In an election year when an unprecedented number of women are running for Congress for the first time, Connecticut Democrats chose to send New Haven U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro back to her seat for a 29th and 30th year.
DeLauro accepted her party’s nomination with much fanfare during a nominating convention for the Third U.S. Congressional District, held at Career High School’s auditorium Monday evening.
The state GOP again endorsed Angel Cadena of Shelton, who ran against DeLauro in 2016, at its nominating convention this past weekend at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Click here to read a past WNHH interview with Cadena, a Marine veteran, truck driver, and gun-rights enthusiast from the Valley.
At the Democratic convention Monday evening, Mayor Toni Harp called DeLauro a powerhouse who has looked out for New Haven, fought for children and working families. Harp emphasized DeLauro’s support for women.
“She believes in the rights of women and pay equity,” Harp said. “She’s a member of the ‘Baby Caucus’ and understands that something as simple as clean diapers for babies can have an impact on families as it relates to education and work. “
“We are proud of Rosa,” Harp added. “New Haven is growing and developing due to the great representation that New Haven has in its favorite daughter Rosa DeLauro.”
DeLauro is currently serving her 14th two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Somer Hicks, a resident of Naugatuck and recent graduate of the Building Pathways, a pre-apprenticeship program, credited DeLauro with fighting for the federal monies that funded her ability to go from bartending and minimum wage jobs to working in construction.
The single mother of three said now she has a good-paying job with health benefits and a chance at retirement savings because DeLauro helped secure the initial funds for the program and continues to fight for the federal investments that sustain it.
“She’s the kind of advocate we need in Washington,” Hicks said.
DeLauro said she is reenergized and ready for the challenges ahead. She accused the Republicans in D.C. of “hollowing out” federal agencies and crafting a $1.3 trillion tax cut law that she called “a gift to corporations and the wealthy.”
“We are fighting for the soul of our country,” she said. “President Trump and Republicans are hard at work destroying our government, our democratic institutions, the rule of law, the very bonds of community that tie us all together.”
She said instead of a handout that sends 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent, the tax cut should go toward fixing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and investing in its children.
“Families need a hand up,” she said. “Republicans gave the wealthiest a handout. Republicans are looking to slash food stamps and unravel our social safety net. It’s shameful. It is unacceptable.
“It is a matter of life and death, and it is why I am honored to earn your nomination to return to the fight.”
DeLauro said she is fortified for that fight by the stories of Hicks and a couple of Guilford High seniors, Isobel Nairn and Tyler Felson. The two students were among the more than 700 students who walked out of Guilford High in solidarity with the students of Parkland, Florida, to protest gun violence. They would later take part in the national March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. The Congresswoman helped the teens raise the nearly $6,000 they needed to get to the nation’s capital.
The teens almost expected DeLauro to gallop in on a white horse to greet them, but instead she “arrived with her purple hair, amazing glasses, and cooler than I’ll ever be,” Felson recalled.
He said it convinced the 49 kids who had made the trip that accomplishing goals through politics takes “people like us, people like Rosa, and people like those who marched with us that day.”
DeLauro called Hicks, Nairn and Felson clear examples of what can be achieved when opportunity and resources “reach as far as people’s vision.”
“We need to make sure everyone in this country gets their fair shot to live up to their God-given potential,” she said. “We need to level the playing field, to put the middle class before big corporations. We need to rewrite the rules that working people come first.”
DeLauro said that you do that by ensuring access to paid family and medical leave, and equal pay for equal work by women; by ensuring that access to health care is universal, that working people have the right to form unions.
Should she win another two-year term, it will be the first she serves without her mother, Luisa DeLauro, by her side, she said. The longest-serving alder in New Haven history, having served 35 years, Luisa DeLauro died in September at the age of 103. DeLauro noted Monday night was the first nominating convention that Luisa was not sitting in the audience urging her on.
DeLauro closed her acceptance speech by quoting her mother from a passage she wrote in the 1933 10th Ward Democratic newsletter: “Come on girls, let’s make ourselves heard.”
Click on the Facebook Live video below to watch DeLauro’s acceptance speech.