LETTER: Representatives should work for us, not against us

Submitted by Phyllis Alexander, Greenwich

I think we can all agree that our elected representatives should be working to deliver results for us. And there are many ways they can do just that.

They can build coalitions, advocate, negotiate, and most importantly, vote for funding for their district’s schools, police, roads and community organizations. Any funding they can deliver from the state means savings for our municipal budget and our taxpayers. 

Our representative Kimberly Fiorello chose a different path. Instead of voting for us, she chose to vote against her constituents. And rather than work to build meaningful partnerships in Hartford that would be beneficial to her district, she isolated herself by joining the splinter Conservative Caucus, a group of 15 members who vote against nearly everything. No other Republican member of the Greenwich delegation joined this extremist caucus.

Take for example Westhill High School, which is in the Stamford section of her district. The Stamford delegation worked furiously to advocate for the formula revision that resulted in a historic $206 million in funding to rebuild Westhill, as well as tripling the state reimbursement rate for school construction in Stamford. Not only did Kimberly Fiorello not help to secure the funding, she voted against it when the vote came to the floor. So did Senator Ryan Fazio. Then, they showed up for the photo op and press conference celebrating the funding. 

Fiorello also had the opportunity to vote for a more equitable school cost sharing formula which would have resulted in an additional $7.5 million in funding for Stamford schools. She voted no. And then she gaslighted us by pretending to be a supporter of public education, posting an Amazon fundraiser on her website inviting folks to buy crayons and glue to help out Roxbury school. Even though she sits on the education committee, her record on education is so bad that the Connecticut Education Association gave her the lowest score of all 151 legislators.

The northwest section of Greenwich is in dire need of better fire response times, as documented by a study commissioned by the Town. In her two years in office she did nothing to advocate for funds to address this critical need. It took intervention by a representative from another district, Steve Meskers, to secure $500,000 in funding for the Round Hill Fire Station, which Kimberly Fiorello voted against.

The state budget (Public Act 22-118) and the CT State Bond commission are the sources of numerous municipal funding opportunities, and securing them requires leadership. Here too, not only was there no leadership or advocacy from Fiorello, nor Fazio, for our district, but they voted NO  to over $60 million in funding for Stamford and $1.3 million for Greenwich.

Stamford received bond dollars to fund their fire training school, ice rink renovation, school athletic fields improvement, playgrounds and summer school. Greenwich received  money for police body cameras and video storage, restoration for the Chimes building, Emergency Medical Services building construction and the Round Hill Volunteer Fire Department.

Fortunately, the budget passed with these funds despite Fiorello and Fazio’s “no” votes. But imagine for a moment how much more Greenwich could have received from the state budget if we had leaders advocating for us instead of against us.

Funds for remediation of Western Middle School and Greenwich High School contaminated fields? Funds for Eastern Civic Center? Funds for the Board of Education master plan or the Holly Hill master plan? Fire services for northwest Greenwich? 

Representatives who vote against us do not deserve a second term.

 I hope you will join me in voting for Rachel Khanna on November 8.