Dems criticize conservative-funded group’s endorsement for Lavielle

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Updated 12:17 p.m. with a reponse from Wilton Republican Town Committee Chairman Al Alper.

WILTON, Conn. – The Democratic Town Committee of Wilton on Friday criticized the endorsement of state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), a lobbying group.

The endorsement was announced last week in several media outlets. NancyOnNorwalk misplaced the announcement.

Lavielle, a two-term incumbent from Wilton, is being challenged by Democrat Keith Rodgerson, a former two-term Bridgeport City Council member and the city’s former assistant special projects manager. Rodgerson also is executive director of the non-profit Neighborhood District Economic Development Corp., which, Rodgerson says, supports small businesses.

NFIB, whose website states a purpose of “small business advocacy” and “non-partisanship,” was recently the subject of a Washington Post story regarding its ties to ALEC, a controversial right-wing lobbying organization.

Tom Dec, chairman of the Wilton Democrats, said Friday supporters of NFIB include Koch Bros PAC Freedom Partners ($1.5M donation) and Karl Rove’s PAC Crossroads GPS ($5.1M donation).  In the 2012 election cycle, it gave $670,543 to Republican candidates and $11,000 to Democratic candidates, a 98 percent to 2 percent split. Its 25 members in Congress are all Republican.

Dec, in an email to NoN, criticized Lavielle’s support of NFIB-backed legislation, citing NFIB and Lavielle’s lobbying efforts against the minimum wage increase, environmental regulations, and paid sick leave.

NFIB is also a strong supporter of right-to-work legislation and the elimination of collective bargaining rights. Lavielle introduced HB5789 in 2011 and HB5093 in 2013, both attempts to curtail collective bargaining.

Dec also charged that Lavielle voted for a bill that would have eliminated key pollution fines for businesses.

“I voted on the House floor for HB 5431, which would give businesses that commit a regulatory violation for the first time the opportunity to have their civil penalty waived, on request, if they completely correct the violation within 30 days,” Lavielle said.

The bill passed unanimously this year in the Government Administration and Elections (GAE) Committee, she said, then passed with 19 assenting Democratic votes in the Judiciary Committee. In the House, 120 legislators (out of 141 present) voted for it, “including my Democratic colleagues Representatives Perone and Morris of Norwalk. It was not raised for a vote in the Senate.”

Dec said small business owners support key provisions of health care reform, ending special tax breaks for the wealthy, protecting clean air, and promoting workplace safety. “All of these issues are squarely opposite of what NFIB has been fighting for in the CT General Assembly with Rep. Lavielle’s help,” he said.

Al Alper, chairman of the Wilton Republican Town Committee, responded with an attack of his own, calling Dec’s words “sad.”

“In fact it’s typical that Democrats and liberals attack jobs and people.  They can’t defend their policies that put you into poverty, on the unemployment line or force you to choose between feeding your family and driving to work – if you even have a job after 4 years of Democrat dictatorship in Hartford.  Instead of defending them, Tom Dec attacks the people who give you a job or make it easier to feed your family.

“I am not sure why Democrats hate working people so much.  Maybe they think you’re stupid?”

Alper said small businesses employ more than 80 percent of the workforce.  “These are the people who give you a job, write you a paycheck every week and provide a means to feed your family. They provide a reason to get up in the morning and Tom Dec thinks they’re evil?”

“Perhaps he’s just trying to hide the fact that his candidate, Keith Rodgerson has barely worked a day in his life – at least in the real world where you have to perform to keep your job. … Or Rodgerson’s claims of economic development expertise that, in fact only helped further the decline of jobs and a better life in Bridgeport for the working people of Bridgeport.  And now he wants to do all of that here in 143rd.”



7 responses to “Dems criticize conservative-funded group’s endorsement for Lavielle”

  1. John Hamlin

    If that’s all they have on her, she must be coasting to victory. Compare that with the corrupt bargain between politicians and the public employee unions who endorse and contribute money in exchange for compensation increases.

  2. Piberman

    Bravo for John Hamlin making the point precisely.

  3. Joruh

    The League of Conservation Voters themselves stated “This bill would have endangered the environment and public health and safety by waiving fines for first-time violations of regulations.” It gave polluters a free pass. So, if you are polluting…keep on polluting for when you get caught it won’t matter. If you were thinking of polluting, make that economic decision to pollute because you will get a pass. If you are a taxpayer, when the state catches that small percent of polluters if spends millions to catch forget recouping any of those costs. Why is she hiding behind the very legislators she says are part of the problem on this failed bill? THis bill would have opened the floodgates (literally and metaphorically) on pollution into our groundwater and the sound.

  4. Wait and See

    If that’s all Alper has to say on this Rodgerson must be the one coasting to victory. Hotheaded, negative, and completely off-topic. No defense of NFIB or Lavielle’s embrace with NFIB and it’s Koch fundership. I hear there is dissent with Alper over his attempt at becoming GOP state chair. Add that with his failed ejection of a popular Registrar of Voters and compound it with his personal First Selectman campaign’s website accidentally launching while Bill Brennan is still in office (OOPS!!!!) Will this campaign be his final undoing? Wilton is beyond tired of his tea party foment. Stick to the issues, Al. Defend Lavielle’s record if you can. And put in a word for the Kochs because you know you just can’t help yourself…

  5. DJ

    Why did Lavielle not send the NFIB release to Nancy on Norwalk? What is the story?

    1. Mark Chapman


      It wAs sent. While it wasn’t found through a search yesterday, Nancy discovered it today. The story was changed to indicate this.

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