GOLDRICK: Does Camillo Care About You?

Letter to the editor from Sean Goldrick

“Camillo Cares.” That’s Republican first selectman candidate Fred Camillo’s campaign slogan. The truth, however, is that unless you’re a wealthy white Republican man, Camillo doesn’t care about you. And his record in the Connecticut legislature proves it.

If you’re Black or Hispanic or an immigrant, Camillo doesn’t care about you. Camillo has voted repeatedly to implement racist photo ID voter suppression bills which are, as a federal judge put it, “almost laser-focused” on preventing African-Americans, Hispanics and naturalized citizens from voting (amendments to HJ 95 and HJ 28). Camillo has also voted repeatedly to block early voting legislation, which has been demonstrated around the country to help low-income voters, among whom minorities are over-represented, whose irregular work hours make it difficult to get to the polls to vote.

Camillo demonstrated his contempt for African-Americans by retweeting back in July an image of the Betsy Ross flag, including the hashtag: “#boycott Nike.” The Betsy Ross flag has been co-opted by white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan, who frequently display that flag along with the Confederate battle flag as symbols of white supremacy. Nike produced a shoe with the Betsy Ross flag on the heel, but quickly pulled it when management was made aware of the association with white supremacists.

Camillo demonstrated his contempt for minorities by voting for his party’s 2017 budget that included the elimination of the Roberta Willis scholarship, which helps 15,000 low-income, largely minority students, to attend college.

Camillo demonstrated that he doesn’t care about immigrants by going on record supporting Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. As Trump implemented increasingly cruel and barbaric policies against immigrants, Camillo continued to support those policies with his deafening silence.

If you’re Gay, Camillo doesn’t care about you. Even after the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Gay marriage constitutional, Camillo voted against legislation codifying Gay marriage into state law (SB 899). And he made perfectly clear his contempt for Gay residents by voting against the nomination of the brilliant and eminently qualified, openly Gay Supreme Court Justice Andrew McDonald to be chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. For those multiple expressions of bigotry, Camillo has been endorsed by the anti-Gay hate group, Family Institute of Connecticut.

If you’re transgender, Camillo doesn’t care about you. He voted against outlawing discrimination against transgender individuals (HB 6599).

If you’re struggling to make a living, Camillo doesn’t care about you. For years he voted against every bill to raise Connecticut’s minimum wage and give the working poor a desperately needed raise (2012, 2013, 2014). This spring, he not only voted against raising the minimum wage (HB 5009), he participated in the Republican filibuster. In 2017, he voted to virtually eliminate Connecticut’s earned income tax credit (EITC) for hard-working, low-income families, a move that would have pummeled more than 1,300 families here in Greenwich.

If you’re raising a family, Camillo doesn’t care about you. He voted against giving Connecticut families access to paid family and medical leave (SB 1), the same right enjoyed by citizens of every developed country in the world. And that follows his vote against paid sick leave. And against establishing the state’s healthcare exchange, which today provides health insurance to 111,000 Connecticut residents.

If you’re a teacher, Camillo doesn’t care about you. He not only voted to hit teachers with a $100 million teacher tax, equivalent to $1,500 per teacher, he and his GOP buddies passed that punitive tax without negotiating with the teachers union.

Do you care about the environment? Camillo doesn’t. His lifetime voting record on environmental issues, according to the Connecticut League of Environmental Voters, is one of the worst in the Connecticut House of Representatives, ranking lower than more than 100 members in that 151-member chamber. And Camillo was for years a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has served as one of the leading organizations pushing climate change denial, and opposing environmental legislation.

Do you care about a woman’s right to determine her reproductive future? Camillo doesn’t. He recently co-sponsored numerous anti-abortion bills, including a so-called “personhood” bill that would have outlawed all abortions in Connecticut. He was one of a handful of far-right anti-abortion extremists to be endorsed by the anti-abortion Family Institute of Connecticut.

Do you care about controlling guns? Camillo doesn’t. He has been a proud member of the NRA front-group, ALEC, which pushed anti-gun control bills into state legislatures around the country. It was the ALEC-sponsored “stand your ground law” that was used by the murderer of Trayvon Martin to avoid conviction. The outrage at ALEC motivated scores of corporations to cancel their membership in ALEC. But not Camillo. At least until the end of last year, he remained a member.

Greenwich is a diverse and welcoming community. 40% of our public school students are minorities, and 20% are Hispanic. We support women’s rights, cherish excellence in education, and care about the 28% of our residents who are either living in poverty, or barely getting by. The first selectman of this town needs to care about all of our town’s people. It’s abundantly clear that Fred Camillo doesn’t care. The question is: Do you?

Sean Goldrick served two terms as a Democratic member of the Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation. He lives in Riverside.

The deadline to submit a letter to the editor regarding candidates in the Nov 5 municipal election is Tuesday Oct 29 at 5pm.