Opinion: City’s GOP chair says ‘It’s not too late for Connecticut’s future’

republicansTo the editor:

By now you have likely read about the Connecticut Democrat-controlled State Legislature voting to enact their proposed budget pact reached with Governor Dannel Malloy. This $40 billion budget, inclusive of the second-largest tax increase in Connecticut history, comes just four years after the same Democrat-controlled legislature passed the largest tax increase in Connecticut history.

You have likely read about the public outcry made by corporate titans Aetna, General Electric, and Travelers claiming that such a budget and tax hike would force these job creators to seriously consider re-locating their operations out of the state. You have also likely read about the tens of thousands of phone calls made by concerned citizens, perhaps including yourself, to the governor and Democrat members of the House of Representatives and State Senate. And hopefully you have read about how your Republican representatives in the House and Senate, Cara Pavalock, Whit Betts, and Henri Martin, heard your concerns and voted against this budget.

Unfortunately, 73 Democrat members of the Connecticut House of Representatives, including Bristol Democrat State Representative Frank Nicastro ignored your concerns. In voting favorably for this massive tax hike that will negatively impact seniors, the middle class, and employers including ESPN and Bristol Hospital, these Democrat representatives failed to represent their constituents.

I must express my surprise and disappointment in Representative Nicastro, who over the years has proven himself to be one of the more fiscally conservative members of the legislature. Representative Nicastro had always held his constituent’s concerns, particularly their financial concerns, close to his heart. He had voted against tax hikes in the past, including the previously mentioned largest tax increase in state history. Yet this year, for some reason, he decided to vote in lockstep with his Democrat colleagues.

It is important to note that not all Democrats in the legislature voted for this tax hike. Eleven members of the Democratic House and two members of the Democratic Senate majorities sided with the unanimous Republican caucuses to vote against the budget. They wanted to work in a bi-partisan manner in representing the desires of the majority of Connecticut citizens and businesses. Their dissent fell just five total votes shy of defeating the budget.

But before you rush to buy the for-sale sign for your front yard, please consider an alternative: vote Republican.

I know many of you reading this are not Republicans. That doesn’t matter. Your party affiliation counts only towards your ability to vote in primaries, not in general elections. In other words, just because you are registered as a Republican, Democrat, independent, unaffiliated or another affiliation, that does not prevent you from crossing “party lines” on your ballot. At the core, I firmly believe the vast majority of Connecticut voters consider themselves fiscally conservative. Time and time again, Republicans have proven to represent fiscal conservatism as a core, fundamental trademark of our policy.

For instance, Republicans in the state House proposed a budget that would make considerable cuts, but would balance the budget without the need for a massive tax increase. For an even better example, we can look at the performance of the Bristol GOP since taking a majority of the mayor’s office, City Council, Board of Education, and Board of Finance.

This year, while the state is looking to raid our wallets once again, the City of Bristol has passed a budget containing a zero tax increase, while increasing financial aid for our children’s education, road and infrastructure maintenance, and other crucial public services. Since taking control of City government, Bristol Republicans have restored key funding to our infrastructure, have helped spur economic development despite the state’s best effort to stymie business and job growth, and have returned services for our children cut under Democrat leadership, such as middle school band and sports.

The city has worked hard to streamline processes, has cracked down on blight, and has a renewed focus on attracting and retaining employers. Joint ventures and increased collaboration between the city and Chamber of Commerce have helped usher in a new marketing mission of spreading Bristol’s message as being Connecticut’s “Best Bang for your Buck” community. Under GOP leadership, we have seen businesses expand and new employers relocate to Bristol. Your trust in our candidates has helped position Bristol as one of the more desirable locations not only for families and seniors, but for businesses and visitors.

So my message to Bristol voters is simple: Thank you for having faith in our candidates, and please continue to support the party and our leaders as you have over the past five years. Your patience and support is paying off, and Bristol’s future is looking a lot brighter because of it. Equally simple is my message to Connecticut’s voters in general: Before you sell your home and leave the state for greener pastures, consider voting Republican here in Connecticut. We are not the cold, uncaring, and rich party we’ve been made out to be. We are the party of common sense policy and fiscal responsibility – two things severely lacking by this Democrat-controlled state legislature.

If you want proof of how successful the alternative can be, look no further than Bristol, Danbury, and the countless other cities and towns that have made the switch and are reaping the benefits for having done so.

Derek Czenczelewski

Chairman

Bristol Republican Town Committee