Running for 5th District Congressional seat
GOSHEN — State Sen. Andrew Roraback (R-30) announced Oct. 20 that he is running for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Murphy (D-5). With the announcement (made at the town hall in his home town of Goshen), Roraback ended months of speculation over whether he would try for the Republican nomination for the 5th Congressional District, which includes the Northwest Corner (including Torrington) and extends east to the cities of Waterbury, New Britain and Meriden, and south to Danbury.Roraback delivered a brisk speech explaining why he has decided to run.“I’m an optimist,” he said. “I believe in the essential goodness of the American people.“But we are at a critical point. Unemployment is high, despair is growing.”He noted that public approval of Congress is very low. “Sad to say, it’s with good reason. “The common-sense pragmatism of a New England Republican is in short supply.”In a phone interview Sunday, Oct. 23, Roraback laid out his positions.On the economy, and specifically about the “stimulus” spending that the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats have used to try and revive the national economy, Roraback declined to be a Monday morning quarterback.“I don’t think it is of great value to look back and spend time critiquing failed policies.”“The American appetite for stimulus spending is in short supply,” he continued, especially when people do not see tangible benefits.He said that as he travels the Northwest Corner asking if citizens believe “the money Washington spends reaches your house or community, very few people say ‘yes.’”On taxes and tax reform: “We should be open to any plan that has the twin virtues of simplicity and fairness. Government has to be very cautious about raising taxes in a time of economic duress.”He noted that,“It’s hard to love jobs and hate the people who create them. We have to recognize that the people who make decisions [about creating jobs], a lot of them are on the sidelines because they are unsure of what the future holds.”On the announcement Sunday that U.S. forces would be out of Iraq by the end of the year: “It’s regrettable that the administration is unable to solidify a relationship with the Iraqi leadership such that soldiers there could be given a basic package of protections, which is vital to the mission.”On energy policy, Roraback began with the furor over the federal Energy Department’s loan to Solyndra, a green energy company that went bankrupt. “How can you not be totally disillusioned by that? I’m a big believer in clean and alternative energy, but it has to be market-based, able to stand on its own two feet. Government can play a role as a catalyst but it can’t be a crutch.“There has to be a balance between responsible environmental protection and taking advantage of domestic sources of supply. The alternative is further dependence on foreign sources.”On man-made climate change: “There is ample evidence to suggest that both human and natural factors are having an inpact on climate change.”And on so-called “cap-and-trade” legislation: “The issue has to be looked at globally. We should be very careful about asking America to be the leader” and not apply the same standards to the rapidly growing economies of India and China.Asked if the federal government has become too big and intrusive, Roraback replied, “The framers intended some limitations on the reach of federal powers. We have allowed the federal government to grow in a way which is burdensome.”And on himself: “If people are looking for a center-right person, whose record shows he is in step with the vast majority of people in the 5th District, then I am your candidate.”It’s a crowded field. Also running for the Republican nomination are Justin Bernier, Lisa Wilson-Foley, Mark Greenberg and Mike Clark.On the Democratic side, there are four candidates: Chris Donovan (speaker of the state House of Representatives), Elizabeth Esty, Dan Roberti and Mike Williams.