The News endorses Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro for the U.S. House of Representatives in Connecticut’s 3rd District.
Although this year’s congressional elections have been overshadowed by Connecticut’s hotly contested gubernatorial race, 3rd District voters will have a choice between two candidates with radically different views on the role of government.
The incumbent, Rosa DeLauro, has been a pillar of Washington politics since she became our representative in 1991. Empowered by the safety of her seat — she has received at least 63 percent of the vote in her last 12 races — DeLauro has earned a reputation as one of America’s most progressive politicians. From her role in founding Congress’ Progressive Caucus to her staunch defense of labor unions, DeLauro has solidified her position as a stalwart of the left. Her longstanding work on women’s rights — including expanding access to birth control and fighting for equal pay — should be celebrated.
Her opponent, James Brown, is a career educator, having taught high school mathematics from 1992 to 2013. Brown lacks political experience, but it is his agenda that worries us most.
Whereas DeLauro has sought to increase funding for Head Start and invest in early childhood development, Brown has said he would abolish the Department of Education. Whereas DeLauro knows we should not balance the budget on the backs of society’s most vulnerable, Brown reveals only a hazy understanding of government in suggesting federal legislation banning any “new spending bills.”
Moreover, DeLauro has more than 20 years of legislative experience and considerable political clout in Washington. This experience is a testament to her political savviness and ability to represent the people of New Haven skillfully. In the absence of a similarly extensive record, Brown should be focused on articulating specific policy suggestions to convince voters that he can represent their interests in Washington.
But Brown’s platform is inadequate and at odds with the needs and concerns of average Connecticut citizens. In a state where the Affordable Care Act was implemented effectively, Brown calls for its repeal without offering a credible alternative health care plan. His policies are informed by little more than Tea Party sound bites.
All signs point to DeLauro’s resounding victory. She has raised over $1 million, while Brown’s campaign fund sits at approximately $6,600.
But when DeLauro does return to Washington, as she seems likely to do, we hope she does so with the recognition that Congress is in failing health.
Trust in the legislature is at an all-time low. American political apathy is linked to our government’s dysfunction. Politicians on both sides are unwilling to move across the aisle and make concessions on even the most salient issues out of fear of antagonizing their bases.
The Tea Party with which Brown is aligned bears the brunt of responsibility for this impasse. DeLauro, meanwhile, has the opportunity to help break this vicious cycle of partisanship and represent a voice for compromise.
Often we conflate willingness to compromise with a lack of principles. But the status quo cannot continue. Too many important bills — from sensible gun control laws to reform of our outdated tax code or immigration policy — are stalled in congressional committees, victims of partisan bickering.
We look forward to DeLauro’s continued representation of New Haven. But we hope she uses her broad-based backing in her district to seize the national podium and issue a call for legislative action that could yield immediate and significant benefits to the American people.