Goldrick: Greenwich Delegation Should Hold Real Town Hall Meetings

Greenwich General Assembly Republicans continue to refuse to hold Town Hall meetings at which constituents can freely question their elected representatives.

Instead, once again, Republican state representatives Mike Bocchino, Fred Camillo, and Livvy Floren, and Republican state senator Scott Frantz, will hold a meeting early Thursday morning at a small restaurant in Cos Cob with limited parking.

Constituents will get just one hour to question all four politicians.  Clearly, these politicians have scheduled the time and venue to minimize attendance by their constituents, and avoid accountability.

It’s long past time to hold real town hall meetings at Greenwich Town Hall.  They need to schedule these meetings in the evenings when it is most convenient for their constituents.  And they need to meet their constituents individually, and not as a group.  Voters deserve no less.

There are so many issues and votes for which these politicians need to be held accountable, and questions they need to answer.  Here are just a few.

Voter Suppression
All three Republican representatives voted last year for “amendment B” to House Joint Resolution 95, which sought to prevent Connecticut from joining 37 other states in permitting early voting in our elections.  Further, the amendment included language to require Connecticut voters to produce government-issued photo ID’s.

These photo ID bills have been introduced by Republican legislatures around the country specifically to prevent African-Americans, Hispanics, and poor residents from voting.  Given that the Connecticut Election Enforcement Commission has confirmed that there has never been a single allegation of in-person voter fraud in more than four decades, the only type of voter fraud that a photo ID would prevent, why did you vote for that voter suppression bill?

Further, do you intend to continue your attempts to require government photo ID’s in order to suppress minority voting?

Anti-Choice Legislation
Representative Camillo added his name as co-sponsor to a number of anti-abortion bills.  Among them were SB 330, a bill to require women seeking abortions to undergo unnecessary ultrasounds, and SB 576, a bill that would have conferred so-called “personhood” on fetuses.

Please tell us why you co-sponsored those anti-choice bills, and why you then took your name off of those bills?  Further, Representative Bocchino also co-sponsored anti-choice legislation, and then took his name off of the bills.  Please tell us why.  Further, please tell us if you intend to sponsor and support anti-abortion legislation in the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

Connecticut Supreme Court
Representative Camillo and Senator Frantz both voted (HJR 97) to deny an additional term to Supreme Court Justice Richard N. Palmer.  Justice Palmer authored the majority decision in Kerrigan v. Connecticut in 2008 that gave same-sex couples the right to marry in Connecticut.  Were your votes meant to punish him for his vote for marriage equality?  If not, please tell us specifically why you voted to remove Justice Palmer from the Supreme Court?

Governor Malloy has nominated Justice Andrew McDonald to serve as the next chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.  Justice McDonald would be the first openly gay chief justice of a state supreme court in the country.  I would like each of you to tell us whether you intend to vote for Justice McDonald’s appointment, or not, and your reasons why.

Senator Frantz, you did not vote to appoint Mr. McDonald to the Supreme Court in 2013.  Was your refusal to vote meant as disapproval of his appointment?

Donald Trump
A recent Quinnipiac University survey revealed that though Donald Trump is deeply unpopular among most Americans, 83% of registered Republicans believe he is doing a good job as president.  I would like each of you to tell us whether you believe Donald Trump is doing a good job as president of the United States.

Teacher Tax
The Republican budget that you voted for included a “teacher tax”, which would take $1,500 on average from every teacher in the state in increased payments for their pensions.  Could you tell us why you supported that $76 million annual teacher tax?

The Working Poor
The Republican budget you supported called for the virtual elimination of the state’s earned income tax credit, which helps more than 1,200 low-income working families in Greenwich alone. Please tell us why you felt it appropriate to virtually eliminate that tax credit for tens of thousands of low-income families, while also proposing to eliminate the estate tax that affects less than a dozen estates every year?

Health Care
Representatives Camillo and Foren, and Senator Frantz all voted against establishing Access Health CT back in 2011 (SB 921).  Since its establishment Access Health CT has functioned as arguably the best-run state exchange in the nation, supplying health insurance to more than 100,000 Connecticut residents.

The exchange just announced that, despite sabotage efforts by congressional Republicans and President Trump, sign-up’s this year exceeded last year’s levels.

Do you regret having voted against creating Access Health CT?  Do you support the Republican efforts to sabotage and eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which has provided more than a quarter million Connecticut residents with health coverage?

Last, will each of you commit to finally hold real town hall meetings at Greenwich Town Hall, individually, in the evenings, to answer questions from your constituents?

Letter to the editor submitted by Sean Goldrick, who served two terms as a Democratic member of the Greenwich Board of Estimate and Taxation.  He lives in Riverside.