November 21, 2019

Letter: Senator Linares’s Vote Against Gun Control, Contrary to Majority of Constituent’s Wishes, Requires Explanation

To The Editor:

I write to thank ValleyNewsNow for its coverage of Senator Linares’s recent vote against the gun control law enacted by the Connecticut Legislature with broad bipartisan support following the Newtown massacre.

Mr. Linares’s constituents have a right to know the reasons for his opposition, given the undeniable support in his district for child safety, the strong endorsement of the bill across party lines, and the uncertainty as to what credible alternative Mr. Linares is offering.

However, while the ValleyNewsNow coverage of Senator Linares’s “no” vote is helpful, it was not altogether satisfying.  The article reports that Mr. Linares issued a statement which “concluded the bill does not address the most important problems”.  But it does not tell us how Mr. Linares reached that conclusion or what measures he would advocate instead.

Senator Linares reportedly said that he decided to vote against the gun law “after talking to many residents of the 33rd district”.  If Mr. Linares means to suggest that his vote reflects the majority of his constituents’ views, I would guess that claim is almost certainly preposterous. To my knowledge, Mr. Linares never conducted a hearing on the issue in his district, and the extensive testimony he heard as a member of the Newtown Task Force led other legislators to broad bipartisan support for the measure.  The true basis of Mr. Linares’s position remains a mystery.

Mr. Linares’s official website sheds no light on the matter either.  As of today, April 19 – over two weeks after the bill’s enactment – Mr. Linares’s web site does not even mention his vote, let alone carry the statement described by the Valley News.  Instead, when one consults the web site’s “in the news” section, one learns that in the aftermath of the legislation, Mr. Linares spent his time commending kindergartners for helping others, extolling the Haddam Shad Museum, and “high fiving” intermediate school students on tour of the State capitol.

One need not begrudge Senator Linares his “feel good” press releases or his energetic attempts to have them covered in the  local press, no matter how modest the content. (See, for example, the 10 or so articles appearing in the Valley News since mid January extensively covering among other things Mr. Linares participation in various meetings, his tours of local factories, and even his attendance at someone else’s press conference)  But they are not a substitute for keeping his district informed of what he is actually doing in Hartford and why.

The public’s right to know our representatives positions is not a partisan issue.  It applies left, right and center. Again, the  Newtown legislation is being cited as a model of bipartisan cooperation worthy of emulation at the national level. Residents of the 33rd District, whether they be Republican, Democrats, or Independents, deserve to understand why Mr. Linares took an outlier position on this historic legislation

Sincerely,

David Harfst,  
Essex

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