Republican State Chairman J.R. Romano said Saturday he is sticking with his decision to ban a Hearst Connecticut Media reporter from Monday’s state convention, despite a public rebuke from one of the state’s highest-ranking elected Republicans.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, a Republican who represents Derby, the town where Romano grew up, issued a statement urging him to reconsider the ban of Neil Vigdor, who writes for a chain with newspapers in Bridgeport, Danbury, Greenwich, Norwalk and Stamford.

“I disagree with Chairman Romano’s decision to prohibit a member of the press from the Hearst newspaper chain from attending the convention Monday, and hope that he would reconsider his position,” Klarides said. “I sincerely believe that we need more transparency in politics today, not less. Banning a member of the press because you may disagree with coverage is not a wise move.”

Romano said he respected Klarides, but he was disinclined to issue credentials to Vigdor unless certain issues are addressed before Monday night. He said he had an unsatisfactory meeting Thursday with Barbara T. Roessner, executive editor of Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

“I understand Themis’ perspective, I do,” Romano said. “Just because someone is a reporter doesn’t mean they are beyond reproach. I am more than willing to sit down and talk with Neil and Barbara.”

Romano said he believes he has the support of the Republican State Central Committee, who are meeting at midday Monday to elect a Republican National Committee member and consider a list of delegates to the national convention.

Democratic State Chairman Nick Balletto smiled broadly at his party’s convention Saturday and made a point of welcoming all members of the media.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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