He’s No Moderate

In Stories by Alex Harris

Many Ridgefield residents, including moderates and progressives, believe John Frey’s personable friendliness reflects political moderation. However, John’s record is decidedly immoderate.

John’s immoderation is not a recent development, but rather has been ever-present in his legislative voting record. John has voted in lockstep with the extremist Republican House leadership 96% of the time during the latest term.  Over the years, John sided with the gun lobby against victims of domestic violence, opposed increasing the minimum wage, voted against proven efforts to boost voter registration and turnout, refused to protect transgender individuals from discrimination, opposed same-sex marriage, and rebuffed rape victims.

Here are just a handful of critically important reforms that John voted against:

  • HB 5054 — An Act Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence:
    • Requires subjects of temporary restraining orders (TRO) to surrender all firearms within 24 hours of issuance of a TRO. Supported by domestic violence victim advocates, opposed by the gun lobby.
    • Frey voted against on April 27, 2016.
    • Bill passed House 104 to 42, Senate passed May 2, signed into law on 5/26/2016.
  • SB 32 – Increases Minimum Wage
    • Increases the hourly minimum wage from $8.70 to $10.10, in 3 steps over 2 years.
    • Frey voted against on March 26, 2014.
    • Bill passed House 87-54 (passed by Senate same day), and signed into law on March 27, 2014.
    • Frey also voted against earlier bills to incrementally increase the minimum wage:
      • SB 387 on March 29, 2013 (signed into law on 6/6/13);
      • HB 5291 on April 26, 2012 (House passed that day, but never taken up by Senate); and
      • HB 5105 on June 23, 2008, (House and Senate both passed veto over-ride on that date).
  • HB 5024 – Authorizes Election Day Registration
    • Authorizes election day registration to increase voter participation and convenience.
    • Frey voted against on April 30, 2012.
    • Bill passed House 83-59, Senate passed, and signed into law on May 31, 2012.
  • HB 6599 – Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Expression
    • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.
    • Frey voted against on against on May 19, 2011.
    • Bill passed by House 77-62 (previously passed by Senate); signed into law on July 1, 2011.
  • SB 899 – Same-Sex Marriage
    • Recognizes marriage as the legal union of two persons, guaranteeing equal protection under the law for same-sex couples.
    • Frey voted against on April 22, 2009.
    • Bill passed by House 100-44 (passed by Senate on same day); signed into law on April 23, 2009.
  • SB 1343 – Emergency Contraception for Rape Victims
    • Requires licensed health care facilities to provide victims of sexual assault with factually accurate and objective information on emergency contraception, its use, and its efficacy.
    • Frey voted against on May 2, 2007.
    • Bill passed by House 113-36 (Senate previously passed); signed into law on May 16, 2007.

In addition to merely voting against the important laws listed above, John Frey has been AWOL on other important legislation, including missing the following votes in 2017 alone:

  • HB5743 Concerning Hate Crimes: Frey missed this vote even as swastikas proliferated across Ridgefield.
  • HB6329, Hydraulic Fracturing Waste in Connecticut: Frey missed this vote even as dumping of fracking waste has become a grave concern for Ridgefield residents.
  •  HB5442, Raising the Legal Age to Marry: Frey missed the vote on this law which is considered a key measure to combat trafficking and forced marriage.

But it’s not JUST John’s voting record that is extreme. John is not merely a follower of the extreme House legislative agenda, he is an architect and enforcer of that agenda. John is a member of Republican House Leadership, in which he serves as Senior House Whip. The Senior House Whip’s sole function is to pressure, threaten, lobby and cajole all Republican House members to vote in lockstep with leadership. So, when you read that State House Republicans voted unanimously (or nearly unanimously) against some crucial legislation or for some abominable legislation, THAT is a direct result of John’s efforts as Senior Republican House Whip. He almost certainly wasn’t browbeaten into voting the way he did, but rather he probably browbeat most of the other Republicans into voting the way they did.

But John’s whip role isn’t close to the worst of his extremism. John is one of only two Connecticut members of the elite and exclusive Republican National Committee (“RNC”). The RNC raises money to advance the Trump/GOP agenda nationwide and in every state. The RNC funded bigot and accused pedophile Roy Moore in the Alabama governors race, even after the multiple, credible accusations of sexual assault of minors emerged. John didn’t publicly object or resign, but maintained his privileged RNC appointment.  Likewise, John has marched in lockstep with his RNC cohorts as they have given aid, comfort and support to Donald Trump after every new depredation.

This was most evident in John’s enthusiastic choice to serve as a delegate and Sergeant-at-Arms for Donald Trump’s nomination in 2016. John claimed that as an RNC  member he was obligated to vote for Trump’s nomination; however, RNC members all across the country chose to put country and conscience first and refused to attend. That same moral choice was available to John, but he declined take it. John later said that one of his greatest experiences was attending Trump’s inauguration. Even now, after years of  Trump’s daily exhibits of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, nativism, and thuggish authoritarianism, John still hasn’t registered even mild public criticism, let alone any disavowal, of Donald Trump.

Finally, on November 1, 2018, we learned two more examples that conclusively demonstrate that John Frey is not moderate, but rather is perfectly at ease in the extremist Trump-era GOP.

Don’t mistake John Frey’s personable demeanor for political moderation.


Read more about John Frey: