Liberal group demonstrates at senators’ homes across Connecticut

Liberal group demonstrates at senators’ homes across Connecticut

Record-Journal


MERIDEN — When Sen. Len Suzio returned home from the state legislature Wednesday night, he found a belated Valentine’s Day card waiting for him.

The card wasn’t from a secret Valentine, but rather from roughly a dozen area residents who demonstrated outside his house earlier in the evening. Members of the liberal DUE Justice Coalition gathered for similar demonstrations outside the homes of other state senators from both political parties.

“The idea is to push for progressive causes,” said Steve Volpini, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden.

The coalition includes churches, unions, and other groups.

Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, said he also found a poster when he arrived home. A spokeswoman for Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said she was unaware of a demonstration at his house.

Suzio, R-Meriden, who was at the legislative office building for the roughly 30-minute demonstration, expressed disappointment that he didn’t have the chance to talk with the group.

“I think that’s great, that’s what America’s about,” he said. “If you disagree with me, I have no problem with that at all.”

He said he enjoys the opportunity to discuss politics with his constituents, even those who disagree with him. Suzio added he “thrives” on recent events in Middletown and Meriden, where groups of constituents attended public meetings to voice their opposition to his proposals and policy stances.

Markley declined to comment on the card left at his home, calling it a “non-event.” and Fasano didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Volpini and the other demonstrators said they had concerns about Suzio’s political views on both fiscal and social issues. DUE Justice is pushing for a minimum wage increase, more funding for public education, social justice reform, pro-choice policies, and other objectives.

Volpini expressed concern that campaign expenditures from independent organizations will lead to more conservative policies.

Suzio, who benefited from campaign expenditures from the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, dismissed the notion that outside money only benefits Connecticut Republicans.

He noted his opponent, former State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, D-Meriden, also benefited from independent expenditures, while Democrats changed campaign finance laws a few years ago to allow the state committee to spend more on a single campaign.

Suzio said he disagrees with the DUE Justice coalition on some social issues, particularly abortion, but said his focus is on the upcoming two-year state budget.

“I don’t run away from (social issues), but I don’t make that a priority right now because the budget is a catastrophe,” he said.

He also said he opposes a minimum wage increase because you “can’t legislate economics,” adding income is held down by a “flooded market” of labor from immigration.

“If we had better control and enforce whatever our immigration is — and I’m not saying we shouldn’t change our immigration laws, but they are what they are right now — you would find that people at the lower end of the labor pool would be getting better compensation,” Suzio said.

msavino@record-journal.com 203-317-2266 Twitter: @reporter_savino


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