A group of Connecticut House Democrats recently proclaimed itself in a press release to be, "The moderate Democratic 'Blue Dog' caucus,'' a coalition of about 25 members who want to support "common sense policy.'' As a member of the House Republican caucus, I see this as encouraging. Welcome aboard. The time is now to flex that moderate muscle and we are ready to stand shoulder to shoulder on an important public safety issue. Right now, all four corners of the state are seeing a rash of vehicle break-ins and thefts. Young criminals are stalking our neighborhoods, checking door handles and stealing what they can under cover of darkness. How do they get away with it? First, the "police accountability" bill passed by Democrats last summer has tied the hands of our law enforcement officers. This bill was passed along party lines with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. While they may have supported it last year, these moderate Democrats have a chance to reverse course and stand up for victims. Now is the time. Second, even if these criminals are caught, they face few if any true consequences. Juvenile offenders can break into vehicles repeatedly and still walk away with a slap on the wrist. To be clear, these perpetrators are not "kids having fun." They are well aware of what they are doing. Some have been arrested multiple times. Some, as we saw recently in Tolland, are walking around armed and dangerous. Progressive Democrats in the legislature protect them. It's time for these 25 moderates to join the ranks of Republicans and take a stand in support of victims. This won't be easy as progressives seem to run the Connecticut Democratic Party these days. We will see just how long promises of moderation stand up to political pressure within the greater Democratic caucus. Residents who have been victimized are counting on strength here. We Republicans have put forth a proposal that can fix this and hold criminals accountable. We are eager to advance this bill alongside these moderates once we know who they actually are. Recent history has shown that lawmakers can come together in a unified fashion to actually solve problems. To end the 2017 budget stand-off, Democrats embraced long-held Republican tenets by voting for a spending cap, bonding cap and volatility cap that has produced out current record high Rainy Day Fund. It will help us get through the coming economic maelstrom we face as a result of the pandemic. There is no real indication yet just who claims membership in this new caucus aside from the co-chairs who are listed. But we respectfully ask that these individuals step forward and consider our House Republican proposal that increases penalties for repeat offenders and enhances police officers' ability to detain individuals involved in these car thefts. We look forward to working across the political aisle to come up with common sense solutions wherever, and whenever, possible. We have arrived at that place and time. Let's move this forward as legislative partners. First, we have to know who we are working with. A generation ago a different group of moderate Democratic lawmakers emerged around the time of the Great Income Tax Debate. This was a relatively small but outspoken group that played a vital role in shaping legislation and ultimately public policy, providing a check on the more liberal elements within the General Assembly. Over time, that group gradually dissipated as members moved on, retired or decided to pursue other goals. Now it seems, at least on paper, the potential for forging a bipartisan coalition is real. The need for finding bipartisan solutions to our many challenges is greater. 2017 proved that, and here is hoping we can do it again. Jason Perillo of Shelton represents the 113th House District.