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Nerlyn Pierson Town Republicans in Hartford not ‘getting things done’

September 20, 2018

Republican State Representative Livvy Floren claims that she and the other Greenwich General Assembly Republicans “know how to get things done for our constituents.”

Well, let’s take a look at what our Republicans “got done” for their constituents over the past year.

First, take education. They voted for a budget that slammed Connecticut public school teachers with a $1,500 per teacher tax. They voted to slash funding for community colleges and our state universities, including a 30 percent cut in state funding for the University of Connecticut. At the same time, they voted to close the $35 million Roberta B. Willis Scholarship that helps thousands of poor and minority Connecticut students earn a college education to new students, eventually eliminating the scholarship program.

Take voting. They all voted to change the state’s constitution to impose voter suppression that, like virtually every other voter suppression legislation put forth by Republicans around the country, was “almost laser focused” on preventing Black and Hispanic voters from casting ballots. They also voted against implementing early voting in Connecticut, keeping us from joining 38 other states that permit this boost to voter participation. Mike Bocchino voted against early voting, even though just weeks earlier at the Cos Cobber appearance he pledged to support such legislation. Further, they all voted in their budget to eliminate the state’s Citizens Election Program that supports the hundreds of candidates across the state, and that was implemented in the wake of the massive corruption of the Republican Rowland-Rell administration. And, with the exception of Ms. Floren, the all voted against the National Popular Vote Compact.

And take what they did to the working poor. The budget they voted for included slashing the state’s earned income tax credit, and substantially weakening protections for unionized labor by sharply increasing the contracts that would not have to pay “prevailing wages.”At the same time, they voted to block an increase in our inadequate minimum wage, even though 40 percent of our state’s households either live in poverty, or fall under the “ALICE” definition of “asset limited, income constrained, yet employed.” They voted to weaken protections for low-income working families, even though a quarter of households in Greenwich itself fall into that category.

The Greenwich delegation also includes in its list of “getting things done” its shameful rejection of Andrew McDonald, an openly gay and eminently qualified Supreme Court justice, to serve as chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. (With the exception of Ms. Floren, who did vote for his nomination and whose district includes a portion of Stamford, Justice McDonald’s hometown.)

Perhaps the actions of this Greenwich delegation were summed up in their attempt to pass HB 5009 — a bill that would have given a special multi-million dollar tax benefit for car wash owners, the owners of the state’s largest of which just happen to reside in Greenwich. So while the state was wrestling with closing a budget deficit, while the Greenwich Republicans were attempting to slam teachers with a $76 million tax, while voting to eliminate the EITC for working families, while they were weakening wage protections for unionized workers, while they were attempting to eliminate tens of millions of dollars for poor inner-city minority students to attend college, while slashing support for our universities and community colleges, while eliminating public funding for state candidates, while doing all that, these four Republicans from Greenwich felt compelled to hand two wealthy business owners in their hometown a major tax break.

Yet, claiming that they “know how to get things done” for their constituents, these Republicans want you to vote for them. Take a look at their voting record. Go to votesmart.org and see how they voted on issues important to you.

Do they deserve your vote? It’s for you to decide, but I don’t believe they do if you take a good look at their voting record and the bills they chose to co-sponsor in Hartford.

Nerlyn Pierson is a Greenwich resident.

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