Sunday, April 15, 2018
Opinion by Rep. Sampson - Divisive Politics
In last month’s column, I shared the facts surrounding Governor Malloy’s nomination of Andrew McDonald to be Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. I am happy to report that this nomination was defeated, and Governor Malloy has since announced another, more appropriate jurist to fill this role.
I also advised my readers not to be distracted by what is sure to be an onslaught of distortions and misinformation that will be placed in front of voters before the critical November elections.
The Malloy administration and elected majority Democrats in the legislature are clearly in full campaign mode. They have illustrated extreme contempt for legitimate debate over policies effecting our constituents and their repeated calls for us to work together to solve the state’s problems.
Connecticut politics have become far too divisive. Sadly, state government will continue to fail residents until it gets its priorities in order.
In the case of Justice McDonald, it’s clear that there were several significant and legitimate concerns raised, particularly his failure to recuse himself from the decision that effectively repealed the state’s death penalty. The courts are a check on state government, and we could not afford to confirm an individual to the highest judicial post in the state who has blatantly used his position to push a political agenda.
However, despite our valid reasons for rejecting his nomination, Republicans have been the recipients of countless attacks from the administration, mainly with charges of homophobia. This could not be further from the truth. These accusations are nothing more than the political smear tactics of a lame-duck governor to attack his adversaries.
The governor has also said that members of the GOP have “blood on their hands” for not supporting his gun control efforts. This is also ridiculous. Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun control in the entire country, but as I have repeatedly pointed out, we are still failing in nearly every way to take action that would make our citizens, and our schools, safer.
Year after year, I offer proposals to crack down on illegal guns in our cities, and make our schools and streets safer. These include reforms to school security and how we address individuals exhibiting sociopathic behavior like the disturbed young men responsible for the tragedies in Newtown, CT and Parkland, FL. Amazingly, these proposals go ignored while the Governor and the Majority Party continue to shift funding from well-run municipalities to Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport, providing money for bailouts, XL center renovations, and now a new soccer stadium in the capital city.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to challenge my colleagues on the record when I offered them a chance to take real action on making our constituents safer. I offered an amendment which would have defunded the misguided $550 million Hartford bailout. Those dollars would have been redirected towards removing illegally purchased guns from the street, hiring school resource officers to protect our students and educators, and funding mental health beds throughout the state – real solutions to very real problems.
Sadly, my proposal failed on a party line vote with 19 Republicans in favor and all 20 Democrats opposed. Majority Democrats preferred to create gimmicky bans on “bump stocks” and “ghost guns” for the sake of politics, choosing political rhetoric over public safety.
There are also bills coming that will supposedly be about “women’s issues” and “pay equality.” Don’t be fooled by the titles and the spin. The Democrats in Hartford can sense their grasp on the majority slipping and are in full panic mode. The “women’s health bill” is really about making sure Connecticut residents will still be stuck with Obamacare - even if the federal government repeals it! The “pay equality” bill will be about adding more burdensome regulations on Connecticut businesses, not improving pay or benefits for anyone, particularly women.
I have never been more troubled by the great divide in our country, and how wide it has become in our state government. From the $550 million Hartford bailout, to gun control bills, to Malloy’s nomination of Andrew McDonald for Chief Justice, to efforts to revive Obamacare in Connecticut, the governor and his allies will stop at nothing to distract the public from the huge financial mess they created. I hope my constituents aren’t buying any of the false claims that my Republican colleagues are anti-women or bigoted in any way.
The GOP has always been the party of individual freedom and civil liberties. That’s why I choose to identify as a Republican. I believe every person should have the right to make their own choices about how they live their lives, decide their careers, and pursue their own happiness. These freedoms are what make America great and I will never vote to interfere with our rights to make these choices for ourselves.
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