April 15th, 2014 | City

DeLauro’s listening tour stops on Elm

At first, Chris Labosky LAW ’14 thought the woman wandering around Maison Mathis this morning was just a friendly local. Then she walked up to his table, shook his hand and introduced herself as U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro.

DeLauro visited Maison Mathis at 9 a.m. today to chat with constituents as part of a listening tour with stops at coffee shops and diners across the district. In conversations with diners, DeLauro addressed questions about polarization in Congress, unemployment and pay fairness, among other issues. She said the tour was a way to hear constituents’ concerns and obtain “granular” pieces of information to inform her decision-making.

“I’ve heard a variety of things from people,” DeLauro said. “You pick up what’s happening this way.”

Maison Mathis was the third stop of her tour. Yesterday, she visited the Athenian Diner in Milford, and tomorrow, she’ll go to Wallingford. DeLauro said she liked that the Maison Mathis offered the chance to interact with Yale students as well as long-term New Haven residents.

Labosky, who spends many mornings at Maison Mathis and hadn’t known DeLauro would be visiting, said he had previously not known the name of New Haven’s representative in Congress. He thinks that is typical of Yale students, whom he believes are more engaged with national politics than local issues. He asked DeLauro whether Congress has become more polarized during her 24 years in office. She said it had.

“She answered very genuinely,” Labosky said. “She’s a very likable person. I’m kind of embarrassed I didn’t know who she was.”

Congress is currently in a two-week recess. DeLauro will return to Washington, D.C. to resume work in the legislature on April 28.