Latest Column: ‘Elections DO Have Consequences’ (August 2022)

August 4, 2022

Column as it appeared in the CT Examiner:

 

Election season is here in Connecticut and August primary elections are set to take place in a matter of days. You have likely heard candidates in both parties remarking that “Elections matter,” or “Elections have consequences.” Indeed, we have seen just how true this statement is in recent election cycles.

 

Sadly, the divide between the political parties has not narrowed nor has the injection of woke ideology and progressive socialism into all aspects of American life. We truly are at a crossroads as a country and we must choose whether to retain and restore our identity as a country of free citizens, proud of our representative system and the prosperity we have enjoyed as a result of the great experiment begun with the Declaration of Independence.

 

The alternative is the path of big government and progressive socialism, the gradual but eventual elimination of freedom and free markets where even freedom of ideas and expression are eventually canceled in favor of the state’s view. It is a failed system historically. We are right now witnessing just how heavy its weight can fall on our economy and way of life.

 

I remain hopeful that my fellow citizens will see the choice more and more clearly in the days ahead and choose our system of “of, for, and by the people.” Sure, freedom comes with risk and challenges but has proven time and time again that a focus on equal opportunity and stellar aspirations raises all boats. Even now, after drifting away gradually, there is no mistaking how our system has succeeded beyond compare.

 

In choosing our future course, elections certainly matter and so does the integrity of our electoral system. It is a great tragedy that discussing the veracity of our election process has now become so polarized that any mention of voting “irregularities,” elicits a guttural response from the party in power.

 

Thoughtful review of policy changes, debates on pending legislation, and even documented evidence of criminal behavior is now lumped into the category of “the Big Lie” and immediately discredited.

 

As the ranking Republican member of the legislative committee that deals with election law, I have steadfastly reported the facts free from propaganda and will continue to do so in the name of the integrity and honor that I believe is due the office I hold.

 

The latest news is that at the end of June, Governor Lamont quietly (again) extended the state’s so-called public health “emergency.” This time, he opted to unilaterally extend the emergency as opposed to deferring to legislative leaders, who must have realized that CT residents are growing more and more suspicious and weary of this charade.

 

Six months ago, we were told that it made more sense for the legislature to make such a determination – so we met and voted – and though it passed on a mostly party line vote (every Republican voting no), every Connecticut resident got to see who thinks the legislature should get back to being the policy-making entity in the state, and that executive branch shortcuts should be a thing of the past versus those that prefer that the Governor’s appointees should have sweeping powers, even to mandate vaccines and masks in schools. The truth is that while the COVID pandemic hasn’t completely vanished, any real emergency that would prevent the state government from functioning normally certainly has.

 

The only reason for extending the emergency, we were told, was to collect millions of dollars of additional federal benefits for the state and nothing more – theoretical proof of the administration’s great concern for the people of our state, although the Governor would not act to deliver $750 million in additional relief to Connecticut families under the legislative Republicans’ plan.

 

Why is this background important? It’s important because last month, the Secretary of the State’s office, led by Governor Lamont’s handpicked appointee, used powers granted under this recent public health emergency extension to suspend supervised absentee ballot voting—the type which commonly occurs in nursing homes—for the August primary elections.

 

Yes, that’s right. State bureaucrats are taking it upon themselves to change election rules without public input and without legislative approval, but instead under powers the Governor alone extended to them. This is just another example of the dangers of progressive big government that your neighbor, the state senator, warned you about. I don’t care what political party you belong to. I am sure you want fair and honest elections, rules that ALL parties agree to, and most importantly, your voice and your vote to count. I will never back down from fighting to make that happen.

 

I’ve already raised the alarm on this issue and will keep a watchful eye throughout our election process.

 

As always, you can reach me at www.senatorsampson.com.