Republicans are calling on state Rep. Barbara Lambert, D-Milford, to “apologize” to residents for bringing “nationwide ridicule” to the city after a photo caught her playing solitaire during state budget deliberations.
The Associated Press photo, shot 12 hours into the session Monday, showed Lambert and another lawmaker playing card games on their computer screens while state Rep. Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, was speaking.
Voters “expect their elected officials to represent their interests, not be preoccupied with putting the red five on the black six,” said Thomas Jagodinski, the Republican Town Committee chairman.
“They expect their elected officials to listen to others’ ideas, not to be sitting in the people’s chamber looking for alternatives to Minesweeper,” he said.
“Lambert could not be reached Thursday for comment. She had said Tuesday, “I take my job seriously.”
Democratic Town Chairman Richard Smith defended Lambert Thursday by lashing out at the Republican Party, calling it “a sad and pathetic little political party.”
“Personally, I wouldn’t think the Milford Republicans, which is up to their eyeballs in drugs, sex, developer kickback and alcohol scandals, would have the audacity to criticize a Democrat for simply playing solitaire. But, what do I know?” Smith responded. “I would say, Yep! A Democrat played solitaire. Guilty as charged.”
Republicans are taking advantage of Lambert’s gaffe by slating a solitaire benefit for the Police Department.
Residents are being asked to go to GOP campaign headquarters at 374 New Haven Ave., at 7 p.m. Sept. 15, and bring a laptop or deck of cards and “ignore crucial issues affecting Milford,” Jagodinski said.
Jagodinski said all proceeds will be donated to the Police Department to buy a video monitoring system for Wildemere Beach. He said the Democratic majority on the Board of Aldermen cut the funds from the budget.
Police have spoken about disorderly groups, noise, trespassing, liquor violations and minor drug and motor vehicle violations in the area. Residents and business owners have requested the cameras to help serve as a deterrent.
Smith called on Jagodinski to clean up the Republican Party, and instead of holding a “boring” solitaire fundraiser, he said the GOP should return the funds it has “fleeced” from the taxpayers by years of gross overspending.
Lambert had said Tuesday she did not mean any disrespect to Cafero, whom she said was making a point he had made before. She said she had done her “due diligence” on the budget, checking that Milford’s issues were taken care of, and knew she was going to vote for the budget.
Lambert said she was on the phone with Milford officials all day Monday, including education leaders, going over the ever-changing budget to ensure it was in the residents’ best interest.
Jagodinski said Lambert’s explanation is “outrageous.” He said residents elected Lambert to represent their interests “not to be a foot soldier representing the interests of the Democratic Party machine.” He said Lambert and other Democrats were busy approving a budget that would raise taxes on city residents.
“If the Democrats had spent more time looking for reasonable budget cuts instead of playing computer games, Connecticut wouldn’t be in its current financial mess,” Jagodinski said.
ORIGINAL BRIAN MCREADY STORY AT THE NEW HAVEN REGISTER