How to reinvigorate Connecticut’s Republican Party
Leading a post-Trump GOP and the state party to a more inclusive and prosperous future
Where will the Republican Party go in the post-Trump era after the illegal storming of the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6? Who will the Connecticut GOP select as its next chair after its dutiful and long-serving Chair J.R. Romano resigned less than one week later on January 12, citing difficulty raising money? According to a report in the CTMirror, the Connecticut GOP had $28,183 in the till as of Dec. 31, 2020.
Connecticut only has about 3.5 million citizens. The United States has about 330 million citizens. When Republican Kim Klacik ran for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District against Democrat Kwiesi Mfume in the 2020 elections, she invited the viewer to follow her on a walk through the Baltimore and to see the failure of the dominant political party, the Democratic Party. Her video went viral. Thereafter she was able to raise millions for her campaign, primarily from outside of her district. The Connecticut GOP could try to emulate that success by being a national thought leader on policy and building a more humanistic social contract.
The Republican Party was the leading civil rights organization in America at its founding, along with its standard bearer Abraham Lincoln. It should again become the leading civil rights organization in America. Most of the following policies would appeal in our cities, suburbs and country. The 74 voting members of the Connecticut GOP State Central Committee would probably agree with most of these policies as would members of Connecticut’s NAACP. These are two ships passing in the night and they know not how much they share in common.
Service in the military by the next Connecticut GOP chair could be an indicator of service to our nation.
Being a member of the executive committee of a local Connecticut NAACP branch could give the Connecticut GOP chair an insight into some of the nuances how the NAACP is the largest civil rights organization in the United States, which is what the GOP should become.
Instead of the slogan “Make America Great Again,” the CT GOP could adopt “Make America Greater Still,” as homage to the exceptional nature of America and that we still have some improvements to make. “May God mend thine every flaw.”
To make up nearly $1 billion dollars annually in our budget, without raising a single tax, Connecticut should honor Article 1 Sections 1 and 2 of our constitution against public emoluments to special groups of citizens from the public purse and to reduce what we pay our well-meaning state workers no more than The New England Average, plus three percent for flexibility. Based on Pew Research data, our sister New England states pay on average 15% percent above the national private sector and Connecticut pays 42 percent above in wages, disability, sick days, health care and pensions. Connecticut is 27 percentage points above The New England average. Article 1 Section 2 states that all free governments are instituted for the benefit of the citizen and no branch of government is authorized to give the people’s money away. A copy of our constitution is attached to every contract entered into by the State of Connecticut, since we declared our independence in 1776, so anything above The New England average is without force of law and can be amended retroactively.
There should be school choice for high needs Black, Hispanic, white, Asian and other students by the expansion of public charter schools and vouchers. For example, Black third and fourth graders at the Stamford Charter School for Excellence have scored 80s and 90s in math and English exams while Black third and fourth graders in the failing Stamford public school system have scored 20s and 30s in math and English exams. It’s not even close. Yet we are silent on these failures.
Stop defunding the education for high needs Black, Hispanic, white, Asian and other students. The level of state funding for public charter school students in Connecticut, which serve primarily Black and Hispanic students, has been stuck at $11,000 to $11,250 for years while school districts such as Hartford at $17,261, New London at $15,793 and New Haven at $16,728 spend significantly more per student, which may or may not include include capital expenses, debt service and interfund transfers. The opponents of the education of Black, Hispanic, white, Asian and other high-needs students should stop blocking an increase in the per-student state funding of public charter schools.
The Choice and Voice Education Act should be passed to allow the parents and guardians of students in Alliance and other schools the ability to turn part or all of an existing public school into a public charter school focused on academics for their children. It should be up to the parents and guardians to decide and not the Democrat power brokers who wish to keep our children in a failed public school monopoly.
Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters all love the environment. The Republican Party should not take the time to debate whether there is climate change, but rather to adopt what I call “The Paris Minimum,“ which is to do whatever we can for the environment so long as it does not increase the cost of living for poor people, which also includes their ability to earn a living. “The Paris Minimum” approach to climate change is separate and apart from the ineffective Paris Climate Accord that allows China and India to promise to take steps to reduce pollution per unit of GNP by 2030 but without any enforcement mechanism. Good luck as they build the eighth continent made of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean.
So that we do not regressively saddle our poor with efforts to address climate change, an Electric Car Equity Act should be passed in Connecticut so that the millionaires and well-to-do, who drive Tesla’s and other electric cars pay an annual fee to make up for the gasoline taxes they don’t pay while they use our roads and bridges. In addition, the Jim Crow signs at gas stations on the Merritt Parkway and our interstates that reserve the best parking for “low emitting vehicles,” is nothing more than special parking for millionaires and the well-to-do as low emitting vehicles are not a luxury that the poor can afford. So the poor are told: “to park at the back of the lot and walk further.” Jim Crow of separate but equal has no place in Connecticut or in our land.
To signify a bi-partisan future of solving our problems together, a candidate for CT GOP chair could have the support of Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and a member of the House for legislation of national significance. An example might be the proposal for a National Slavery Memorial on the Washington Mall to recognize an historic wrong, but to continue on as one people. The struggle against slavery was basic to the creation of the Republican Party and to preserve the largest experiment in democracy in history, our democracy!
