Letter to the editor from Brian O’Connor, Byram
Few things in this election came as more of a surprise than Fred Camillo, First Selectman candidate, sending a campaign email that touted a “From Greenwich: For Greenwich” slogan. This was the only content in the newsletter blast, too: no description of what such an odd slogan means, or how it might match up with Camillo’s small business policies.
My wife and I moved to Greenwich in 2017 to buy our first home, get married, and start a family. We weren’t born here, we’re certainly not from here, but we are most definitely putting down roots here. Our small business, Brunch Money, is built to help other small businesses communicate and market themselves. That inherently means that our goal is to work with our neighbors. We’re not only Fred Camillo’s constituents, but we serve his constituents as well.
I reached out to Fred Camillo about his nativist campaign slogan to determine where he, a supposed proponent of small business growth, thought we should live and work as non-natives. Were we even wanted in the vision for his community? Repeated attempts to get any kind of reply from our state representative went unanswered for days, until he finally provided a response that was equal parts hostile and perplexing.
“As for your question, what do you think I mean when I say From Greenwich” [sic]? ” he replied. “If you think I am referring to being born here, think again. Stop assuming and ask me a direct question instead of trying to publicly score political points.”
Post your name so I know who I’m replying to.
As for your question, what do you think I mean when I say From Greenwich” ?
If you think I am referring to being born here, think again. Stop assuming and ask me a direct question instead of trying to publicly score political points
— Fred Camillo ?? (@fcamillo) September 29, 2019
This kind of response is astounding from anyone in public office—even more so for a person who not only sees himself as fit for running our town, but as someone whose policy proposal includes implementing “a Business Task Force that will facilitate relationships with current business owners and work to attract new businesses to our town.”
Even when I provided my name (which is also available freely on our website) and asked for clarification, he didn’t provide any.
“My running mate, whom I went to elementary school with, was not born here. Many of the people supporting my candidacy and on the campaign team have only lived here a few years. What makes them “From Greenwich, For Greenwich” is they live here, volunteer here, and love it here,” Camillo replied.
My running mate, whom I went to elementary school with, was not born here. Many of the people supporting my candidacy and on the campaign team have only lived here a few years. What makes them “ From Greenwich, For Greenwich “ is they live here, volunteer here, and love it here.
— Fred Camillo ?? (@fcamillo) September 30, 2019
Despite asking a simple, honest question as both a taxpayer and a business owner, I was met with the kind of hostility and bitterness that demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of what it means to lead.
Our son is set to be born in Greenwich hospital this December. We joined the Byram Neighborhood Association when we came here in 2017. We always participate in our neighbors’ child’s Greenwich High School fundraisers, and plan on sending our boy to Greenwich public schools. We made a concerted choice when we chose Greenwich. We came here not because we cared about who was born in this town, but because of what it offered to everyone—both natives and non-natives.
Fred Camillo may be the hometown boy in this race, but he’s far from an even-tempered and qualified candidate. Writing obsequious promises about encouraging small business to move to this town, only to express open hostility and contempt to them when asked why they’re made to feel unwanted, is the opposite of real leadership. Fred Camillo’s values aren’t Greenwich values, and it doesn’t take a local to know that.
The deadline to submit a letter to the editor regarding candidates in the Nov 5 municipal election is Tuesday Oct 29 at 5pm.