Detailed Response to Corky’s False Claims

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Oct 27, 2014 No Comments ›› admin

***UPDATED 10-28-14***
Rep. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, is seeking a third term in the 80th House District. Rep. Sampson is a fiscal conservative, a friend to business and a defender of Second Amendment rights. He also has been an outspoken critic of the New Britain-Hartford busway and Gov. Malloy’s 2011 executive orders that forced the unionization of some health-care workers. Voters should pick Rep. Sampson over Democratic challenger John “Corky” Mazurek, also of Wolcott. Mr. Mazurek, a moderate who represented the district from 2003 to 2011, is bizarrely circulating a mailer heavy on factually dubious statements.
October 28, 2014 Waterbury Rep-Am Editorial Board

 

I believe that Connecticut is at a major fork in the road. Our future depends on the path we choose.

A genuine debate on fundamental principles is essential. Should state government continue to grow, to take more of our income, control more of our economy, take more power from our towns and liberties from the people—or is it time to change direction, and restore responsibility to us as citizens?

That is a conversation I would welcome, even enjoy, but it’s not the way my opponent campaigns.

Instead of explaining his own position on the issues, Corky Mazurek spent taxpayer money to dishonestly attack my record, and he has launched these attacks so late that I am unable to respond by mail to the voters.

Securing state funding for local projects has been Corky’s main issue throughout the campaign. He did so during his time at the capitol, and I have as well: every legislator watches out for his district, and no one comes home empty-handed.

Corky is entitled to brag about his success, but the claim in his recent mailer that I provided “NO money for local projects” is patently false. Just this year, I secured a $350,000 STEAP grant for open space—substantial funding in these tight times. And it is a matter of record that the two towns I represent have received more total state aid in each of the last four years than in any previous year in our history.

Corky also claimed in his mailers that “Rob Sampson has proposed 58 bills in his time and hasn’t been able to pass a single one.” In fact, I introduced 51 bills and cosponsored 102; of those, 58 became law (which must be where Corky got his number).

Corky also claims that I “voted to reduce education funding in both Southington and Wolcott”. To be true, that would require a vote on a bill that reduces funding. There has been no such proposal.

This gross mischaracterization likely is based on my vote against Governor Malloy’s 2011 budget, which included the largest tax increase in state history–as well as specifying funding for education. I think I made the right choice in voting no.

The alternative Republican budget I helped craft and supported in 2011 would have provided the funding for local education and municipal aid, without imposing $700 a year in new taxes on the average Connecticut family.

Corky Mazurek has gone so far as to claim that I have voted against first responders, breast cancer patients, and even clean water. Such absurd accusations insult the intelligence of the voters.

Claim: “He voted NO to Clean Water” (SB1010 in 2013) – The actual bill title is “An Act Concerning Sea Level Rise and the Funding of Projects by the Clean Water Fund”. What does it really do? According to the summary from the Legislative Commissioners Office, it expands the authority of the commissioner of DEEP and takes away local control of clean water projects. It is safe to say my opponent was stretching the truth a bit with his characterization.

Another claim is that I “supported failed lawsuits that cost taxpayers thousands” – This is clearly in reference to my lawsuit against the Governor regarding the breach of executive authority in forcing the unionization of personal care attendants and child care providers. As Senator Markley pointed out at a recent forum, our suit did fail at the Supreme Court level in Connecticut but we were ultimately victorious as the United States Supreme Court recently ruled in an almost identical case “Harris v Quinn” and in our favor.  I would say that is something difficult to describe as a “failure”.   Incidentally, there was no cost to taxpayers as a result of this action.

Another claim is that I “voted no to keeping UTC in Connecticut” – I am confident that our respective positions on Governor Malloy’s corporate welfare programs are pretty clear by now.  My opponent is in favor and I oppose singling out individual companies for benefits, and instead creating a more friendly business climate for all businesses, large and small. I would point out that the legislature did not vote on keeping UTC in Connecticut as that is a matter for the Board of UTC to determine and has nothing to do with whether they should be the recipient of hard earned tax dollars paid by Connecticut citizens.  The characterization that I am in favor of a major employer leaving our state is plainly false.

Sadly, there is not the space or time here for me to explain each bill, and it’s a well known adage that in a political campaign, “if you are explaining, then you’re losing.”   However, I think you get the picture.

The other claims are just as ludicrous including ones about “NO on funding for public schools or roads” or  “NO on protecting victims of domestic violence”, or breast cancer MRI’s and so on.  Each of these bills has language associated with it beyond my opponent’s description of what each one does and without the context you can’t know what the proper vote was.

