Camillo: Constructive criticism comes with the job. Criticism with malice is toxic.

Letter to the editor submitted by State Rep Fred Camillo who is running for re-election

To the editor,

When I decided to serve my home town and district at the state Capitol, I knew that public service would also come with the sometimes dirty side of the political world. In the past two election cycles, that reality has hit home here in my hometown of Greenwich.

A recent letter writer and frequent GOP critic, accused me of ducking the gun vote of 2013.

This man knows full well that I had just undergone two cancer operations and was in NYC that day to meet with my doctors to go over treatment plans. It was covered in the newspapers (something I was not happy about since I had already sent out an e-blast to my constituents in the 151st District ), and as one who loves to blog and research bills, it would not have been too hard for him to find this information.

I have not spoken in public much about what is a private matter, but this person and a few others deserve not only my response, but to be publicly called out for lying.  We only get a few things in this world that we can control, mainly our word, our records, and our reputation. I am proud of mine. I doubt he can say the same.

He then goes on to state another lie: that in 2012, I ” resigned ” from a pro-growth, free enterprise legislative organization due to pressure from my then opponent. This would be laughable if not so outrageous. I had not rejoined (not resigned, as this man concludes, and as usual, with no supporting evidence) that previous year because of the the time and cost involved.  Whether the American Legislative Exchange Council ( ALEC )  or the National Conference of State Legislatures ( NCSL ), these organizations are helpful to all legislators interested in good policy.

In fact, calls to these organizations helped me craft many of my legislative bills that gained passage and were signed into law, including many in public safety and consumer protection. His revisionist history falls flat on its distorted face.

Another letter writer from the DTC states that I voted against same sex marriage and against paid family medical leave, among other things. Regarding the former, there was never a vote on that as the law was via judicial fiat (strange since the judiciary is to interpret laws, not make them). The judicial ruling was in 2008, prior to my even being in the legislature.

On March 6th, 2009, we did vote on a bill to codify the judicial ruling with statutes. If strictly based on the ruling, it would have been a lay up. However, the state Democrats threw things in the bill that were, in the opinion of many, overreaches, like punishing a justice of the peace who may have had a religious reason for declining to perform a civil union service as well as concerns voiced at the time regarding its inclusion in the schools (teaching it as part of the curriculum).

I remember thinking that we should not be in the business of teaching about any marriage in our schools, and thought that someone’s religious beliefs should not open him or her up to punishment.

Regarding the latter, we questioned the proponents of the bill and stated our concerns that it was not the time for anti-business bills (right in the middle of the Great Recession) and of the concern that it would trickle down to companies with less than 50 employees. Guess what happened? This year, Democrats introduced another version of this bill that hits businesses with as low as two employees! I believe in encouraging people to start a business, not look to drain them every time the legislature looks for a revenue grab. I was proud to oppose this legislation.

Yet another partisan, this one claiming to be the co-founder of the Indivisible Greenwich group, writes an op-ed (one of a few that are not truthful, but just partisan talking points) that lied about a teacher tax promoted by state Republicans.

Since when is requiring another one percent contribution (from 6% to 7%) a tax when the money goes back to the teacher (every penny) and will shore up their pension fund?

The national average is 8%, while neighboring Massachusetts is at 11%. That is Deception 101. As a former teacher who has again been endorsed by the Association of Retired Teachers of CT, I will continue to support delivering on what has been promised to our teachers.

I love our town, our district, and state too much to sit by and watch gutter politics reign supreme here. It is time for all good people to reject the lies, deflections, distortions, and demagoguery that this national group with a town branch  is doing along with a few partisan DTC members.

Watch the recent debate. Read our records of accomplishment in Hartford. Talk to your neighbors who have worked with us. This is where the truth will be found.

As someone born and raised in the best town in the nation, I am both saddened and disgusted by some of a few of our newer fellow residents bringing garbage into the public discourse. Nevertheless, I am more passionate than ever about our town, our district, our state, and our records. Public service is a great honor. It comes with criticism, which when of the constructive variety, is a very good thing. When it is done with malice, it is toxic.

The words of the great 26th President of the United States never rang more true than now….

“It is not the critic who counts. … The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly … who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

I am  very proud to serve with some of the most honorable, decent, forward-thinking, and hard-working people, namely the Greenwich Delegation.

Thank you Rep. Mike Bocchino, Rep. Livvy Floren, and Sen. Scott Frantz for showing what true public service is.

Note: The deadline for letters in support of candidates in the November 6, 2018 election is Monday, October 29, 2018.

Not all letters will be published. Instead we will select a sampling of letters.