Report by Paula Antolini, Aug. 23, 2022, 11:02PM EDT
In the past few months The Bethel Advocate sent both candidates for this year’s CT State Representative race, Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan (D) and new candidate challenger Jenn Lewis (R), some questions regarding their platforms for the upcoming election, particularly questions about numerous current controversial topics. They are running for Bethel and Danbury’s 2nd district, Allie-Brennan is the incumbent since 2019. Jenn Lewis responded but avoided many questions. We have yet to receive a response from Allie-Brennan at all, despite several attempts, so we will take statements from his website to let you know where he stands on some issues.
We will begin with Jenn Lewis’ responses. The Bethel Advocate first met Jenn Lewis and her husband at a Bethel schools Turf Field project presentation at the Bethel High School earlier this year when we recognized her in the lobby. We had a short chat before the presentation began, and I asked her if she could indicate her basic platform for her campaign this year. She was cordial but brief, only saying she was “for education” but did not elaborate. She did not take a stand on the dangers of turf field crumb rubber when we asked. It was the topic of the event that night and attendees spoke out on both sides. She did not speak up or ask questions to the individuals planning to install the turf field.
More recently, we sent Lewis more questions in hopes that we’d receive more detailed answers on how she plans to represent the people of Bethel and Danbury, view controversial topics shown below. (We also, once again, sent Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan the same exact questions at the time too, but he continued to ignore us.) Question topics included:
- PRO-ABORTION / PRO-CHOICE / ROE v. WADE
- CRUMB RUBBER / toxic crumb rubber issue regarding the school Turf fields
- 8-30g ISSUE
- CRT (critical race theory) and SEL (social emotional learning) in schools
- Outside COMPANIES ALLOWED IN SCHOOL EVENTS
- CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS IN SCHOOL
- EXPOSING STUDENTS TO AGE-INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL HEALTH TOPICS
- SHOULD POLITICS AND SEXUAL ISSUES BE BROUGHT INTO SCHOOLS? Presently there is a bill passed to allow a class to be taught on LGBTQ+ learning about gay, transexuals, and other gender descriptions, to very young students and up, about to start this fall (I believe).
We asked Lewis: “We just saw your post from June 24th on your Facebook page, about the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade (overturning). It appears that you are pro-abortion. Can you tell us why you are running as a Republican if you believe otherwise?
“In regards to your labeling of “pro abortion” there is a significant difference between “pro abortion” and “pro choice”. With that said, I am running as a proud Republican because I believe in and stand for smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, supporting our law enforcement and supporting local control on many issues, particularly regarding zoning. That is why I am against 8-30g, as you have asked.
“Regarding education, I am “for education” and feel CRT does not belong in schools. As a former educator and parent, education and parental rights are important to me. I feel I am not alone when I say, I no longer want to co-parent my children with the government, whether it be at home or in school. I feel I can bring about many needed and necessary changes to our community. We live in an amazing place that so many call home and without change they many not be able to do so for much longer. That is heartbreaking and needs to change.
“I have loved our community and called it home since I was a child. My husband and I choose to move back to Bethel, to call it home, to raise our family. I will never forget my roots or “my why”. Please know, that we may not share the exact same views on everything and I respect that. I also respect your advocacy on behalf of the community.”
In early July we wrote to Lewis again to answer questions she missed and to clarify info. for others. She still did not clarify. Here is what she did NOT answer (really only all but a few questions were answered): “SEL” (social emotional learning in schools), toxic crumb rubber issue regarding the Turf fields on school grounds, outside companies allowed in schools, controversial topics in schools, exposing students to age-inappropriate sexual health topics, politics and sexual issues in schools, and LGBTQ+ learning about gay, transexuals, and other gender descriptions, to very young students and up (about to start in the fall?)
Lewis eventually stated to us, “If you want to see what I stand for follow along till November 8th. I look forward to see you in the community. Have a nice day.”
***All info. is from Allie-Brennan’s press releases on his website, since he did not reply to our many inquires:
Ct State Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan Issues Statement on Roe v. Wade
However, CT State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan issued some press releases on various topics in the past, here are two:
June 24, 2022:
“State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan (D- 2nd District) issued the following statement concerning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision [on June 24, 2022] to strike down Roe v. Wade:
“Today’s disastrous Supreme Court decision will – plain and simple – endanger the health and lives of millions of American women. Overturning Roe v. Wade, a fundamental pillar of established constitutional law, gives the green light to extreme politicians to go further in denying women the freedom to access lifesaving healthcare and to exercise other fundamental rights.