The vast majority of the items he cites are actually huge budget bills with hundreds of pages and many moving parts.  Claiming that I voted against domestic abuse for instance because it was a line or two from the Governor’s Budget is pure deception.  Here are a few examples.

Claim: No on funding for our public schools and roads  – Bill Cited – PA 14-47 (AN ACT MAKING ADJUSTMENTS TO STATE EXPENDITURES AND REVENUES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2015.)

Claim: No on protecting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault – Bill Cited – PA 14-217 (AN ACT IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS OF THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 2015.)

Claim: No on breast and/or cervical cancer detection, screening and treatment – Bill Cited – HB 6380 2011 (AN ACT CONCERNING THE BUDGET FOR THE BIENNIUM ENDING JUNE 30, 2013. To implement the Governor’s budget recommendations.)

Claim: No on breast and/or cervical cancer/ detection, screening and treatment – Bill Cited –SB 11 2011 and others (AN ACT CONCERNING INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR BREAST MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING AND EXTENDING THE NOTIFICATION PERIOD TO INSURERS FOLLOWING THE BIRTH OF A CHILD.) I did indeed vote NO for several reasons.  The lesson here is that a bill is much more than just a title.  This particular bill had numerous issues:  1) It contained language about a whole separate issue (changing the time frame for reporting the birth of a newborn) which I argued should have been voted on separately.  2) The Malloy Insurance Dept testified in opposition.  3) Because of a provisions in Obamacare this mandate instead of being the responsibility of the premium payer or the insurance company instead must be borne by the state (as in the taxpayers).  4) There was a dispute over who the proper governing body for determining medical necessity would appear in the bill, American Cancer Society vs American College of Radiology*.  This was an issue on all of the cancer screening bills.  *Note on SB 12 in 2012 – COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING, (which my opponent also cited) I voted No in committee as I am the Ranking Member of the Insurance Committee and one of my duties is to flag bills that need changes before they make it the House or Senate floor for a vote.. I bring this one up because I voted no in committee because of the issue #4 above but once it was fixed, I voted YES on the House floor.  5) Finally, I objected to carving out the self-insured plans (including the state and many large employers) from the mandate as it is hypocritical (I made this argument repeatedly but not a reason to vote no by itself)

It is very difficult to determine how any particular single vote is reflective of someones values or record. There are loads of reasons beyond what I listed here why anyone could or would vote for or against anything. Many times there are competing bills that do the same thing or in my case, as a member of leadership, I am obligated to flag bills for reference before they head to the other chamber etc.

The reason my opponent decided to make this particular bill an issue is because the words “breast cancer” appear in the title and therefore it is politically useful for him. The fact is I had the courage to vote no on this bad policy despite knowing this potential drama and consequence.  Breast cancer is obviously a sensitive issue and important to all of us including Mr. Mazurek.  I want to point out that both my mom and my grandmother are breast cancer survivors and anyone who would claim that I would somehow not have there best interest at heart for political gain is someone who should reflect on their own motives.

In some of the other instances, there were competing bills to achieve the same goal or there was something objectionable about who was ultimately paying for certain insurance mandates or how come the state employee insurance plan was not included as being subject to the same MRI for breast cancer requirement, etc.   My opponent fails to use the proper title of each bill and instead paints his own headline on each as if that could or should be trusted.

He also lists several bills that I never voted on because they were committee bills for committees I don’t even sit on and in another case, the bill numbers have nothing to do with what he identifies them as:

Claim: No on making it possible for people to care for sick family members without economic consequences – Bill Cited-PA 13-13 (AN ACT CONCERNING SELF-SERVICE STORAGE FACILITY LIENS) – which I incidentally voted yes too.

Just today, another mailer from my opponent arrived, claiming “Rob Sampson received an F from the Connecticut Education Association.” Shocked by this, I called the CEA, and was advised that while they do endorse candidates (predominately pro-union Democrats) they do not grade anyone. The ‘F’ was another outright and absurd lie from my opponent.

I have made every effort to take the “high road” in my campaign and avoid any negative reference to my opponent. Sadly, my opponent has chosen to do the polar opposite. He has made it clear he intends to win votes by bringing me down rather than bringing himself up.

I have chosen not to reduce myself to this level and will continue to run my own race – pointing out my record of accomplishments, my desire for a new direction and my respect for the office I have been entrusted with. While I might contrast our records, you will not see anything negative coming from my campaign.

I am proud of my votes, both yes and no, and I believe I have served the best interest of the people in every case. It pains me that my opponent—who knows better–chooses to paint an intentionally misleading picture of my record. I hope voters will see through his deception.