In a recent opinion piece written by Mr. Robert Landino, he expressed dismay that Emily Bjornberg should criticize the environmental and business record of Art Linares, her opponent for the senate seat in the 33rd District. He called Bjornberg’s criticism “hypocritical”.
Mr. Landino states he is a business partner with Linares’s company, Greenskies, which installs solar panels. He observed that Bjornberg’s family dealership sells Subarus, and that cars are a source of pollution.
Here are a few facts that may shed light on the discussion.
On the environment, Linares has the second lowest lifetime score for his voting record in the entire Connecticut senate, according to the bipartisan League of Conservation Voters. In contrast, various environmental activists, including the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club, have endorsed Bjornberg.
On labor issues, Landino reports that Greenskies recently “consummated a relationship” with an electrician’s union. Meanwhile, Bjornberg has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO.
On foreign trade, Greenskies has used Chinese solar panels, which the U.S. government found were dumped in this country by Chinese companies at prices below cost. The matter is pending before the WTO. Greenskies liked the Chinese panels, which have the largest carbon footprint in the industry, because they hurt its competition using panels made in the United States. Greenskies president told the press “When we go to toe to toe, we enjoy an advantage. We were perfectly happy with low-cost equipment from China.” The impact is being felt here in Connecticut. A company in Enfield had to sell their assets to a Chinese firm. Meanwhile, many Subaru cars are being built here in the USA, where this car manufacturer recently invested $400 million to expand lines.
Concerning hypocrisy, Linares portrays himself as a champion of free enterprise. In reality, Greenskies is among the most heavily subsidized companies in the entire state. In 2012, the Hartford Courant reported that “the biggest impact on Greenskies’ potential for growth by far is how successful it is in capturing state subsidies.” In a lobbying paper to the Connecticut legislature, Greenskies president called such support “critical”.
Most small businesses, like the car dealership, do not receive the governmental money bestowed on Greenskies. Most small businesses must compete on their own merits. Meanwhile, Linares advocates cutting many other worthy government programs and opposes increasing the minimum wage. There, he believes, the market should set prices.
Voters will have to judge who is being “hypocritical”.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the 33rd District. The political mailings, particularly the last two I have received on behalf of Democratic candidate Emily Bjornberg who is running for a senate seat in Connecticut representing our 33rd district, have been, to say the least, the lowest, most nasty mailings that I have ever received prior to an election for a senatorial candidate who would represent me in Hartford.
Not only have these last two mailings been disgraceful and full of lies, but, having attended the last two debates among Emily Bjornberg, Art Linares and Colin Bennett, I have also been disgusted with the attack dog tactics and misinformation coming from Emily against Art Linares. Her behavior makes the definition given to a pit bull terrier pale in comparison to her progressive, socialistic demands and attitudes about what should or should not be rule of law for everyone.
Please, back off Emily. You have shown your true colors. We have had good representation in the 33rd district with Senator Art Linares. We need Art to return to his duties in Hartford and continue the work of trying to keep Connecticut from collapsing under the heavy weight of a democratic governor and a democratically controlled House and Senate.
As a lifelong Democrat, a former legislator and a former Selectman representing shoreline Towns, and a partner with State Senator Art Linares, Jr. at Greenskies Renewable Energy, I was shocked and quite frankly embarrassed for my party to receive the recent mailer from Emily Bjornberg on Senator Linares’ track record on the environment and the economy. Her false and hypocritical statements regarding our business seems to be representative of her “win at all costs” mantra, and her criticism of one of Connecticut’s most dynamic and environmentally responsible startup companies clearly displays her basic lack of understanding about both the environment and the economy.
A puzzling and disturbing fact regarding Ms. Bjornberg’s criticisms regarding Senator Linares’s lack of concern for the environment centers around her family business, which has enjoyed millions of dollars of profits for generations selling automobiles, the single largest contributor to carbon monoxide pollution in the atmosphere. Greenskies sole mission is to reduce carbon footprint throughout Eastern United States through the development of photo-voltaic solar systems. Even more disturbing (and hypocritical) is the automobile that her family business sells are Subaru! These vehicles are entirely manufactured in Japan by Fuji Heavy Industries. Yet the most outlandish statement in her mailer is that Senator Linares does not care about Connecticut jobs. Without political fanfare, without beating his chest, but simply because it was the right thing to do, Senator Linares supported consummating a relationship with the electrical union, and today Greenskies currently employs over 300 IBEW electricians in four states, including Connecticut. If she cared so much about Connecticut jobs, perhaps, Ms. Bjornberg should consider unionizing her automobile dealership.
In today’s world economy, we enjoy an international platform of business opportunity to benefit all. Greenskies has purchased products from both U.S. manufacturers and from overseas, and we embrace and are extremely proud of our track record. I personally appreciate the success of Ms. Bjornberg’s family business as well, which has proudly served the shoreline for generations. But Ms. Bjornberg’s attempt to malign Senator Linares’ record on the environment and on the economy clearly indicates that she does not possess the balance or the intellectual maturity to represent our district. She should focus on the issues that separate her and her opponent, and their respective parties, and let voters elect the right candidate for the right reasons.
Robert A. Landino