Chip Stephens promised to run a positive campaign. Now he has abandoned his pledge to push a shameful, false narrative about Jonathan’s record on affordable housing.
Here are the facts:
- Jonathan has consistently sought to amend the affordable housing statute 8-30g, often working with legislators across the aisle to amend the statute to mitigate its impact on towns like Westport. He has introduced or co-sponsored more than a half-dozen separate bills over his years in office. He has been a voice of reason and moderation on this issue, building bridges with those who needed to understand the unintended impact on local zoning decisions.
- While Westport has done a good job approving appropriate 8-30g projects in suitable locations and opposing bad ones, Stephens’ voting record shows that he’s been on the wrong side of many of the 8-30g votes. Jonathan has, in fact, talked with P&Z Commissioners about 8-30g many times over the years – just not with Stephens, because he’s been part of the problem.
- Jonathan voted for one House bill which sought to require all communities to develop effective affordable housing plans – which Westport already does! Stephens' focus on the word “character” in zoning considerations is a red herring, often used as a racist dog whistle by some as a scare tactic, demonizing the “other.” Despite his dishonest claim, there is NO prospect of such a bill coming to a vote in October and has dim prospects in a future legislative session.
- Stephen infamously stated, as an elected P&Z official, that affordable housing “ghettoizes” Westport. In a lawsuit against the Town, a developer cited Stephens' use of the term as evidence that Westport was hostile to affordable housing, contributing to the the judicial ruling against P&Z.
Stephens appears to have little interest in the real work of the Legislature, focusing primarily on the one subject of local zoning. Legislators must become knowledgeable about a wide range of issues, which Steinberg has demonstrated over his tenure in the House. Westport deserves a representative in Hartford who takes the job seriously, particularly in this time of crisis.