Green vs. Ritter: Who’s Got the Beef?


State Rep. Green vs. City Councilman Ritter

Today’s Hartford Courant article, State Rep. Kenneth Green Prepared For Challenge In August Primary, provides an early glimpse into the primary between State Rep. Kenneth Green (D 1st Assembly District) and Hartford City Councilman Matt Ritter (D). The article states that while Green did not get the support at the convention, Green is confident he has the support of his constituents and will prevail in November. Two Hartford residents who are supporting Ritter were also interviewed:

“[Hartford] has been one of the poorest cities in the country. There’s been some improvement, but not enough.”  …  “If you want to be a leader, you have to get out there and show you are a leader. [Ritter's] youth helps with that,” said Frank Barrows, a former Democratic state senator who lives in Hartford.

Carlos Hernandez Chavez, a member of the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, said Green has lost touch with city residents. “The only time we hear from Mr. Green is when there’s an election,” he said. “There’s not substantive activity on the part of the incumbent at the legislature.”

The first assembly district includes portions of Hartford and portions of Bloomfield. The comments above focus on the City of Hartford and seem more suited if Green and Ritter were vying for the Mayor’s office and not that of a state representative.

After reading the above comments, one has to wonder why is Green confident that his constituents will vote him back in for a ninth term. Sixteen years at the legislature and working in the community, there must be some record that one can review.  There is and here is just a highlight of Green’s legislative and community accomplishments:

  • Overrode Governor’s veto to create Sustinet, to provide health care for all.
  • Increased the minimum wage 12 times.
  • Increased taxes on millionaires.
  • Protected victims of domestic violence.
  • Kept Blue Hills and Mark Twain libraries open when City Council tried to close them.
  • Enacted meaningful laws for tenants and landlords.
  • Created “Urban Voices” on 93.7 FM.
  • Enacted foreclosure prevention programs.
  • Got Funding for lead poisoning prevention and remediation.
  • Voted for new job creation bill and investment in area hospitals to spur economic growth.
  • GPS for domestic violence victims.

Where’s the Beef?

We have no reason to believe other than Ritter is a fine, young and up coming politician. And that’s great. But that does not automatically negate or set aside an incredible record of service to the community by the incumbent. Nor is it any reason to send the incumbent out to pasture because he is not 28 years old.

“Youthful,” “energetic,” “enthusiastic” are all great qualities but they don’t increase wages or create jobs or stop domestic violence or provide a quality education for our youth. More important, they don’t stand up to solid leadership and experience based on a proven track record. Hopefully, the Ritter campaign has not adopted these qualities as the reason for Ritter running for the office of state representative and the comments of the two Hartford residents quoted above are just their personal points of view.

It is clear that Green is listening to his constituents and taking action on their behalf for the past 16 years.  Here’s a list of bills introduced by Green for the 2010 legislative session.  There is one bill that Green introduced (along with State Rep. Michael Lawlor) that is not mentioned below as it did not pass.  The bill seeks to stop prison gerrymandering, which negatively impacts the power of the vote in predominantly African American and Latino communities.  Gerrymandering is a critical issue for urban centers.  It will be interesting to see whether Ritter will take up this cause on behalf of the people in the first assembly district as he campaigns to represent them.

HB05014 AN ACT CONCERNING AUTOMOBILE AND PERSONAL RISK INSURANCE.
HB05045 AN ACT CONCERNING INACTIVE ACCOUNT FEES.
HB05101 AN ACT CONCERNING THE EXPANSION OF POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION ASSISTANCE FOR FOSTER PARENTS ADOPTING CHILDREN.
HB05182 AN ACT INCREASING THE FINE FOR USING A CELLULAR TELEPHONE WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE.
HB05194 AN ACT CONCERNING THE INCLUSION OF A BUSINESS COMPONENT TO THE YOUTH SERVICES BUREAUS.
HB05219 AN ACT EXTENDING STATE CONTINUATION OF HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE.
HB05246 AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROTECTION OF, AND SERVICES FOR, VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
HB05265 AN ACT CONCERNING THE EXPIRATION OF DRIVER’S LICENSES ISSUED TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES.
HB05270 AN ACT CONCERNING FORECLOSURE MEDIATION.
HB05315 AN ACT CONCERNING EDUCATION AND THE REDUCTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
HB05371 AN ACT CONCERNING AFFORDABLE HOUSING REPLACEMENT.
HB05452 AN ACT CONCERNING THE PROVISION OF VOLUNTEER HEALTH CARE SERVICES ON A TEMPORARY BASIS.
HB05497 AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES’ TASK FORCE ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
SB00050 AN ACT CONCERNING ORAL CHEMOTHERAPY TREATMENTS.
SB00215 AN ACT CONCERNING VETERAN TUITION WAIVERS.
SB00320 AN ACT CONCERNING THE SELECTION OF TENANT COMMISSIONERS.
SB00391 AN ACT CONCERNING CHILD CARE SUBSIDIES UNDER THE CARE 4 KIDS PROGRAM.
SB00456 AN ACT CONCERNING STUDENT ATHLETES AND CONCUSSIONS.
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