OPINION: Representative Government … Of the People, By the People, For the People

Posted on July 12, 2020


Issued by the following members of the Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus: Rep. Mike France, Chair (R-42); Rep. Craig Fishbein, Vice Chair (R-90); Rep. Anne Dauphinais, Secretary (R-44); Rep. David T. Wilson, Treasurer (R-66); Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8); Rep. Brian Lanoue (R-45); Rep. Rick Hayes (R-51); Rep. John Piscopo (R-76); Rep. Joe Poletta (R-68); Rep. John Fusco (R-81); and Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-86)

In a representative form of government, there is a well-established process for seeking redress from your government. It usually begins when a citizen proposes an idea, which is followed by a representative committee with authority debating the idea, public hearings are held, a vote is taken and ultimate resolution is achieved. This process may not always produce the outcome we expect, nor that we are all happy with, but there is always a level of satisfaction in seeing the process of notice, debate, decision and will of the people through their elected representative prevail.

Since the pandemic began, Governor Lamont has been running the state by Executive Order, while the legislature – your elected voice in state government – has been sidelined. In light of the recent boiling over of societal and cultural issues, it is imperative that we adhere to established processes that will ensure our government represents the will of the people through their duly elected representatives. By working together as elected officials, our state can appropriately and responsibly address the important issues facing our residents, whether economic, judicial, educational, or historical.

Recently we have seen state and local governments coming under pressure to make reactive decisions on whether historic monuments should be removed from public display. In some communities, violence has erupted between groups advocating for both sides – that violence came briefly to New Haven during the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in Wooster Square. The Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus supports a thorough public discussion concerning the erection or removal or any public monument that may be seen as offensive or socially inappropriate. After all, just as there is a process for representative government to assent to the placement, and there is similarly a process to reverse that course, also by decision of representative government.  On the other hand, the Conservative Caucus absolutely condemns the use of violence, intimidation, and mob force as a means to impose individual will upon a polite society, while continuing to recognize the right of assembly, peaceful protest and demonstration.

We all know that government functions best under the bright light of public scrutiny, and through the voices of those it has been elected to serve. Just as the people should not tolerate government making decisions behind closed doors, the government, in their responsibility to all citizens to preserve order and protect property, both public and private, must not allow groups of angry protestors, employing anarchy and destruction of public property, to dictate public policy. Historical buildings, monuments, memorials, and other public property are just that, public, and the orderly and open process followed for their installation must rightfully remain in place if the removal from public display is to be accomplished.

It is a direct contravention to the idea of open government and due process to allow small groups of vocal agitators to effect immediate change to public policy without proper public debate and a vote by the elected representative government. By seeking open and informed discussion, we can come to appreciate different perspectives, and make thoughtful, responsible decisions regarding our public spaces and the historical images or messages they display.

The Conservative Caucus is prepared at the state level to hold the necessary discussions, and offer solutions to the issues tearing at the fabric of our communities. Respecting and utilizing a process which welcomes the voices of all citizens, is the considerate and respectful way to move Connecticut forward through these difficult times.


Rep. Mike France, Chair (R‑42)

Rep. Craig Fishbein, Vice Chair (R-90)

Rep. Anne Dauphinais, Secretary (R-­44)

Rep. David T. Wilson, Treasurer (R-66)

Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8)

Rep. Brian Lanoue (R-45)

Rep. Rick Hayes (R‑51)

Rep. Joe Polletta (R-68)

Rep. John Piscopo (R-76)

Rep. John Fusco (R‑81)

Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-86)