Harrington: Locked Out Of GOP Meeting?

On Monday, Republican Board of Education member Robert Harrington wrote an “Opinion” piece on “06880” about his party’s candidate selections for the board. He strongly criticized Camilo Riano for saying that superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice is “grooming” children.

Harrington also said he has “never met” Riano’s running mate, Jamie Fitzgerald, and has never seen her at any Board of Ed or Republican Party meetings.

Robert Harrington

Last night Harrington tried to dial in to his first Republican Town Committee meeting in Westport since his comments. The “special meeting” — to fill a vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Commission — was set for 8 p.m., via Zoom.

Harrington was at a work meeting in New York, but left to participate in the RTC meeting. He planned to show his support for Michael Calise, the RTC-endorsed candidate for the P&Z slot.

Harrington told “06880” that he tried to join the meeting several minutes early, from multiple devices. He emailed and sent other messages to the organizers,  but says he was not let into the meeting.

Harrington told “06880” that this was the first time he has been unable to access an RTC meeting. As of 10 p.m. last night, he had not heard back from the RTC about his inability to access the meeting.

He told “06880”:

“I am glad that you have provided Camilo an opportunity to respond to my opinion piece from earlier this week.

“I don’t know if I was intentionally excluded from entering a public Zoom meeting of the Westport Republican Town Committee. Maybe it was a technical glitch. It has never happened before. I still haven’t heard back from them about the issue.

“I have a message for my party: I am not going anywhere. This is too important. I’m not a Democrat, and I will keep trying to change our party.  I will keep knocking on the door and showing up to party events.

“Issues matters. Parental involvement in our children’s education is non-negotiable. But words matter too. I am proud to state without any hesitation that Mr Scarice, as superintendent of our public schools, you are not child grooming any children.

“I am not angry with Camilo. This is not personal. Those are his views. However, I am saddened that my local Republican Party has chosen to endorse those words by endorsing this candidate. I do not not endorse those words or this candidate.”

“06888” asked Westport Republican Town Committee chair Joseph Sledge for a comment late last night, but has not yet received a comment.

10 responses to “Harrington: Locked Out Of GOP Meeting?

  1. My mother used to say don’t knock your head into a wall. That’s my advice to you Robert. Your fellow republicans are in a cult led by orange and conspiracy

  2. My mother used to say don’t knock your head into a wall. You can’t de program cult members. Good luck

  3. It’s a perfect example of a dying party that has to play dirty in order to win.

  4. Stephanie Frankel

    I am still waiting for an email reply from Liz and Dorie if they support and endorse Camilo!
    Would Camilo like to know why they will NOT respond ?What are they hiding?

  5. First of all, Stephanie, I love all your comments! Secondly, Michael Calise is an amazing Westporter and I’d support him too if I lived in town!

  6. Maybe the “gop” thinks we’re not paying attention. And what does he think Mr. Scarice is grooming children for? A dying party, indeed.

  7. You Democrats are amazing. I have to give you credit. You have perfected the art of group think, character assassination and bullying. I am a Republican but I do not link you with the lunatic fringe of your political party. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. The voting booth is the ultimate arbiter. Meaningful discourse is the path to that voting booth. Personal attacks and gross generalizations and only increase the unfortunate divisiveness in our country. As a Westporter for over 50 years I have always been proud of the positive political engagement of Westporters and the common goal of what is best for our community and our children. Unfortunately, now it is just all about picking a fight, bullying and doing whatever it takes to win. No conversation, no debate, just attack, attack, attack and destroy.

    • Republican have not won the popular vote for a president in a long time. Republicans are aware that iif our citizens vote the R will loose. The R party bid focused on excluding minority voters The R psrty says Jan 6 was. Just another tourist day. Regarding our local government the freedom of books and choice is sort of democratic values. Republicans and Musk love Putin. It shows bar far the Republican Party has moved to autocratic views and anti democratic values. Our sister city Lyman is threatened by R cutting aid to Ukraine. 06880 values on education are at risk in school libraries and courses. Just look how Florida teaches black history. Desantis said Slavery taught positive values that helped slaves. Local R leaders have mot been outspoken on guns in school safety and improving laws that will make our schools safer. Remember Newtown. ? Was it close enough ? Why hasn’t Tooker spoken out about anti democratic values in our school ? Why hasn’t Tooker spoken out about a nerd to change gun laws to make our schools safer ? Why not contact Tooker office and request answers ???Thank you

    • Hi Mr Bortolot

      I am an independent voter and have lived in Westport for more than 50 years as well.

      I think you have missed the point that Mr Harrington, a Republican Board of Ed member, started this thread by stating he does not agree with the candidacy of Mr Riano and does not know enough about RTC nominated Jamie Fitzgerald to comment on her qualifications to be on the Board of Ed. And
      as an extension of the thread Mr Harrington has potentially been locked out of a RTC discussion for his remarks. That is a Republican issue- not a Democrat issue.

      So you are just shifting the focus of this discussion- blaming Democrats for a RTC issue!.

      Additionally, it is my opinion that Mr Riano tailors logical arguments for this blog, but his words, both written and spoken, online- on far right sites and programs- give a very different view of the candidate and his agenda. Mr Riano can fill in details on his positions on book banning, bathroom usage, and what he considers cause in hiring and firing teachers and superintendents as well.

      Until there is clarification from the RTC- It sounds like Mr Harrington, who has had in person dealings with Mr Riano at multiple Board of Ed meetings, has been delegated to the status of RINO by the Westport RTC.

      My questions are-

      Having endorsed Mr Riano, will the RTC endorse Mr Harrington in the future or has he become person non grata for speaking out?

      When will the RTC or Ms Fitzgerald post her positions and qualifications for the Board of Ed?

      Those are Republican questions!

      All of Westport is waiting to hear from our Republican Town Committee.

  8. Hi again and so soon!

    Just an after thought- Some would say – “all politics is local”.

    But it is not!

    Our local RTC has endorsed two candidates for our local school board. One has stated his positions on several school matters and the second, as of now, is an unknown entity to a currently sitting Republican Board of Ed member.

    A simple question is- What criteria and qualifications does the RTC use in picking candidates? (As far as I can see this is an apolitical question).

    I would add a reality check question that most Westporters are asking these days. Do your candidates believe January 6 was an “insurrection” as opposed to a “love fest”?

    Also- Do you believe January 6 was instigated by the then sitting president? Do you believe the election was stolen? Do you believe the current president was legitimately elected? These questions paint a picture of who we are asked to vote for or against.

    These are the questions hanging over every voting decision we make! Whether for local, state or national elections! Whether for Board of Ed, Board of Finance or Selectperson. Does this person see the same reality I am seeing.

    We keep hearing about the call for transparency from all sides of the political spectrum! Answering these questions removes the spin and gets to the heart of what each voter must know- either on the right or left!

    We have heard from Mr Harrington and Mr Riano.
    We have yet to hear from the RTC and Ms Fitzgerald.

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