Congressman Jim Himes made an appearance in Wilton over the weekend, attending the Wilton Democratic Town Committee‘s annual barbecue on Saturday, Sept. 9 with a message to his party heading into election season.

“In the face of a President who has turned his back on fundamental American values, we have to be the stewards of those values,” Himes told a crowd of about 75 people. “We are obligated to make sure that everyone in this country knows they have a shot—against a sentiment in Washington that says, ‘you are on your own,’ and if you’re not the same color as me, you’re really on your own.”

Himes was joined by Bob Duff, the CT state senate majority leader, as well as other speakers–mostly candidates for state and local office–at the DTC kickoff to rally Wilton Democrats to get out the vote this fall in local and state elections.

“The Republicans learned a long time ago that you start at the state and local level,” said Duff. “Some of the folks who ran for the Board of Education 20 years ago are now in Congress. We’ve got to get a lot of red areas back to blue again.”

Himes also struck an optimistic chord. He said heroic, broad-based efforts to aid the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas—a state known for resisting federal influence—softened the partisan rancor in Congress. “Seeing people coming together like that to help,” no matter what their background or party, “changed the weather a bit in Washington.” He expressed renewed optimism for a bi-partisan agreement on a Affordable Care Act revision. “We’re in a different place now. The President’s not, but behind the scenes folks on the other side are quietly waving the white flag and saying, ‘Let’s fix what’s broken.’”

This bipartisan cooperation remains key, said Himes, acknowledging President Trump’s agreement with Democrats this month to raise the debt ceiling temporarily and pass an aid package for Hurricane Harvey. “To his credit, he looked at what might be four weeks of chaos and foolishness, and said, ‘Let’s get this done.’”

Other candidates in attendance:  former West Hartford mayor and state senator Jonathan Harris and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei, both exploring runs for Governor; and Drew Marzullo and John Blankly, exploring runs for Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer, respectively. Candidates running for municipal office were in attendance as well.

Karen Birck of the League of Women Voters urged the gathering to attend upcoming “town hall style” debates for local candidates at the Brubeck Room of the Wilton Library on October 18 and 19. Candidates for the Planning and Zoning Commission will be featured on Wednesday, October 18 from 7 – 9 pm;  Board of Selectmen candidates on Thursday, October 19 from 7 – 8 pm;  Board of Education candidates October 19 from 8:15 – 9:15 pm.

DTC Chair Deborah McFadden (who is running for selectman in Wilton) was pleased with the message the speakers conveyed. “The message of staying true to our core values of compassion and fairness, and the promotion of bi-partisan effort, set exactly the right tone.”

Editor’s note:  GMW policy for the 2017 Elections states that fundraisers for municipal races will not be covered. However, because Himes is a national official representing Wilton, we included information about his visit to Wilton, a newsworthy event. The DTC BBQ is an annual event that we cover every year.


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