GROUP LETTER: Centralized Authority Is Not The Answer

Submitted by Helen Delago, Mike Spilo, Tresa Candelmo, Michael Pavin Jr, Angela Castellano, Kimberly Salib, Julia Chiappetta, Dan Ozizmir, Jane Sprung, Lolly Prince, Dean Gamanos

The last decade has not been kind to Connecticut. One party rule has significantly limited Republicans’ ability to affect public policy outcomes statewide. State Democrats, having had control of the levers of power for so long, seem to be engaging in political overreach by proposing some ominous ideas that only a party with no fear of losing power would dare to think of. Their intent is to usurp policy making from towns across the state, and make Hartford the arbiter of all.

An intense drive by state Democrats via a group called DeSegregateCT is attempting what is tantamount to a hostile takeover of local Planning and Zoning Boards by Hartford. Their intent is to force towns to provide more “affordable” housing options that would entice families to relocate. As benevolent as that seems on its surface, little thought has been given to anything beyond that point.

Providing “affordable” housing options in desirable communities does not address affordability concerns on a day-to-day basis. Relocating families also need good paying jobs to be able to afford to fully participate in a community’s social, educational and cultural life. Affordable housing alone is not the answer.

There needs to be a renewed focus on revitalizing our cities. Republicans are advocates for tax policies designed to attract corporations and smaller businesses to our state. Attracting new businesses and providing incentives for our existing businesses will expand employment opportunities and increase tax revenue. Democrats are always talking about the need for “good paying jobs”, but they also always seem to forget that the private sector (not the public sector) is the primary source of these jobs.

Another focus of state Democrats is school regionalization. Just last week, the CT legislature’s education committee voted to proceed with discussions on formulating legislation on school regionalization. If you don’t like the idea of Hartford dictating your local P&Z laws, you should be very concerned about an effort to apply a one size fits all mentality to our children’s education. Republicans oppose this effort and the potential punitive measures that include withholding state funds for any new school construction in towns that resist regionalization.

Improving educational outcomes for children in our cities must be a priority. Good educational outcomes do not materialize by diluting standards in areas where public education has succeeded. Results improve by focusing on areas where outcomes are lagging and bolstering them. This is not just a matter of increased spending, but rather smarter spending, monitoring school performance and creating a system that rewards schools that perform well. 

With their intense focus on a progressive platform oriented toward centralized social planning, State Democrats risk taking voters’ support for granted. With years of one party control, Connecticut has become a national standard bearer for fiscal mismanagement. Providing Hartford Democrats with a mandate to control statewide P&Z and education is absolutely the wrong path to take.

Reference: Bob Stefanowski: A strong state needs strong cities


Helen Delago, Mike Spilo, Tresa Candelmo, Michael Pavin Jr, Angela Castellano, Kimberly Salib, Julia Chiappetta, Dan Ozizmir, Jane Sprung, Lolly Prince, Dean Gamanos