Labor’s Toner Should Immediately Apologize to Sen. Kissel for Outrageous Allegations

Sometimes statements from the leader of a particular group makes the public’s collective jaw drop. This certainly applies to a letter from Greater Hartford-New Haven Building and Construction Trades Council President Joseph Toner. Toner let loose (and put in writing!) with some of the most outrageous allegations seen in recent years.

Toner, whose group supports a third casino run by Indian tribes in Connecticut, essentially questions whether state Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield) is guilty of bribe-taking and corruption. “I can only assume you are grossly misinformed [about the casino issue] or worse, bought and paid for…either you support the effort to preserve and create Connecticut jobs or you support MGM, the multi-billion dollar, Nevada-based corporation that’s trying to take our jobs away.” Wow.

MGM is the conglomerate that is building a resort casino in Springfield (which is having its own problems).

State Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield)

State Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield)

Let consider:
• It’s understandable that labor wants a third casino—its members would build it. But the town in which it would be built and the area towns impacted are understandably concerned.
• Kissel represents these towns and wants what’s best for the residents.
• Toner underestimates Kissel. When I was pre-Shad, I worked for the Senate Democrats. Kissel is a Republican. We were on opposite sides of many issues. But I can say with certainty that Kissel’s integrity and intentions are beyond reproach. He is a lawmaker of intelligence, thoughtfulness and honesty.
• Kissel won’t be bullied by Toner, his members or anyone else on this issue (or any other issue).
• Attacking Kissel will only erode already dissipating public support for labor.
Toner should apologize, stop trying to intimidate Kissel, and work through the process (which may be illegal anyway).

Toner should apologize, stop trying to intimidate Kissel, and work through the process (which may be illegal anyway).