To the Editor,
At voting booths on Nov. 6, 2018, Connecticut citizens may well remember the Constitution State’s history of advancing American democracy with the abolition of slavery in 1848. While much attention has been directed to the race for Connecticut’s governor, much less has been given to two critically important statewide races. Should the two Republicans, Sue Hatfield and Susan Chapman be elected, the state’s constitution with its proud heritage could suffer damage.
The Republican candidate for state attorney general, Sue Hatfield, was an early and ardent Donald Trump supporter who served as a Trump delegate to the Republican convention. Mike Lawlor, Connecticut’s Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, described Hatfield as “a full force racist enabler.” When questioned about Trump’s cruel policy of separating young children from their mothers at the border, Hatfield (a mother of two sons) made clear her unequivocal support for Trump’s policy.
Republican policies have hurt families, attacked much needed medical care, eviscerated clean air and water regulations, and discriminated against Moslems, African-Americans and Hispanics. Hatfield belongs to a Republican Party that seeks to eliminate the requirement that private insurance companies cover treatments for pre-existing conditions, thus putting tens of millions of Americans at risk of losing their insurance coverage and their health. In 2012, 20 Republican Attorney Generals sued the federal government in an attempt to eliminate coverage. Their challenge to the ACA resulted in a Supreme Court decision that permitted individual states to reject the law’s expansion of Medicaid and its federal subsidies.
Clearly, Democrats work for the people of their states, while time and time again, Republicans represent the interests of big business and big polluters. Republican efforts to exclude non-whites from voting have reached scandalous proportions. Susan Chapman, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State, is running a stealth campaign that shows how little she will do to ensure citizens’ rights. Today, the Republican SOT in Georgia, Brian Kemp, is refusing to process more than 50,000 voter applications, which include some 80% of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans.
Kemp purged a third of a million voters from the Georgia voter rolls last year. In North Dakota, the legislature, assisted by the Republican SOT, changed the voting rules to virtually disenfranchise Native Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic. In North Carolina, the Republican SOT and the Republican legislature implemented racist voter suppression laws that a federal judge deemed “almost laser-focused” on preventing African Americans from voting.
Contrast this situation to the efforts of Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, now running for re-election. Merrill works to expand voting and to oppose Republican attempts to pass voter suppression laws. Along with Merrill, Connecticut’s Democratic Attorney General George Jensen presents a strong alternative to Republican indifference. Jensen has taken a stand against Trump’s travel ban on Muslims and against Trump’s child separation policy. He has sued the EPA to prevent its gutting the clean air act. He has led a multi-state lawsuit against generic drug producers that uncovered systematic and pervasive price fixing within the industry. He has led the lawsuit against the federal government alleging discrimination against Democratic states with the Republican budget’s cap on state and local tax deductions, an act that raises taxes by more than $10 billion on fully 40% of Connecticut taxpayers.
The choice for voting in Democrats against Republicans is more than a political choice. It is an ethical choice, one which will sustain Connecticut’s people, its ecology, its cities and towns, its children and their future.
Nina Pelikan Straus