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For State Rep. Hennessy, Vaccine Troubles, House Speaker Ritter, and a Core Adversary — Only in Bridgeport®

Hennessy mobilizes in Hartford against vaccines. Image from his government webpage

On March 16, 2020, as Covid-19 erupted on the scene in Connecticut, forcing government emergency measures to cancel classes at all public schools and limit commerce and human gatherings, the representative of the State Jack Hennessy is the author of this editorial which still appears on his state. Homepage opposing the elimination of the religious exemption that allowed Connecticut parents to refuse vaccinations for their children.

The religious freedom op-ed is accompanied by an emphatic image of Hennessy at a rally at the State Capitol, in front of a confusing “VACCINES ARE MADE WITH ABORTED FETAL CELLS” sign.

Well, not exactly.

At the time, the scientific industry was in the early stages of a breakneck pace to develop a vaccine against Covid-19.

In the 1960s, aborted fetal cell lines were used in the implementation of some vaccines, but according to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines do NOT contain ingredients such as preservatives, tissues (like cells aborted fetuses), antibiotics, food proteins, drugs, latex, or metals.

Although Hennessy’s still-available op-ed clearly focused on religious freedom in the face of vaccines, it created lingering questions about his overall opinion on vaccinations as well as a subsequently broken relationship with the president of the Chamber Matt Ritter who sanctioned him at least twice. stripping him of a vice-presidential position and a spot on the public health committee because Hennessy’s vaccine views violate Ritter’s public safety concerns and those of a majority of the US legislature. State, according to a source close to the speaker.

House Speaker Matt Ritter disagrees with Hennessy.

It’s not how Hennessy voted on the bill, the source says, but the “way he did it,” including rallying protesters in and out of the capital. What’s particularly unnerving for Ritter is an ongoing alliance and “legitimating” Republican state Rep. Anne Dauphinais who helped organize and attend the Connecticut 2021 Plainfield rally of the anti- Georgia vaxxer Marjorie Taylor Green who was stripped of committee assignments for supporting the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook school shooting was staged.

In October 2021, Dauphinais was reprimanded by state Republicans for comparing Governor Ned Lamont’s state employee vaccine mandate to Adolf Hitler.

Anti-vaxxer state representative Anne Dauphinais.

Ritter called Dauphinais “the Marjorie Taylor Greene of Connecticut”.

Hennessy and Ritter haven’t spoken in about two years, leaving Hennessy with few ways to maximize gifts to take home to his city, according to members of the city’s legislative delegation and Hartford insiders. One noted “he’s a dead weight”.

On August 9, Hennessy faces a primary test from City Councilman Marcus Brown in Connecticut’s 127th District which covers much of the North End and part of the West Side.

In 2019, Hennessy and anti-vaxxer Dauphinais hosted vaccine critic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in Hartford who made his point to a crowd of vaccine skeptics, “as he denounced vaccine makers for children and the institutions he considers to be their collaborators”. according to a story by Mark Pazniokas of the CT Mirror.

Hennessy has often linked vaccines to autism, though science doesn’t back it up. From the CT mirror:

The New England Journal of Medicine published a Danish study in 2002 that found no difference in the incidence of autism in children who were vaccinated with a measles vaccine and those who were not. . A new study published two weeks ago in the Annals of Internal Medicine, also based on Danish vaccination data, came to a similar conclusion.

So what is Hennessy’s position on vaccines? In its 2020 op-ed, Hennessy writes:

I am not an “anti-vaccine”. I only seek to be informed and to do what I believe is right. I grew up in the 1960s, and if there’s one thing I learned back then, it’s to question authority, rather than blindly trust government. If only we would open our eyes to see and our ears to hear, we could stop allowing the criminal drug companies that brought us the devastation of Vioxx and Oxycontin.

Hennessy fights against a dichotomy between science and religion. Is big religion less powerful, corrupt and influential than big pharma?

Institutional health organizations claim that vaccines save lives, including children. Environmental activism has been one of Hennessy’s public calling cards. Does he trust environmental science but not vaccines?

In 2021, the state legislature eliminated the religious exemption, enacted by Governor Ned Lamont, from childhood vaccination requirements for schools, colleges and daycares, becoming the sixth state to end this policy. . Hennessy was a lone Democratic voice against eliminating the exemption.

Marcus Brown

Along the way, Hennessy encountered an unexpected primary opponent in Brown who last December pledged support for his re-election. Then word filtered out from Hartford that Hennessy’s heretical actions were unsuitable for legislative leaders. The ten-year overhaul of legislative maps was underway. A narrow piece of Brown’s neighborhood was carved out of Hennessy’s neighborhood.

So goes the machinations of politics.

It set up a generational battle between baby boomer Hennessy and millennial Brown.

On June 30, the OIB emailed Hennessy asking about his positions on vaccines and his dealings with state leaders. He acknowledged receipt. Waiting for his answer to the questions.

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