Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Opinion: Rep Rob Sampson/Interview on WTIC

I am often asked about what I like and don’t like about serving as our State Representative. Playing even a small part in the future direction of our state and country, defending our constitution and civil liberties, and being the voice of my neighbors when it comes to the role of our state government is a tremendous honor and privilege that has been the highlight of my adult life.
That said, the job can be difficult at times. The more effort you put into being an effective voice and promoting change, the harder it can be. The natural state is the status quo and adding more input only increases the resistance.
What is the hardest part of serving in elected office? I’d say frustration over the inability to make sure my constituents are properly informed. Every issue is clouded by misinformation and political spin.
Hacking a way through the distractions to develop thoughtful positions and make informed votes is hard enough for me – and it’s my job that I am immersed in twenty four hours each day. For citizens and voters, it can be downright impossible, even for those interested enough to seek the facts and truth.
Politics is often an ugly business and far too many involved are willing to bend the truth to gain support for their positions. This problem is magnified by the complexity of the issue at hand and the money spent by stakeholders attempting to frame the issue for their benefit.

These days every issue seems to be life or death. As Democrats see their control of our state government slipping away, they rely more and more on wedge issues that might take the focus off of the damage they have done to our state.
Connecticut residents have been bombarded by new articles and TV ads in support of Judge Andrew McDonald claiming that anyone who would oppose his appointment must be a bigot – a ridiculous and unsubstantiated allegation that shocks with its preposterousness.
I voted against Andrew McDonald several years ago when he was first appointed to the Supreme Court. I knew him to be an extremely partisan progressive State Senator and then Governor Malloy’s chief council, known for making malicious and rude comments about his political opponents in the press. I was shocked to see him being considered for the state Supreme Court! Of course, I voted no.
Since then, there have been numerous issues raised regarding McDonald’s jurisprudence. The most damning for me is his involvement in the repeal of the death penalty. As a State Senator, McDonald was a staunch advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. It was no surprise that as the Governor’s chief attorney, he would stand by as Malloy vowed for its repeal. A bill was proposed that would repeal the death penalty, but only “prospectively” – meaning that it would stand for previous crimes and those that were on death row would remain, including the two heinous criminals convicted of the infamous home invasion in Cheshire a decade ago.
Many legislators, including me, publicly questioned on the floor of the House of Representatives whether such a law could withstand appeals from the other death row inmates. The repeal narrowly passed with the support of several legislators who claimed they were assured by the Governor’s office that this would stand a legal test because of the clear legislative intent.
Not long after, appeals were indeed filed, McDonald was added to the Supreme Court, and lo and behold, a decision was to be made regarding the constitutionality of a “prospective” death penalty. Judge McDonald was required by rule and by common sense to recuse himself based on his own previous involvement. Yet, he chose to remain on the court and cast the deciding vote 4-3 to not only scrap the problematic law, but to repeal the entire death penalty in our state using the judicial system. This is the very definition of “legislating from the bench.”
Democrats see the horizon and are reacting, narrowly passing an unsustainable and ill-conceived labor agreement through 2027, using this election year to distract from the state’s problems with bills on gun control, “trick or treat day”, and this absurd effort to bully opponents of an unqualified candidate for Chief Justice with claims of bigotry.
I will do my part to make sure you know the truth. As always, feel free to contact me at www.repsampson.com.

Rep. Rob Sampson (R-Southington, Wolcott) discusses the death penalty, Justice Andrew McDonald’s nomination for Chief Justice and school safety concerns with Todd Feinburg on WTIC NewsTalk 1080 on March 13, 2018.

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