Indivisible Greenwich: Response to Livvy Floren Letter

Letter to the editor submitted by the Indivisible Greenwich steering committee, including Nerlyn Pierson and Tim Alexander

Rep. Livvy Floren’s recent letter to the editor (March 30) regarding civility and epithets comes with particular ill-grace. (Floren: The Republican Party of Know). There is no question that political discourse has deteriorated and that we must all strive to be good listeners and civil in tone. However, the poster child for incivility, lies and division is the Republican party’s standard-bearer, Donald J. Trump. Unless and until that party comes to terms with what it has created, and denounces him, it is hard to take any of its members seriously when it comes to name calling and civility.

Representative Floren also takes issue with a characterization that Republicans are called “the party of ‘no.'”  Yet Republicans in Congress have made it their mission to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They have refused to help improve it, refused to come up with a credible alternative, and for the past nine years have done nothing but vote to repeal it. They refuse to bring a host of bills passed by the House, including the critically important Senate version of HR 1 – the omnibus democracy bill—to the Senate floor. That’s the party of “no.”

CT Republicans fare no better on the “no” scorecard. Those on the insurance committee voted against creating Access Health CT (SB 921), the state’s tremendously successful state health exchange. This year, Rep. Floren and CT Republicans voted “no” on HB 7174, legislation to reduce high prescription drug prices. CT Republicans have also stood for voter suppression efforts, including photo ID’, a classic tool designed to suppress minority votes, and while Rep. Floren crossed party lines to vote for the NPV Compact, most of her party did not.

And what about the new early voting legislation? This bill, to let CT residents decide whether they want to join 40 other states in permitting early voting, recently came out of committee with every single Republican voting no.

Rep. Floren claims that the “laudable list of positive and informed Republican principles goes on and on.” Racist voter suppression, opposition to desperately needed affordable health insurance and lower drug prices, and silence in the face of Trump’s attacks on democratic institutions, racism, misogyny and bigotry are not laudable.

What we do not have enough of here in Greenwich is dialogue around issues. Republican elected officials do not hold traditional Town Halls. Each should start holding them with constituents in their districts. Going forward, let’s stop this pseudo party nationalism and branding. Let’s move beyond labels and have a serious discussion about the merits or non-merits of the issues themselves. To do that our elected representatives first need to listen and understand what all of their constituents think.

To really move the needle here we need to stop partisan rhetoric and engage in a dialogue about facts and issues and try to find commonalities where possible. What we don’t need is a misleading effort to rebrand the political party that has become the party of Donald J. Trump.