The chairwoman of the Republican Town Committee in Enfield is skipping the state GOP’s annual Bush dinner to protest the party’s decision to present Senate Republican leader John McKinney with its top award.
“But with the gun bill just passing and his finger printers [embedded] in the cement – I can’t support this total disregard for our constitution and our personal liberties,” she wrote.
“What you do is up to you and your town committee, but this may be the time we finally will get ‘leadership’ to understand, they can’t lead if we won’t follow,” Turner’s letter states. “Enfield is taking that stand.”
The Bush dinner is the state party’s marquee event and fundraiser. This year’s gala is scheduled for May 30 in Stamford and will feature a keynote address by Wisconsin governor, and conservative favorite, Scott Walker.
McKinney, a Republican from Fairfield, will receive the party’s top honor, the Prescott Bush Sr. Award. “The Bush Award recognizes leadership and Senator McKinney is the definition of a leader — he is a leader in his community, a leader in the Connecticut Republican Party and a forceful leader in the State Senate,” party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said in a press release last month announcing the award.
In a phone interview, Turner said she agrees that McKinney has an impressive record of service. “I don’t disagree that Sen. McKinney has done some marvelous things for the state,” she said. “I don’t disregard the man for his long service but this gun legislation is … trampling on our liberties. It’s what our forefathers bled for.”
McKinney and House Republican Leader Larry Cafero, who are both considering running for governor, were instrumental in crafting bipartisan gun control legislation that cleared the legislature last week.
“Sen. McKinney’s a good man, Rep. Cafero’s a good man,” Turner said. “But this was a terrible loss to our liberties.”
McKinney’s district includes Newtown, where 26 children and educators were killed in December in one of the nation’s worst mass shootings.
“I get it, these are his children and his district,” Turner added. “He’s caught in between a rock and a hard spot…but his votes impact all of us.”