The following open letter to Sen. Donald Williams was penned by Rita Conrad and appeared in the May 17th edition of the Villager Newspapers:
Dear Senator Donald Williams, and the editor of the Villager Newspapers — the business community and other guests should appreciate the NECT Chamber of Commerce for providing an event where a few of your constituents could ask questions of state legislators on Friday, May 10, at the QVCC campus.
Thank you to all the legislators who participated, as well. While the event is wisely designed to prevent confrontation and conversations, it does not allow any citizen objection to political grandstanding. Unfortunately, that gives lawmakers an ideal podium for spreading misinformation to constituents.
Many of your comments were misleading on Friday, Senator. Therefore, I am asking this be placed in a local editorial column for some equal time.
When Day Kimball Hospital administrators objected to the state’s severe funding cuts to hospitals, and a local business man objected to the state’s 9-percent increase in the state budget, you launched into misinformation regarding the hospital’s profits and the reality of budgets. You lectured that DKH’s profits were over five times higher than actual figures. That number had to be corrected from the moderator’s seat. Your accusation that the inquirer’s figures on the budget increase was condescending and, again, misleading. You argued that the budget will see only a 4-percent increase. Later, you admitted that the next year would see a 4.5-percent increase (it’s a two-year budget, folks, not a one-year budget).
As you continued in your lecture to hospital administration and the business person, you managed to slip in that the state spending cap needs to be raised in order to accommodate the new spending.
It was not you who actually tried to convince the audience that Connecticut had not made many national worst and highest lists due to its debt, cost of living, and spending issues. That belonged to Sen. Andrew Maynard on Friday, who launched into a “hate the Yankee Institute” lecture, while attempting to beef up some state-patriotism for being number one for the smartest workforce.
That was before he offered his whole support of the $1.5 billion taxpayer contribution to UConn by telling us there are many brilliant professors who need to be paid. He should be receiving a factual letter from his constituents on those matters. You made it very clear you will support that spending as well.
Above that was your over-the-top response to a constituent who had the courage to challenge legislators on the gun issue. He is a businessman and a law-abiding gun owner who pays his personal and business taxes to support your employment. The rude and insensitive manner in which you answered a yes or no question was full of the usual emotional language relying on the accounts of Newtown victims to make points. The tirade went on unchallenged with no polite opportunity to answer back.
Since we didn’t get any valuable answers to some serious questions and, you admittedly will not be holding any town hall meetings, here are a few questions:
1) Bill 1160, an act concerning gun violence and children safety, consists of 135 pages with gun restrictions making up 66 percent of it. The remainder contains a few certain safety and mental health initiatives, with the majority establishing unaccountable studies/commissions. If children safety is the true goal, when will there be any mandates and state funding applied to those measures?
2) How will the state fund the legal costs of fighting 2nd Amendment lawsuits?
3) Recent reports are signaling a call for more than 6,000 new state employees simply for the already overburdened registration process. Were this, and other future needs, calculated before passing the legislation?
Answers to these questions would be appreciated, not just by me, but many of your constituents. Personally, I have been encouraging WINY Radio to schedule an on-air segment of the morning talk show in which you accept call-in requests. Please make every effort to do that soon.