Interpreting the law to narrow the right of a specific segment of the American population to fully enjoy the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness has far-reaching implications that will be felt for generations. Leaving this decision to the individual states creates inequity and disparity, adding risk to women based upon where they choose to live.
This isn’t a partisan issue.
If the court can overturn established law to infringe upon the fundamental right to privacy and self-determination, what’s next?”
February 15, 2022
REP. ALLIE-BRENNAN REQUESTS HOUSING COMMITTEE RAISE BILL TO PROVIDE TOWNS WITH INCENTIVES FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
(Hartford, CT) – State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan (D-Bethel, Danbury, Newtown,
Redding) is requesting that the Housing Committee raise a bill to amend Connecticut General Statute Section 8-30g, the ‘Affordable Housing Land Use Appeals Procedure,’ in the 2022 Legislative Session. The requested raised bill aims to award five housing unit-equivalent points to towns or cities which develop, review, and amend an Affordable Housing Plan and enact regulations under Section 8-30 g. Section 8-30 g requires all 169 municipalities in Connecticut to adopt an Affordable Housing Plan, with at least 10% of all dwelling units in each municipality dedicated to assisted housing, as determined by the State Department of Housing. The section also outlines the appeals procedure which municipalities must go through if they do not meet that threshold
“We should create incentives for towns to buy into the need for Affordable Housing and help them feel a sense of accomplishment towards meeting that elusive 10% goal,” said Rep. Allie-Brennan.
“Section 8-30 g was initially designed to encourage Affordable Housing development but it has led to unfair shortcuts which allow developers to bypass local zoning laws. It’s important that we protect and reward towns that are increasing access to affordable housing for all individuals.”
In June of 2020, The Department of Housing funded a $50,000 grant initiative to award towns with under 50,000 residents up to $5,000 for help in creating Affordable Housing Plans. In June of 2021, the legislature adopted components pertaining to the Zoning Statues and required that Affordable Housing Plans be filed with the State of Connecticut no later than June 1, 2022. According to The Office of Policy Management inventory, 26 of 169 municipalities have filed their reports as of Feb. 9, 2022.
“We appreciate Raghib’s efforts to recognize the need for affordable housing, but also his efforts to balance the need. He recognizes the efforts that Towns have made and will be required to make with creating and filing an Affordable Housing Plan as required by the State,” said Beth Cavagna, Bethel Town Planner. “We often complain about State mandates, the Affordable Housing Plan being one of them. To have the opportunity to give an incentive, and to recognize the cost associated with this mandate by rewarding housing equivalent points to a Town is an opportunity to show collaboration between the State and local authorities.”
So there you have it.
Both candidates are against the overturning of Roe v. Wade so who is representing pro-life, religious beliefs or “all the people”? Lewis won’t talk about SEL (social emotional learning) and she works in the Bethel school system. Allie-Brennan is pushing for 8-30g while Bethel residents are fighting it. What agenda is he following? Allie-Brennan and Lewis are obviously both afraid to interact with news media asking tough questions about the present controversial hot topics and think they can just address the ones they choose and ignore others. Most of Lewis’ online videos are of her welcoming people to whatever event she is attending that day, but not much about anything political except to suggest supporting local businesses. She won’t utter a peep about what is happening in the schools about many heavy issues indoctrinating the children. Allie-Brennan is pushing LQBTQ+ classes, with inappropriate-age topics taught to young children in schools, learning about numerous gender identities etc. in schools, and he supported the bill.
What is happening to our government and school systems, and how out-of-touch are these candidates AND the school and town administrations for that matter?
Best to write your own name on the ballot this year folks!
Editor Note: Yes there are many other issues, and hopefully we can get the candidates to share more thoughts soon!>>> the economy, roads, bullying, the environment, energy, taxes, seniors, gun violence, local farms and pollution, healthcare, law enforcement, fire departments, gas prices, affordable housing, masks in schools, vaccines, COVID, veterans, federal correction institutions, transportation/train lines, recyling programs, zoning, absentee voting and the handling of vote counts, early voting, green energy, local businesses, animal welfare, much more.