Open Letter: Fairfield RTM Member Switches From Dem To Republican

Anna Bybee-Schier

Dear Fairfield Democratic leaders,

As you know, I have been disillusioned for some time with the CT Democratic Party’s leadership regarding a push for legislation to remove the religious exemption to vaccination mandates in Connecticut.

I feel personally very strongly that the right to informed consent for any medical procedure is a sacred human right, as codified in the Nuremberg Code, and I am opposed to removal of this exemption, as there is no other exemption available in Connecticut, with the exception of medical exemptions, which have become almost impossible to obtain and do not address personal convictions vis-à-vis human and religious rights.

I have observed behavior by CT Democrats in the past that I considered to be disrespectful and dismissive of the concerns of parents and constituents opposed to vaccine mandates (particularly Mr. Tetreau’s ugly negative mailing), but I have always felt that there was still a place within the Democratic Party to dissent from what has become a party bias against vaccine rights, as there have always been Democrats who stood for human rights in regard to this issue, and in fact, Robert Kennedy Jr., who is vocal on this issue, is a Democrat.

However, the recent removal on the state level, of the only two Democrats on the Public Health Committee who voted against moving forward HB 59044, the bill to remove religious exemptions to vaccinations in CT, during the 2020 legislative session prior to the COVID epidemic, has convinced me that I no longer want to be affiliated with a party that uses its power to pressure dissenting voices to capitulate to party leadership.

I do not know why the Democratic caucus is so hell-bent on removing the religious exemption, but Rep. Jonathan Steinberg stated last year that it was the No. 1 goal of the Democratic caucus, and again, this year, the communication has been that this is of the highest priority to the Democratic leaders.

The two dissenting Democrats on the Public Health Committee, Rep. Jack Hennesy and Rep. David Michel, have been replaced by two representatives, Rep. Liz Linehan and Rep. Josh Elliot, who have regular social media battles with the mothers of injured children. To replace the two “friendly” Democrats with such vocal and often rude opponents to these mothers shows disdain in a way that I cannot conscience.

Because of this, today, when I renewed my driver’s license, I switched my party affiliation, and registered as a Republican.

I’d like to say that I appreciate the consideration from the Fairfield Democrats who tried to allow space for my viewpoint within the Democratic Party in Fairfield, and I regret leaving the friends that I have worked with on issues related to our town within the caucus.

However, I cannot stand by as I watch the Democratic Party become a bully pulpit, as I believe was demonstrated by the replacement of Reps. Hennessy and Michel with these particular new Public Health Committee members.

I must also now resign from the DTC, as well as the Democratic caucus of the RTM.


Representative Hannah Gale, District 6, Fairfield

This article originally appeared on the Fairfield Patch