.
Proposes Tax Cuts That Would Gut Services. Fazio says on his campaign website that Connecticut should “slash income tax rates” without telling the resulting amount of lost revenue.
However, to offset revenue loss from the tax cuts, he would end “billions” of tax credits and expenditures. The amount of tax credits, mainly focused on business development and aid to low-income families, is not a large share of the total state budget, so I assume that his proposal is to cut expenditures by at least two billion dollars a year, probably more.
The reduced expenditures would lead to substantial cuts in funding for services such as schools, police, roads and bridges, transportation, economic development, and parklands – in other words, cuts in the quality of life in Connecticut. And, in turn, the results would make Connecticut a less attractive place in which to live and do business, leading to population loss and difficulty attracting new businesses and retaining existing businesses.
The potential I am describing is not just theoretical. Starting in 2012 Kansas enacted a series of tax cuts and reductions in public services like those proposed by Fazio and promoted by far-right tax cut advocates. The result was a disaster leading to drastic cuts in public services (primarily education), reduced growth, a reduced state credit rating and higher borrowing costs, and missed payments by the state. In 2017 the state legislature voted to repeal the tax cuts; the repeal was vetoed by the Republican governor; and the state legislature overrode the veto. The governor resigned to take a job in the Trump administration, and in 2018 conservative Kansas elected a Democratic governor who is currently serving. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_experiment)
Please Vote for Gevanter.
There are two candidates running against Fazio, Democratic endorsed candidate Alexis Gevanter and petition candidate John Blankley. Both are well qualified to represent the 36th District in the state Senate. However, only Gevanter as a Democratic candidate running with the enthusiastic support of traditional Democratic voters, party leaders and hundreds of volunteers, can defeat Fazio.
A vote for Blankley would be akin to a vote for Ralph Nader rather than Al Gore in Florida in the 2000 presidential election, and we know the consequences of that election. Please, don’t let it happen here in Connecticut.