MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — There was a heated debate on Thursday night at the Middletown City Council meeting over the appointment of a newly elected council member of certain commissions.
More than a dozen Middletown residents spoke in opposition to council member Jonathan Pulino’s appointment on the Middletown LGBTQIA+ Commission and Middletown Anti-Racism Task Force. The council voted unanimously to table the motion to the next meeting.
“It’s an insult to what we say we stand for as members of this community. It’s offensive, and it’s repulsive,” Middlesex County NAACP President Anita Ford Saunders said.
“I have seen nothing that is homophobic or transphobic,” said Christine Rebstock, who was a former commissioner on the Middletown LGBTQIA+ Commission.
Comments made by Pulino had residents questioning the Republican’s appointment to the city’s LGBTQIA+ commission and anti-racism task force.
“Don’t jive, don’t fit with this community and the direction we’re going,” Ford Saunders said.
Pulino hosts two cable access shows called Variety Hour and The Edge.
There, a guest allegedly said, “The single mom epidemic is raising men with bodies like LeBron James and emotions of a woman, so they act out like their moms,” to which residents said Pulino responded, “That’s a good point, very refreshing.”
“You had a guest that said this… I’m the host!” Pulino said.
Pulino, who teaches at Middletown High School, is looking forward to serving on both commissions and thinks he’s a great fit.
“It’s tough because I was looking forward to working on the committee,” Pulino said. “I’m a really good listener, I think. I do it for a living. I have a lot of empathy. I like people. I don’t even judge people. I was shocked by a lot of what they were saying.”
Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim disagrees and said Pulino’s past statements, history and record reflect that.
“The appointment was made not just with the intention of getting him onto those committees to cause disruption and derail the work being done but also send a sc— you to these populations,” Florsheim said.
Florsheim said Pulino’s name will likely be replaced when the motions are discussed at the next council meeting on December 4.