With more hearty Ayes! than a convention of pirates, Democrats officially nominated Rosa DeLauro Wednesday night to a 13th two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives, portraying her as a fighter for the people.
DeLauro, whose district includes New Haven, was nominated at a Third U.S. Congressional District convention held at North Haven High School
The evening’s tone was one of both citing DeLauro’s past accomplishments – a celebration that included some of the district’s youngest members leading the Pledge of Allegiance (above), national anthem and a musical interlude – and of looking forward at the possibility of another term and the work in Washington that still needs to be done.
“Rosa’s compassion for all of her constituents is unheard of,” Linda Marks of New Haven, a single mother whose son Henry was shot to a point of near-death in 2010, told the crowd. DeLauro was a vocal supporter of a gun tax credit program and a sponsor of the Support Assault Firearm Elimination and Reduction for our (SAFER) Streets Act. She also helped Marks and son Henry obtain an Amtrak pass that got them between New Haven and Washington, so that he could receive desperately needed care at Georgetown’s medical center.
Maryann Wasil, a single mother of three and founder of The Get in Touch Foundation, spoke of how, when she discovered that her treatments for breast cancer would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, she begged DeLauro – a survivor of breast cancer herself – to fight for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) with everything she could muster. She did work hard on behalf of the controversial law.
In her acceptance speech, DeLauro promised to keep fighting if reelected: “My new resolve in the face of this Congress is to roll up my sleeves and use every tool and ounce of energy to help people now…We need to push and squeeze the federal agencies to help people.”
She said she’d continue to work to make and keep health care affordable and to work toward truly equal pay for women. “The legislation in very simple. Men and women in the same job deserve the same pay,” she stated.
She spoke of fights ongoing and ahead: She said she has kept on top of the Veteran’s Administration to ensure that veterans return with employment and health services and can retire comfortably; has fought to preserve funding for Head Start for the young, Meals on Wheels for seniors; and pushed for increased mental health care in schools, a step she argued can reduce and ultimately eliminate tragedies like Sandy Hook before they happen.
Standing in white, lace-up cowboy boots (she has suggested to the president that they go shopping one day, and he should probably take her up on it), DeLauro told the crowd: “I take this nomination not as a reward for past service, but as an incentive to work harder. The congress can be frustrating. It can be like groundhog day. But people don’t have time for that. And I don’t either. I believe in the brand of politics that I learned from my mother and from my father: government was meant to work for people, and my job is to make sure that it does.”
Republican Rival Differs On Regulation, Fence
A Republican candidate seeking the nomination to run against DeLauro in November, Steve Packard (pictured) of Hamden, suggested that the two differ most strongly on the economy and how to best jumpstart it. A day before the Convention, he wrote to the Independent:
“If you are looking for a major issue that is going to contrast her with myself, I believe it would be economics and job creation. I would argue that the policies of Connecticut and the Federal Government have largely failed to create jobs. Although some recent reports show improvements, overall, the past few years have seen stagnant job growth in the U.S. and especially in Connecticut.
“My distinguishing core issue is that I believe the first step to improving the employment situation is to reduce the regulatory burden directly associated with job creation, as illustrated in this website post.”
“Well, he’s entitled to his views,” responded DeLauro, who in Congress has championed regulatory causes from increased food inspections to avoid the spread of diseases like e. coli to flame-proof children’s pajamas. She argued that guarding public safety through regulation does not equal being anti-business or anti-jobs. “There are a number of ways in which we can help to create jobs. We can help to provide incentives for businesses. We can also look at wages. ... We’ve got to create the environment in which we are dealing with wages. We can close so many of the tax loopholes that are out there. ... I’ve done a lot of work with manufacturers because we’re a manufacturing state. How do we provide incentives to small manufacturers in order that they can grow, they can train? There are a lot of ways you can do it [create jobs]. There’s no magic or silver bullet.”
Packard subsequently issued a press release criticizing DeLauro for proposing tax credits to help manufacturers. He argued that offering financial help to employers isn’t the answer, that cutting employers’ costs is instead: “Tax breaks and other subsidies have cost state and federal tax payers billions of dollars, and yet we’re still at the bottom of the list of job creators. ... We need to stop burdening companies with overly complex regulation and end policies that make everything from energy to payroll more expensive in the U.S. than elsewhere.”
DeLauro and Packard were also weighed in on the so-called “Berlin Wall”—a longstanding fence—that has begun falling between Hamden and New Haven.
Packard came out against the decision by New Haven to tear down the fence and build a new access road. New Haven officials acted after a mediation process in which the federal government threatened to sue Hamden for discrimination and withhold other federal funding if the town sought to block the fence’s removal.
In a recent press release, Packard called for a compromise: let pedestrians cross the border, but not cars: ” The street is not a thoroughfare. It’s a residential street with a twenty five mile per hour speed limit. Residents have told me that there’s already too much traffic on the road. Adding an access road will make the problem worse. It will bring in huge volumes of traffic from both the residences and from Southern Connecticut State University.” Click here to read the full release.
Asked about it Wednesday night, DeLauro said she doesn’t consider the matter a federal issue.
“The issue is a local issue, but people have come to a conclusion,” she said, “and I think that they will work through whatever the tensions are.”