Tony Hwang responds to first selectman

To the Editor:

It is unfortunate Michael Tetreau would use the office of the Fairfield first selectman as a bully pulpit to participate in my opponent’s coordinated campaign of personal attacks, negativity and misinformation, in an attempt to undermine my strong record of support for Metro-North commuters.

While I remain focused on the issues and running a positive campaign, I am compelled to respond.

Mr. Tetreau writes that I was disingenuous in noting my role in the installation of canopies at the Fairfield Train Station. The facts simply do not support his partisan attack.

My initiative in that matter — along with many other commuter concerns during my six years in the legislature — inspired Mary Kay Frost, former chairperson and two-term member of the Fairfield Parking Authority, which has jurisdiction over the train station, to write a letter touting my support of commuters.

“During my tenure, there have been several times when we had problems getting action from Metro-North or the CT DOT and Representative Hwang intervened and got the issue resolved,” she writes. “Examples include his intervention with CT DOT to speed up the approvals needed for building the canopy over the stairs at Fairfield Center and his advocacy with Metro-North to get the yellow warning lines at the edge of the platforms repainted at both Fairfield Center and Southport stations.”

To me, it’s about working together, regardless of political party, for the public good. It’s about integrity, character and leadership — the foundations of my state senate campaign.

And while these meaningful improvements are critical to the safety of our commuters, I have also taken a bipartisan role in demanding greater accountability and fiscal management of Metro-North, as well as the economically significant and broader issue of transportation and infrastructure investment.

My accomplishments on commuter issues earned me the enthusiastic endorsement of Jim Cameron, who brings more than 20 years of commuter advocacy to bear as founder of the Commuter Action Group. Mr. Cameron is backing both Republicans and Democrats, including Gov. Dannel Malloy. In endorsing me, he says, “No candidate has done more to help commuters than Tony Hwang.”

I think that speaks for itself. Yet in a last-ditch attempt to paint a smearing picture that simply won’t stick, my opponent has been cherry-picking line items from a $2.4 billion bonding package and using them in her negative campaign.

Did that bonding package include funding for transportation infrastructure? Yes, but it also included $800,000 for a festival in New Haven and countless other pork barrel expenditures that our state cannot afford right now in the face of a billion-dollar deficit, one of the highest tax burdens in the country, and a sluggish economic recovery that is leaving Connecticut behind.

Be it state spending, transportation, education or any of the multitude of challenges facing our great state, we cannot look at any one through a single lens; they are far too interconnected and complex for such a simple approach. We need bold leadership and transparency, and that is what I offer.

As Sen. John McKinney said, “The way a candidate for office runs his or her campaign speaks volumes about their character and Tony, unlike his opponent, has not engaged in any negative ads or attacks. Tony is running a positive campaign that is focused on the issues.”

I am committed to honoring that philosophy because I believe our town deserves better, and the voters do, too.

Tony Hwang

State Representative

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