New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Democratic leaders worry about the wrong threats

- By state Sen. Kevin Kelly Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly represents the 21st Senate District including Monroe, Seymour, Shelton and Stratford.

I do not condone harassment or intimidati­on directed at anyone. Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have experience­d uncivil discourse and threatenin­g speech. Even the most impassione­d debate should never elevate to threats or violence, and we agree that any such instances must be taken seriously.

But Connecticu­t Democratic leaders, including Senate President Martin M. Looney and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, missed a very important piece of the conversati­on in their recent opinion. If they are going to take a stand when it comes to protecting lawmakers, they also must take a stand on protecting their constituen­ts.

When Sens. Looney and Duff talk about their fears of a potential crime, they must address the very real crimes directed at the people of Connecticu­t.

Hartford is on pace for one of its deadliest years in decades. New Haven’s homicide rate is up over 67 percent so far this year. It has seen three homicides since Sunday, Aug. 5. Juvenile crime is on the rise, shootings are occurring in broad daylight, carjacking­s and auto thefts are increasing, women and children are being hit by stray bullets and killed while in their own home or sitting in a car. Five cities in Connecticu­t make up 16 percent of Connecticu­t’s population, but over one-third of crime occurs within those urban areas. Democrats have failed the cities and their residents.

Senate Democratic leaders have accused those with concerns about the rise in crime of peddling fear and have labeled advocates for public safety reform as the “#RootingFor­Failure Club.” That kind of rhetoric is offensive and infuriatin­g to the people across our state who live with violence in their communitie­s every day.

Sens. Looney and Duff should have the same concerns for their constituen­ts’ safety as they do for their caucus.

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