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GOP's Fasano out of line with attack on Lamont

I have always had a lot of respect for Sen. Len Fasano, the Senate Republican leader who recently announced he won't be seeking reelection.

The centrist from suburban New Haven has usually been a reasonable and responsible GOP voice in a state capitol dominated by Democrats, an important counterpoint in policy discussion and development.

But Fasano injected partisan poison this week into the state's ongoing health crisis.

I am not alone in praising Gov. Ned Lamont for his fine and tireless campaign against coronavirus infection in Connecticut, a steady hand on the wheel. His approval ratings are soaring.

And yet Fasano strangely released a critical statement Monday afternoon, complaining that the governor was not collaborating with the legislature on the COVID-19 response.

Sorry, Senator, but I think most people would agree that the governor does not need bipartisan talks to get hospitals and front-line responders the help they need as soon as possible. He needs to stay at the emergency, and he has.

Fasano also accused the governor of exceeding his emergency authority but didn't give a single example. This is not a policy debate. For once, it's not all about opposition to tolls.

Even more astonishing, Fasano issued a second broadside later in the day, after Lamont and six other governors from the Northeast, including the Republican from Massachusetts, announced plans to collaborate on determining how to reopen their states.

Fasano, in his second missive, verbally stomped his feet and complained Lamont doesn't yet have a plan. It's like complaining you haven't hired the architects for a new building as the fire still roars in the one you'll need to replace.

The coronavirus battle is still on in hospitals around the state. People are dying. How dare the senator fume publicly about the governor, still trying mightily to slow the trauma, not announcing a detailed plan for restarting the economy.

In fact, that is exactly what Lamont and the other governors said Monday they plan to work on next, collaboratively and with the combined economic and health expertise of their respective states.

"I am disappointed that today Connecticut still does not have a plan to eventually reopen businesses," Fasano railed at the start of a long, five-paragraph rant.

How easy it must be to pull out the partisan knives in the middle of an emergency in which your political opponents are doing everything humanly possible to fight a spreading health crisis.

It is interesting to note that there didn't appear to be much GOP support lining up behind Fasano.

State GOP Chairman J.R. Romano, usually first to the bombast when a Lamont issue comes up, instead sent an email with a quiz question, asking: "Do YOU agree with Len Fasano?"

The implication is that he believes Republicans on his email blast list probably don't. The only Lamont criticism in Romano's email is attributed to Fasano.

Connecticut Republicans, who fared badly in an anti-Trump wave in the last election, should be careful not to line up with the president now, as he squares off against the popular Northeast governors in their war against coronavirus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York even warned of a constitutional crisis in the developing pandemic dispute between the governors and Trump, who has said all along he's not responsible for the crisis or fixing it.

Fortunately for Fasano, who seems to have landed squarely in the Trump camp on this one, he won't be on the ballot this fall.

I'm thinking now that's a good thing for Connecticut, too.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

d.collins@theday.com

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