National Party Politics Takes Center Stage In 5th District
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and labor leaders rallied around Elizabeth Esty, the Democratic nominee in the 5th Congressional District, and painted her opponent, Sen. Andrew Roraback, as someone who supports the national Republican agenda.
“Unless he’s going to tell you, and tell all of us that he’s going to vote for somebody other than John Boehner then that’s the agenda that rules,” Esty said Friday at the New Britain Senior Center.
Esty believes voters in the 41 towns in the 5th Congressional District support the national Democratic agenda “of protecting Medicare and Social Security,” over the Republican agenda which would privatize Social Security and voucher Medicare.
“The Ryan-Romney-Roraback plan is nothing other than to decimate the middle class. To turn back the clock. To make it harder for the middle class to move forward,” Malloy said lumping Roraback in with the Republican Party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Malloy said the Republican party drove the country into a “ditch and is now complaining we’re not getting out of the ditch fast enough.”
But hardly anyone would consider Roraback as someone who walks in lockstep with the Republican Party.
A self-described New England Republican, Roraback is fiscally conservative, but socially liberal supporting things as controversial nationally as a women’s right to choose.
“One of the themes of my campaign has been that I am a Republican, but I’m an American before I’m a Republican,” Roraback said. “Clearly Dan Malloy and Elizabeth Esty appear to be Democrats before they’re Americans.
Roraback maintained that he’s never even spoken about U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare and, if elected, would not got to “Washington to adopt somebody else’s plan.”
“My plan is not his [Ryan] plan. My plan is to work with Republicans and Democrats to come up with a solution which will become law. Not to make partisan noise,“ Roraback said Friday. “I don’t support the Ryan plan and the governor knows that.”
Roraback said his plan would “guarantee that rules aren’t going to change for anyone who is today 55 years or older because seniors and people who are close to retirement are entitled to the piece of mind that the system will be there for them.”
Secondly, “we as a nation have to have a conversation, not a partisan conversation, but an honest heartfelt conversation about how we make system sustainable and obviously no one has arrived at the right answer yet because it hasn’t happened,” he added.
Esty maintained that since Roraback is a Republican he must support his party leaders and their policies.
“I will be a congressperson who is able, accessible, and authentic,” Roraback said in response.
Jonathan Harris, executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party who chaired the General Assembly’s Public Health Committee while Esty was a member, said Esty is someone who listens and solves problems.
“She’s not about dogma. She’s not about messaging or sound bytes,” Harris said. “She is about coming up with practical solutions on issues.”
Esty painted a picture of the race that was much bigger than the 5th Congressional District.
“This election is about choices of direction of this country,” Esty said. “It is an election about who do we care about and who are we going to support.”
She said candidates need to be talking about whether they support giving tax breaks to companies who ship jobs overseas, “the millionaires who apparently need more tax cuts in order to think about creating jobs, big oil who needs more tax breaks in order to pump, or is it going to be about the middle class, and seniors, and investing in our children?”
Esty believes it’s the later.