© 2022 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Democratic Lawmakers Encouraged By Town Hall Turnout

Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro
Susan Walsh

Two members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation say they are encouraged by the turnout at their town halls. The Democrats say it shows their constituents are engaged with what’s going on in Washington.

Earlier this week more than 200 people showed up for U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro’s town hall at Hamden Middle School. At times it sounded like a pep rally, with DeLauro exhorting the mostly anti-Trump audience to keep up their resistance.

“Pick up the phone, empower your friend. Gather 25 people in your living room, talk to them about what is going on. Are they interested? Are they willing to go visit their member of Congress to talk about these issues? You empower somebody else. And they get back to you with what they’ve done. This begins to create a national infrastructure of folks who are on their feet and speaking out. You cannot get tired.”

The veteran New Haven congresswoman says she’s as energized by the town hall as she was by her very first one in 1991, when as a freshman she opposed the first Gulf War.

“About six days after I was in office, the U.S. went to war in Iraq. I voted against that so we held a town hall. We had an overflowing crowd and it was a wonderful opportunity to listen to people.”

U.S. Representative Jim Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th Congressional district. He’s also been listening to his constituents, who include some of the state’s wealthiest families. Himes says some would like him to work with Trump on infrastructure development.

“That’s something that’s essential for all of us in this district. Tax reform is another one. I was just up at Priceline as I do when I’m here visiting during the week. The number one issue they raised is the fact that they have an awful lot of cash stuck abroad in Europe that they’d love to be able to bring back and invest.”

Himes says he supports a proposal that would lower federal taxes on repatriated money and commit the government to use the revenue for infrastructure.

“Considering when we talk about infrastructure we are talking about trillions with a "T." You know you’ve got to get creative about where that money is going to come from.”

Himes says he hasn’t found much support from his constituents for Trump’s renewed travel ban or the GOP’s health care plan.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.