Decriminalizing work should appeal to all voters, whether Republican, Democrat or unaffiliated as the State of Connecticut has the authority to fine and arrest you for working with your hands and back to earn a living if you are not a registered home improvement contractor. The right to work with your hands and back is a constitutional right as basic as speech, press, assembly and religion.
More affordable housing could be created by going back to the original Connecticut building Code of 1971 while retaining advances in fire and electrical safety. Vermont has no state building code for owner-occupied single-family residences today and you will gladly buy or rent a home there in a very cold climate. Why do we insist on making the most expensive thing most of us buy, more expensive?
Why is our nation silent on the death of two young Black men by violence every day in Chicago in 2016? Why don’t the lives of these young men, who die daily in cities, like Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baltimore and similar cities, not worth discussing? Do the ruling elites wish to protect the political dynasties that have ruled these cities for decades and the failed Welfare-Industrial state?
Furthermore, where people hung Black Lives Matter banners outside their homes or wore t-shirts to the same effect after the killing of George Floyd, Republicans could supplement that with “Life, Love, Liberty” signs outside of their homes, on lapel pins or on their campaign mailings to represent the positive message of faith that every day is a gift and no day has been promised to us. In addition, that we are all brothers and sisters children of God and acknowledge the liberties enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and our Bill of Rights. That would be a positive message that can appeal across all partisan divides.
A candidate for CT GOP chair, as well as most Republican, Democrat or unaffiliated voters, are likely to embrace Check ”American,” which states that any federal/state/local government form that asks for a citizen’s race, creed, color or ethnicity, will have as the first available category “American” on the form. It is an individual’s choice how they perceive themselves and passage of the Check ”American” legislation at www.CheckAmerican.com would be the first day of post-racial America.
Although the issue receded from the nation’s dialog in the past few years, a candidate for the chair of the Connecticut GOP could have a policy to address the DACA — DREAMers– illegal aliens. There are about 12 million illegal aliens in the United States with about two-thirds Hispanic and one-third Asian. We will not throw all of these people out of our country even if they came illegally or overstayed their visas. A compromise could be to eliminate “Hispanic-American” and “Asian-American” as minority categories in our country, and in exchange for conditions many illegals could remain here, along the lines of having been here for a certain number of years, to love America and to have been law-abiding. Fewer categories, greater unity.
A candidate for CT GOP chair might also have a website similar to SaveConnecticut.com that identifies important universal values that appeal across political parties as well as proposed policy solutions. For the Republican Party to win, it must win the votes of Democrats, unaffiliated voters and Republicans.
As Connecticut has no Republican member of the U.S. House or U.S. Senator, the CT GOP could monitor and challenge the nonchalance with which Connecticut’s congressional delegation ignores blatant violation of international norms by Communist China in the imprisonment of over one million Muslim Uyghurs in concentration camps in Western China and the breach of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China with the arrest and sentencing of liberal democratic legislators in Hong Kong, cementing the control of Beijing over these people.
In addition, will our Connecticut congressional delegation continue to be silent on the subjugation of Venezuela to the Cuban interior police over the past six years and not a word of objection? Venezuela is now a Cuban puppet state with over 80 percent of the population malnourished and bereft of basic medical care achieved in great measure during the tenure of Senator Murphy on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. What was brother Murphy doing to allow Venezuela to slide beneath the authoritarian sea?
Opposition to regressive highway tolls is also a position that a candidate for the CT GOP could have to call out yet another burden placed on the working person, just to earn a living, while our wasteful state has an administrative cost per mile of road at nine times the national average! $98,000 in Connecticut to about $11,000 nationally. Scandalous.
The candidate could point out that the 2017 SEBAC Agreement is not inviolate. The agreement in 2017 claimed to set state staffing levels for four years and covered pay increases for ten years to our state employees without chance for amendment. Our constitution, however, sets forth just how a piece of legislation can be passed and how it can also be undone. The 2017 SEBAC agreement can be amended at any point if we actually have politicians in Hartford who favor the citizen over the state and her allies
Our state and nation needs a realistic plan to counter the effects of an EMP strike. An EMP strike is a burst of electromagnetic radiation caused by a nuclear explosion to knock out our electric grid and electronic systems. This could lead to disruption of our food production and distribution and result in civil unrest.
Finally, our nation is being assaulted by the intolerance of the intolerants, who seek to hound, humiliate and cancel our young and old people through cancel culture. It is only a matter of time before they come for you. Humility, compassion, forgiveness and redemption are the antidotes to the poison of cancel cancer and are our key to national unity.
This is a vision for the future of the Republican party for 50 diverse and independent states that make up our republic under the Rule of Law as opposed to the statist vision of rule from one centralized location, Washington, D.C., by our betters, those with a higher formal education and sense of self-worth than the rest of us.
More articles of what the CT GOP can represent can be found at SaveConnecticut.com.
The Connecticut GOP could become a thought leader in our land and facilitate the raising of contributions across our fellow 330 million citizens.
Peter Thalheim lives in Stamford.
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