Submitted by James Waters
Entering a bar in Washington, DC might be the best way to meet wannabe career politicians. Frequently displaying plenty of polish and little substance, 20-something-year-old staffers flock to the bar scene in DC, and the first topics that come up are “who do you work for” and “what are you doing with your career”. I can’t tell you how many times I heard a young staffer explain his or her detailed plan to run for Congress, Senate, or even President.
Despite having resumes as thin as a slice of cheese, they were entranced with the idea of their name in the press, getting to wear a special pin, and having people address them in a certain way. They talked a good game, heavily infused with political rhetoric, but almost every single one struggled with simple questions like “why do you want to run for that” and “what are you going to do”?
It was almost always apparent that they were focused on themselves rather than serving others. It was a big part of why I left Washington, DC to go serve in the US military.
At the League of Women Voters event this past Friday, these memories came flooding back when state senate candidate Ryan Fazio took the mic. I’ve become familiar with Fazio the last couple years, watching him constantly oppose our public schools.
I always found it strange, considering that Fazio grew up in the Greenwich Public Schools and that public schools should be an area of common ground. But when I first heard last summer that he was running for state senate, it started to make sense. Fazio knew that he needed to pander to the local GOP elites with an anti-school orientation, counting on the rest of us not paying attention to his actions.
Last year, as a member of our town legislature (the RTM), Fazio opposed an effort to restore $3 million of funding to our schools and took advantage of an arcane parliamentary rule that allows a minority to prevent a vote despite being outnumbered. This year, despite serving in the district that represents the North Mianus School community, Fazio refused to join a bipartisan group of members in his own district to call for the town finance board (the BET) to expedite the repairs to the North Mianus School building. He was one of two members in District 12, which has 22 members, who failed to do so.
Since then, Fazio has bent over backwards to obscure his actions from the public, while throwing a wink and a nod to the elites and fringe elements like our town’s self-proclaimed, self-centered “patriots”. Over a year into watching him, I’m still not sure what Fazio has ever accomplished professionally (anything?), apart from this attempt to hide the truth.
What is certain is that Fazio has always wanted to be elected and brings little to the table but tired rhetoric without substance. I’ve come to the conclusion that Fazio, like many wannabe career politicians, has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted and won’t be successful in office.
As a Republican myself, it pains me to say this. Republican state representative Harry Arora was right when he said a month ago that the local GOP elites would have been better off choosing someone who is electable and actually has a leadership record and legislative experience.
That is what it will take to be successful in Hartford, on our behalf. That is why I will vote for someone I can trust, who stands for reason rather than rhetoric, and possesses a record of accomplishment rather than personal ambition. I urge my fellow Republicans and Unaffiliated voters to pull the lever for Democrat Alexis Gevanter.
James Waters is a Greenwich native and resident and a Republican voter. He works at a private investment firm and served in the Bush Administration’s White House Office of Management and Budget and then as a US Navy SEAL officer.