GOLDRICK: Camillo’s Absence at Pride and Juneteenth Events Should Not Be a Surprise

Submitted by Sean Goldrick, Riverside

Greenwich Republican first selectman Fred Camillo was a no-show at this month’s Pride celebration at Greenwich Town Hall.  And you won’t see him at Greenwich’s Juneteenth commemoration either.  Greenwich Free Press reported that Camillo has a prior engagement.  What exactly is keeping him from attending those events?  According to his executive assistant, Ken Borsuk, the first selectman won’t appear for Juneteenth because “he’s taking some personal days and is out of Town.”

And his non-attendance at the Pride celebrations?  Borsuk claimed, “I know Fred tried to be at the pride (sic) ceremony but was unable to make it,” though Borsuk admitted he “didn’t know what specifically kept (Camillo) from attending.”  Simply put, Fred Camillo can’t be bothered to show up for the LGBTQ community or for the African-American community.

But no one should be surprised that Camillo would no-show for these two important celebrations.  It was Camillo, after all, who just last fall attempted to implement a “flag law” that would have allowed him to ban the flying of the Pride and the Juneteenth flags at Town Hall.  That flag bill was virtually identical with hundreds of other flag bills that anti-Gay and White supremacist Republicans introduced and enacted in towns, cities, and states across the country.  The flag bill that Camillo enacted permits flags to be flown only if they appear on the first selectman’s list published in January each year.  Camillo backed off banning the Pride and Juneteenth flags after he was subjected to intense pressure from the Greenwich community.

During his decade in the Connecticut legislature, state representative Camillo voted repeatedly for racist “voter ID” laws that targeted Black and Hispanic voters with what a federal judge in North Carolina described as “almost surgical precision.”  Camillo and his fellow Republicans also voted repeatedly against amending the Connecticut constitution to permit early voting.  Early voting has been demonstrated in numerous other states to increase voter participation among minority voters.  Their foot-dragging resulted in years of delay in implementing early voting, which finally begins this year.

Fred Camillo demonstrated his hostility to the LGBTQ community by voting against the nomination of Andrew McDonald in 2018 to serve as chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.  McDonald was a tremendously well qualified candidate for chief justice, having been a partner in a leading Connecticut law firm, serving as a state senator, and as chief legal counsel to the governor of Connecticut, before being named as an associate justice of the state supreme court.  But when he was nominated to be chief justice, the GOP balked.  You see, Andrew McDonald is openly gay, and married to a man, and Republicans were determined to demonstrate their anti-LGBTQ bigotry by blocking his nomination.  Fred Camillo and every other Republican legislator except one voted against his nomination.

Given his history, no one should be surprised that Fred Camillo can’t be bothered to show up for Pride or Juneteenth celebrations.  But no one should consider his no-shows acceptable.