He faced considerable opposition from residents in attendance.
His Middlefield town hall was just as well attended as the town hall at Russell Library last week, with over 150 people in the room. It was about evenly divided between college age residents and older residents. Some of the latter were there to support Suzio.
Suzio tried to ensure that as many topics as possible would be addressed, which had the effect of stifling questions on abortion rights. This met resistance from those who wanted Suzio to address concerns about his attempts to legislate women's health. Their repeated attempts to ask questions were loudly shouted down by Suzio's supporters.
Susan Bysiewicz, who as state legislator in the 1990s represented many of the residents in the room, wanted to know Suzio's overall views on a woman's right to reproductive freedom. She reminded him that the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision was based on the right to privacy, and a case from our state, Griswold v. Connecticut.
She asked him if he supported the state statute that codified a woman's right to reproductive freedom, passed in 1992.
Suzio refused to state his position. Instead, he made a fool of himself by talking about his marriage and spewing nonsense about a desire to reach "consensus". Few in the room saw this as honest; "consensus" means agreement, harmony, concurrence, accord, unity, unanimity, solidarity, a concept that this man from Meriden either fails to understand, or cynically uses to obscure his cowardly refusal to tell his constituents what he believes.
If you think this correspondent is being too harsh, judge for yourself with the transcript below, or watch the video on Facebook (starting at about 1:21:30):
Bysiewicz. ... So what I think a lot of people in this room are very concerned about, when they see a parental notification bill is that that is put into the legislature to cut back on women's right to privacy, to be left alone, to make decisions about health care. So my question to you is, do you support the Roe v. Wade statute that we codified in our state statutes because that is something that is very critical, particularly as we look at what is happening in Washington and the rights that could be cut back at the federal level.
Suzio. Well, if you're asking me do I support the Roe v. Wade decision which goes back to 1973, 44 years ago. When you think about it, you would think that after 44 years of the law being, quote, settled, that there would be no more arguments left about it. But the country, as far as I can see, is very divided about it. And it's been divided about the issue because debate and discussion have been suffocated and prevented. And all I know is this, Susan. I learned in life that I have a very successful marriage. I've been married to this beautiful woman for 46 years. [Points to woman in crowd] Don't hide your head! And I've learned that there's give and take, and you've got to learn to, um, when you have differences of opinion, you can't stamp your foot and say it's my way or the highway, because, you know what, the other person might accept it reluctantly but it's still going to be fuming there, under the surface. And what's been going on is the debate that would lead to a consensus about abortion has been stifled by the legal issues. I would like to see, in the next 10 - 20 years, I would like to see a consensus, an over-reaching consensus in Connecticut about this issue. Because the public by and large is divided about Roe v. Wade. I think any kind of resolution in Connecticut though the statutes should be resolved through the same process of developing consensus about it and I don't believe there is consensus about it right now.
Bysiewicz. But it's been the law since 1992!
Suzio. I would love to have a robust, respectful debate about these issues because then we can develop a consensus and then we can have it really be settled.
Bysiewicz. But I don't think we have a consensus on your bill.Two Middlefield residents who are practicing physicians were in the audience. One of them, Matthew Huddleston, is the part time health director for the town of Middlefield. In response to Suzio's attempts to insert government control over women's health decisions, he had this to say.
Huddleston. I find it insulting that the legislature assumes that I am not capable of providing professional care to the patients that come to me and giving them advice about abortions. ... I'm a doctor and I'm very pragmatic. I've seen no data that forcing women to have ultrasounds or parental notification decreases abortion. I've never met a woman who was happy about having an abortionYou want to decrease abortion? Increase sex education in the schools, fund Planned Parenthood. Open the conversation. Don't have limits.Video of the 90 minute meeting is available on Facebook.