Republicans need ‘to get with the times,’ Fasano says [Bristol Press]

July 28, 2015

Bristol Press

BRISTOL — Two Republican lawmakers said Tuesday that Connecticut’s GOP needs to do more to reach younger voters.

“We’ve got to get with the times,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano during an appearance before the Bristol Business Builders group at the Manross branch library.

With its high taxes, slack economy and broken political system, Fasano and state Sen. Henri Martin, a Bristol Republican, said the state doesn’t hold much attraction for people who are moving into the workforce.

“There’s nothing in Connecticut for them. There really isn’t,” said Fasano, a lawyer and business owner from North Haven.

Martin said the millennial generation born after 1984 has more than 100 million people in it – far more than the Baby Boom generation – and the political system needs to get ready.

“We do have to start planning for that generation,” Martin said.

Fasano said the Republicans need to erect “a broad tent” so that younger voters won’t be turned off. He said they don’t view issues involving race or sexual orientation in the same way that older people do.

“We’ve got to start thinking more like them,” he said, because espousing outdated ideas will put them off.

Fasano said that pressing to do more for the urban neighborhoods that twenty-somethings want to live in is also part of the equation. He said young adults are interested in such things as bicycle lanes and mass transit, issues that don’t often resonate as much with older voters.

“As Republicans, we have to change” to reach the issues they care about, he said. “And I’m pushing for that change.”

Both Martin and Fasano said the state needs to get its fiscal house in order, reduce the tax burden on individuals and businesses and make a greater commitment to seeking bipartisan solutions to the problems it faces.

They each blasted Gov. Dannel Malloy for what they perceived as excess partisanship.

“Regime change is the only solution,” said Jim Albert, the president of the Bristol-based Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce. He said the major parties need to move away from “the lunatic left and the ridiculous right” and instead let moderate voices be heard.

Martin said there are many moderates out there. He said they’re looking for fairness and honesty.

Jill Fitzgerald, a GOP Board of Education member, said that emotional issues too often drive the debate, preventing those in the middle from seizing the day.