The Hartford Courant editorial board wrote Wednesday Connecticut citizens should be “frightened” that Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont is planning the state’s reopening from the coronavirus lockdown “in secret.”
The newspaper asserted Lamont, “in what appears to becoming a pattern in his administration,” is developing plans to reopen the state with a group of people who are not accountable to Connecticut taxpayers.
The editors stated about the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group:
The 43-member panel was created as part of AdvanceCT, a reboot of the former Connecticut Economic Resource Center. It’s described on its website as a “nonprofit organization that works to engage, retain and recruit businesses and advance overall economic competitiveness in Connecticut.”
So what does this all mean? It means the people who will be telling the governor when it’s safe to lift the lockdown won’t have to explain their thinking to anyone but the governor himself.
Noting the weight of the decisions that must be made, regarding both Connecticut residents’ physical and economic well-being, the Courant’s editorial board criticized Lamont for responding to questions about his and the panel’s decision-making with either of two responses: “Trust me,” and “I promise to tell you what you need to know.”
“Good government is about checks and balances, not blind trust,” the editors wrote.
The editorial comes as State Rep. Craig Fishbein (R) made a Freedom of Information request to Lamont for information regarding Connecticut’s involvement with the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group.
Fishbein said in a statement:
Without input from, and certainly without the backing of the legislature, the governor unilaterally issued Orders that closed businesses, put thousands of people out of work, and affected every resident of our state. The eventual unpacking and rolling back of those decisions will similarly affect every citizen and should be available for public scrutiny. Democracy flourishes in the face of bright light, and I am hopeful that the Governor agrees and willingly discloses the documents.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group includes Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney (D), Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D), Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R), House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D), House Majority Leader Matt Ritter (D), and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides (R).
The group’s co-chairs are Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo and Dr. Albert Ko, Yale School of Public Health, department of epidemiology and medicine chairman.
Fishbein is requesting all correspondence, emails, and recordings of exchanges between the governor and the panel, all information about the group’s funding, and about its work.
“Especially during this time of national concern and constantly evolving information regarding the pandemic, it is important to make certain that our government is operating openly and with full transparency,” he said. “Our residents deserve at least that.”