Greenwich Time Op-Ed by Ryan Fazio – October 30, 2020 — Running for state Senate in my home district has been an experience of a lifetime. Meeting, speaking with, and listening to thousands of people from different walks of life has been a joy and privilege. More than anything, I have learned a lot. And, amidst hard times, my faith and hope in our community has been renewed.
It has also only added to my determination to serve our district. Our campaign is energized and bringing people together across the political spectrum who understand that we need change in Hartford. We are focused on the big issues before our state.
Meanwhile, my opponent, Alex Kasser, wants to distract from them. After her first term in the state senate, her closing argument in this newspaper this week included criticizing me for a “like” on Twitter, taking a single word out of context from a 2,000-word essay, and impugning our country as fundamentally bigoted. Huh. Let me set the record straight on some of her criticisms while adding other general points:
My most fundamental political belief is that all of us are created equal and should be treated equally under the law.
I am in favor of protecting people with pre-existing health conditions under the law.
I have specific proposals to increase access and reduce the cost of health care, including for birth control and other vital drugs and services.
I am in favor of gay marriage, which is also currently legal under both federal and state law.
I love our country and will not apologize defending her character.
I will always seek common ground and to bring people together.
But the more important question is: Why is an incumbent state senator grasping at straws and running such a negative campaign against her challenge? Maybe because our campaign has traction. And maybe because she does not have a record to run on and wants to distract from the big issues at stake.
Here are the three most pressing issues that voters raise to me regarding our state:
First: Cut taxes and create economic growth. Connecticut has the worst economic growth in the nation over the last 12 years, in which time, Democrats have had almost complete control over all levers of the state government. They’ve used that power to raise our taxes repeatedly to the point that we are the second-highest taxed state in the nation. That’s unacceptable to me.
I introduced in these papers on Oct. 18 my plan for economic growth and to cut income taxes across the board. I pledge to never vote for a tax increase and invite voters will hold me accountable in my reelection if I break that pledge.
My opponent made a similar pledge to “cut taxes on all families” when she first rant two years ago. Now she has a record: She broke that promise in 2019 when she voted for a 0.5 percent payroll tax (SB1) on all families (well …… except for a carveout for unionized state workers) starting January 2021. She tries to excuse this broken promise with some hand-wavey explanation about a compulsory payroll tax not actually being a tax. She also congratulates herself for voting against another tax increase — which passed anyway. But if someone mugs you for half of what is in your wallet, it is still a robbery. My opponent promised to cut your taxes and voted to raise them. That is an unambiguous fact.
Second: Keep schools open safely and protecting local control of schools. The scientific evidence regarding both COVID and child development says that families should have the option of sending their kids back to school in person with safety precautions. The American Academy of Pediatrics said that all plans for school this year should begin with the goal of sending kids back to school in person. Accordingly, there has been no significant community spread tied to schools locally. Across the United States, the infection rate for teachers and students is much lower than the general population.
Because of this science, I supported the efforts of the governor and local officials to open schools in person in our district. My opponent wrote to the governor Aug. 14 that they should close schools for everyone across Connecticut this fall. Moreover, she tried to close them without consulting important local officials or announcing to her constituents on social media or local media. I would always be transparent.
I would also oppose all efforts to regionalize control of schools and reduce the hundreds of unfunded state mandates on local schools.
Third: Protect the public safety for all. Our cities are facing a surge in shootings this summer in the aftermath of a radical new policing law that remakes law enforcement in Connecticut. Some of the bill has gone into effect and a lot is still yet to — which means things are due to get even worse. But with passage of the bill, my opponent and her Democrat colleagues in Hartford, set the tone in Connecticut that police should be on their heels and career criminals should be galvanized. In the last month, shooting more than doubled compared to the same time last year in Hartford and New Haven.
I was endorsed in historic fashion by the Greenwich and Stamford police unions because of my commitment to repealing the law and implementing good policies that keep officers and our most vulnerable neighborhoods safe.
Our district and our state can do better. I do not believe that Connecticut should be sentenced to another decade of outmigration and stagnation. I believe the best days are ahead of our community, if only we elect new leadership first. So, on Nov. 3, I ask my neighbors for their vote and support to change Hartford, save Connecticut, and create hope for our future.
Ryan Fazio is the Republican candidate for state Senate for Greenwich, Stamford, and New Canaan.