The news that broke late last night that Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy was arrested for DUI in South Carolina last month may come as little surprise to those who think they know him. His past struggles with alcoholism are no secret, as he had a publicized prior arrest in 2002.
Healy's recent arrest was on May 15th. He was in South Carolina to attend a presidential debate. He now stands to lose his license for a year, as this is his second offense. He should face the full legal consequences of his actions. The incident five years ago should have taught him to keep from behind the wheel when intoxicated.
Publicly admitting alcoholism is a tough thing to do, as is taking responsibility for one's actions. Healy has done both, and he should be respected for it. And I do wish him well as he struggles to recover from a grave addiction that many grapple with.
There is, of course, a political side to the matter. Healy made these revelations within weeks of the Republicans State Central Committee's election for chairman. He intends to seek re-election to the post for a full term. Should Healy remain chairman? That is up to the 72 members of the CT GOP State Central Committee, but I for one believe he should remain.
There are those who are calling for Healy's skin. Most of these are libs and Democrats who are seizing on a cheap opportunity to try to make political hay. I care not what this group of demagogues and hypocrites have to offer. These are the same people who were silent when people like State Representative Kevin Ryan (D-Montville) or State Representative Patricia Dillon (D-New Haven) received their DUI offenses. Ryan's three offenses were particularly notable as he spent some time in prison as a result. Dillon still seems drunk constantly, but that may be due to ill-fitting dentures slurring her speech.
Healy would not be the first person in politics to get a DUI, nor will he be the last. In Rhode Island they say it isn't springtime until a Kennedy has driven on the sidewalk.
But the reason Healy should remain is because of his talents. He is a gifted political mind, shrewd, quick, and astute. He is also a brilliant writer and speaker, and has been an excellent chairman since his tenure began. I believe he is still the man to lead our party through these stormy political times, and know he has the energy, drive and talent to accomplish significant wins for Republicans across Connecticut. Feeding him to the wolves would cheapen our party, and do wrong by a good man.
I call on the members of the Republican State Central Committee to do the right thing and return Healy to the chairmanship as we head into an absolutely critical municipal election season, and a watershed state and presidential election in 2008.
Healy is the man to spread the Republican message to Connecticut voters. Let's keep him in the chair.