I know how frustrated people are with politics these days. I stepped into the political arena two years ago and I am frustrated! I hear the complaints of how partisan the State Legislature is and how we politicians don’t get along and can’t get anything done. While there are some small glimmers of bipartisanship in Hartford, we have a very long way to go.
I have welcomed bipartisan collaboration from those legislators who value ideas based on merit, no matter which side of the aisle they originate. When I’ve opposed policies, I offered alternative solutions, demonstrating a willingness to work together for the best interest of Connecticut. As a result, we successfully pushed to cap the gasoline tax, crafted legislation aimed at creating jobs and supporting small businesses, and implemented meaningful education reform. I was also instrumental in defeating legislation that would have raised healthcare costs in our state. At the end of this year’s legislative session I had found common ground and agreed with the majority on 76% of the votes in the House.
Unfortunately, the occasions when we disagree are on substantive issues that have the most significant impact on our state, such as spending, taxes, and how we create an environment for job growth. I couldn’t support policies like Gov. Malloy’s budget increase of almost $3.6 billion with a retroactive income tax increase, or his early prison release program for sex offenders and violent criminals. I fought against these measures and proposed constructive alternatives, including an alternative budget which did not increase spending. I was also an outspoken critic of the controversial New Britain to Hartford busway – a $567 million spending project costing each taxpayer nearly $400. These types of policies are the reason why our state remains at the bottom of so many national rankings, and will be for many years to come.
It is difficult to resist partisanship nowadays. On one hand, there are some great legislators who are interested in working together. On the other, we have a Governor and majority leadership who push Democrat legislators into supporting the policies which are holding us back from an economic recovery. To make matters worse, I see many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are now campaigning on a platform of restraining spending and taxes. Really? These are the same people who voted for massive spending and tax increases under Governor Malloy and Governor Rell, while rejecting sensible alternatives.
The fact is that Democrats totally and completely control our State Government, and have for many years. Despite former Republican Governors, the Democrats have majority control in every Federal office, every Constitutional office, both the State Senate and State House and the Governor's Office. In effect, one party rule.
While I will continue to work in a bipartisan way in Hartford, I refuse to be another rubber stamp for an agenda that is taking this state down the wrong path. Being in the minority party grants me the latitude to speak my mind without being pressured, so I can continue to be your independent voice for responsible spending and job creating policies. If you want to see politicians in Connecticut find common ground and you truly believe that politics today is too partisan, there really is only one solution -- to restore balance and accountability to our state government. Elect more independent-thinking Republicans to elected office.