It is disheartening to hear that state Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-143rd District, has turned down invitations to participater in candidate forums sponsored by Earthplace and the Westport Chamber of Commerce.

It is important that Fairfield County's business and environmental-justice communities be allowed to question her record. Lavielle's justification on voting to lower fines for polluters needs to see the light of day. Her nationally-recognized, anti-environmental activism against key consumer protections like labelling toxins on children's products is also well-deserving of public scrutiny on the local level.

Her lifelong advocacy on behalf of large, out-of-state corporations such as Walmart and Philip Morris instead of Connecticut's own businesses and residents merits deep examination. For a legislator who is everywhere all the time, her absence speaks volumes here in Westport.

Sal Liccione