Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stop Sam the Clam Caligiuri

I do not mix politics with this blog unless it has a direct connection with transgender issues, so bear with me as I step onto the soapbox today.

Yesterday, Connecticut State Senator Sam "the Clam" Caligiuri won the Republican primary for the Fifth US Congressional District of Connecticut.

I live in the Fifth Congressional District that Sam the Clam would like to represent and I also live in the Connecticut State Senate district that Sam the Clam currently represents, so I have been following his political career closely over the years.

Sam the Clam would never get my vote because his political views represent the worst of the teabag wing of the GOP (Gang of Privateers). Normally, I would just cast my vote against the guy and not get into a discourse here or anywhere else about why I voted against him, but Sam the Clam is special; Sam the Clam has his guns sighted on the trans community and he must be stopped.

Sam the Clam has consistently voted against state legislation that protects the rights of transgenders.

In May 2007, the Connecticut State Senate passed the gender anti-discrimination bill by a 30-4 margin (it died in the State House of Representatives). Sam the Clam voted against it. He also voted against the bill when it came up for a vote in his committee (the Education Committee).

Based on his track record, Sam the Clam will vote against the protection of transgender rights if he has an opportunity to do so in the future. So, we must stop him from having another opportunity.

On the other hand, the man Sam the Clam is running against, Congressman Chris Murphy, has been a consistent supporter of transgender rights and deserves the support of the trans community of the Fifth Congressional District of Connecticut.

Please Stop Sam the Clam and vote for Chris Murphy.

So why "Sam the Clam"?

Strike One

When Sam was running for State Senate, he happened to be campaigning outside the local IGA one day when I happened to be grocery shopping. On the way into the IGA, I took his campaign literature and perused it while I shopped.

I noticed that nowhere in his campaign literature did it mention which political party he represented. This was during the darkest days of the Bush-Cheney administration and GOP candidates everywhere were trying to distance themselves as far away as possible from the frat boy in the White House. Sam the Clam was no different.

On the way out of the IGA, I asked Sam what party he represented because his campaign literature was lacking that information. Sam clammed up, refused to answer my question, and proceeded to ignore me.

Strike Two

When the the gender anti-discrimination bill was up for a vote, I wrote Sam a heartfelt letter asking him to support the bill.

I did not get a response until many months later. His response avoided the issues. Instead, he apologized for losing my letter and being unable to respond to it in a timely manner.

I did not have to wait for strike three; after strike two, Sam became "Sam the Clam" as far as I was concerned.


  1. I agree with you 100%!

    When the bill (SB1044) was debated on the CT Senate floor in 2007, Sen. Caligiuri objected to secondary school teachers transitioning and he was in favor of an amendment requiring teacher who transitioned to be moved out of teaching positions. You can read the transcript of the Senate debate here

    When I met with Rep. Murphy’s staff down in Washington about ENDA, they took time to sit down with us about the bill, even though we were not from his district. The congressman also met with a contingent from LGBT community in Hartford this spring to have a discussion on DADT and ENDA. He was very emphatic that he supports a gender inclusive ENDA.

  2. Reading Stana's post and Diana's comment reminds me of something I often hear from veterans of battles for LGBT rights: Transgenders are about where gay men and lesbians were 30 years ago.

    Interestingly (and distressingly) enough, public figures are using exactly the same arguments that were used against gays and lesbians back in the day, and which have long since been discredited.

    Another thing that's disheartening is that we have politicians like "the Clam" even in nominally "blue" states like Connecticut and New York, where I live. They can't be dismissed as Bible-belt Bubbas; they are sophisticated enough to use middle-class resentments against entitlements to try to dis-empower us. And they have the money to do such things.

  3. Justine, one thing to keep in mind, 41 year ago we were there at the Stonewall uprising along side our brothers and sisters. They threw us out of the quest for equality, but we never gave up.

    We may not be in the Bible-belt, but we do have our share of Bible thumpers. This is from "The Clam" bio on the CT General Assembly's web-site.
    Senator Caligiuri received a B.A. from Boston College, an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School, and a J.D. from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.