LETTER: Fiorello Signals the Radicalization of the Connecticut GOP

Submitted by Michelle Abt, for CT149 Truth Brigade, a group of concerned constituents from Greenwich and North Stamford

To understand the radicalization of the Connecticut GOP from old-school conservative to right-wing extremist look no further than CT’s House District 149, which covers portions of Greenwich and North

After a very close race this past November, newbie Kimberly Fiorello replaced retiring moderate Republican Livvy Floren.

While Fiorello lost in North Stamford, and the GOP margin was significantly reduced in Greenwich as compared to previous races, she did manage to eke out a win of 394 votes.

And a win is a win, so here we are.

Given that Biden won in both Greenwich and Stamford by wide margins, it is likely that Floren’s popularity helped drag Fiorello over the finish line. Floren was highly respected by both Republicans and Democrats across her district as being a decent and fair-minded person willing to work across the aisle.

And Fiorello ran a relatively moderate campaign. But now, with the legislative session in full swing, it would appear that Fiorello is nothing like the anti-tax, NIMBY Greenwich Republican that we have been used to for years.

On the contrary, Fiorello, (with her underwhelming mandate of less than 400 votes), has shown herself to be as right-wing and reactionary as they come, immediately aligning herself with the House Conservative Caucus and sponsoring/co-sponsoring legislation which is in some instances even too extreme for fellow GOP members.

Fiorello has been busy in the last few weeks and has come into her own with a vengeance. Here is just a sampling of her positions so far:

Against Voting Rights
Even though CT has no statistically meaningful voter fraud, Fiorello has introduced a voter picture ID law (HB 5874). Yes, the kind of law that has been proven to suppress votes (especially minority votes) while not having any beneficial impact on election security.

Fiorello has also introduced legislation designed to withdraw Connecticut from the National Vote Compact, a move that supports the obsolete Electoral College system and reinforces minority rule.

In Favor of Defunding Public Schools
At a time when our public schools need to be strengthened and supported, Fiorello is seeking to weaken the public school system, introducing a bill (HB 5509) that proposes to divert public school funding to charter schools.

Against Gun Safety
Fiorello has co-sponsored HB 5970 which prevents towns from passing gun control laws stricter than those enacted by the state. Fiorello is a rabid supporter of local decision making in areas like zoning, but that principle seems to apply to everything except guns. Why is that?

Anti-Vaccine, Anti-Science and Anti-Public Health
Just as we pass 500,000 COVID-19 deaths, Fiorello has co-sponsored HB 5578 that permits parents to send their children to school without being vaccinated if they claim “moral and philosophical objection” to the immunization requirements, completely disregarding our community’s need for herd immunity to protect adults and children with compromised immune systems.

Against Reproductive Freedom
Fiorello supports HB6293, a bill requiring minors to notify a parent before getting an abortion. On the surface this may seem pro-family, but these types of measures are not supported by any respected medical professional organization. Why? Because for some teens discussing an unwanted pregnancy with an abusive or unsupportive parent can be dangerous.
Anti-Juvenile Justice Fiorello has sponsored HB 5473, which makes juveniles who attempt to steal cars liable to prosecution in adult criminal courts. It’s important to point out that for many years CT had some of the harshest juvenile laws in the country. It took years to reform these laws and the results have been positive.

In Favor of Police in Schools
Fiorello supports HB 5982 which expands the number of school districts that could have armed police officers in schools by making the state police available to perform those duties. Yet another step backward for juvenile justice, this flies in the face of the national movement to remove these police officers from schools as they have been found to abuse young children of color and treat behavior problems as criminal actions.

This is just a partial list of Fiorello initiatives, but each is more disturbing than the next. Is this what voters of District 149 were signing up for when they elected Livvy Floren’s successor?

Is Kim Fiorello representing the views of her constituents? Are my neighbors suddenly against gun safety, reproductive rights, science and public health, strong public schools, juvenile justice and expanded access to voting?

I don’t believe so. But I do believe that we were conned.

Michelle Abt
CT 149 Truth Brigade