Past Republican convention (CTNewsJunkie file photo)
Ben Proto

The Connecticut Republican Party is at a crossroads. It can continue to operate as it has for well over a decade or it can move forward and change our future. 

Republicans have failed to win a statewide or federal race since 2006. While our legislative leaders have worked hard to increase the number of Republicans in the General Assembly, we are unable to slow down the disastrous policies of the Connecticut Democrats. This year’s reapportionment provides an opportunity, but we must be positioned to influence the outcome.

This coming week, members of the Republican State Central Committee can either act to get our Party back into the public arena of principles, ideas, and winning Elections or put us in a holding pattern until the summer, which will put us woefully behind the Democrats in preparation for both our municipal and 2022 election cycles.

The Connecticut Republican Party must shed the “we’ve always done it that way” attitude and embrace a new organizational and structural paradigm. The old way of doing things just does not work. Our local Town Committees, activists, and state and local leaders must play a larger role in our Party’s governance and message development. We must embrace younger voters and elevate them to leadership roles, not only in our Party structure but as candidates who will lead our state. Our candidate in the special election in the 27th State Senate District, Joshua Esses, is one of the next generation of leaders who embodies the future of our party.

For too long, we have allowed the national rhetoric to invade our discussion about Connecticut. The Connecticut Democrats are aware of their failed policies and when backed into a corner they scream Trump, hoping it will distract voters from their failures. Unfortunately, Connecticut Republicans have played into that narrative and failed to focus our message on how Republican policies and values will benefit Connecticut.

I seek the Chairmanship of the Connecticut Republican Party, not to have the title, but to bring about fundamental and long-term change. To work with my fellow Republicans to, not only win elections, but to bring about change in our political discourse and, most importantly, help change Connecticut for the better.

T. Boone Pickens once said, “A plan without action is not a plan. It is a speech.” We have seen, both recently and historically, plan after plan presented to our party that professes to change things, yet time after time the plan failed to have the action needed to bring about change.

My plan is simple, does not require reams of paper, and is easily understandable. 

First, Republicans must stop the circular firing squads. We must not be our own enemy. Unless and until we are willing to believe and understand that we are all Republicans because of our shared values we will continue to be a party of “I and me” when we must become a party of “we and us”.

Second, our strength is not just with the members of the State Central Committee, but rather with the thousands of members of our local RTCs, and the hundreds of thousands of voters who have chosen to be Republicans. They are the backbone of our party and they must have a larger role in the future direction of our party. We must develop our message and policy positions to the voters’ issues using our values and principles. I believe most voters agree with us on the role of government, but we need to do a better job developing and communicating that vision.

Third, the past is gone, the future is now. We must further embrace technology and the digital world we live in. Social media is far more than just Facebook and Twitter. Voter’s primary means of communicating and getting news is now in their pocket or on their wrist. Democrats have far outpaced us in digital communication and unless we immediately build an expanded digital platform we will continue to lose. As new methods of voting are implemented, we must adapt to those changes by developing new and better programs to take advantage of these voting methods.

Finally, we must find new and innovative ways to raise money. Donors, particularly larger donors, want to know their donations are going to more than simply keeping the lights on and paying the overhead. They are aware of the failures of the Connecticut Democrats but want to know that their donation will bring about the change Connecticut desperately needs. 

Mechanics, message, and money are the cornerstones of how we rebuild our Connecticut Republican Party. It is not complicated but it isn’t easy. The path of least resistance rarely brings about victory.  

On February 22nd, the members of the Connecticut State Central Committee have a choice – continue to embody the definition of insanity or chart a new and exciting course that will put Connecticut Republicans on a path to win elections and change Connecticut.  The choice is ours.

Ben Proto is a candidate for the chair of the Connecticut Republican Party.

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of