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A GUIDE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES: CONNECTICUT

13 minute read
TIME

CONNECTICUT

Population (1994): 3,275,000 (down 0.4% from 1990), 1.3% of U.S. total

Voting-age population: 2,486,000; 1994 turnout, 46%

Median age: 34.4 years

Median household income: $41,097 ($8,833 above U.S. median)

Unemployment: 5.1% (0.5% below U.S. average, March 1996)

Last presidential election: Clinton (D): 42% Bush (R): 36% Perot (I): 22%

Congressional delegation: Five Democrats, three Republicans

Nicknamed the “land of steady habits,” Connecticut lives up to its billing: all eight of its congressional delegates won their last re-election campaign. The wealthiest state (per capita) in the U.S., its economy relies on defense: nuclear submarines, airplane engines and helicopters are produced here. The Constitution State has become increasingly Democratic since the ’30s and in 1990 elected a third-party Governor, Lowell Weicker, founder of A Connecticut Party. This election should maintain the trend toward consistency: the incumbents are all running safe races except Democrat Sam Gejdenson of the Second District, who was re-elected by only 21 votes in 1994.

BARBARA KENNELLY (D) District 1 (Central–Hartford)

BORN: July 10, 1936, Hartford EDUCATION: Trinity College (Washington), B.A., 1958; Trinity College (Hartford), M.A., 1973 FAMILY: Widowed; four children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Public official POLITICAL CAREER: Hartford Court of Common Council, 1975-79; Connecticut Secretary of State, 1979-82; U.S. House, 1982- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 3719, Central Station, Hartford 06103. Tel.: 860-278-3616

Kennelly isn’t losing much sleep over her bid for an eighth term: since taking office in 1982, she has won each election with at least 62% of the vote. Her father once chaired the Democratic National Committee, and Kennelly is proud of her political roots. She recently introduced nanny tax reform (raising the threshold at which employers must pay Social Security for domestic workers) and a law penalizing deadbeat parents.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO* Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “There have to be some changes to Medicare if the program is going to remain solvent. It’s one of the reasons I want to go back.”

KENT SLEATH (R) District 1

BORN: Feb. 24, 1935, Waterbury EDUCATION: Trinity College (Hartford), B.A., 1957; U of Hartford, M.S.P.A., 1981 FAMILY: Wife, Jane; six children RELIGION: Protestant MILITARY: Air Force Reserve, 1959-65 OCCUPATION: Tax accountant; systems analyst POLITICAL CAREER: Glastonbury board of education, 1989-92 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 494, Glastonbury 06033. Tel.: 860-633-9564

Most of the 85 Republican delegates had never heard of Sleath before they chose him as the G.O.P. nominee for the First District race–but Sleath was the only one who wanted to run. A retired tax accountant, he’s vocal about cutting government spending and returning money to workers, and says problems should be addressed at a local level rather than turning to big government. Sleath has an uphill battle against Barbara Kennelly, who won in 1994 with 73% of the vote.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NR Abortion NR Guns YES Gays NR Bosnia NO NAFTA NR Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I have a deep concern over the survival of this system of democracy as tax is piled on tax and we plunge deeper into debt.”

SAM GEJDENSON (D) District 2 (East–New London)

BORN: May 20, 1948, Eschwege, Germany EDUCATION: Mitchell College, A.S., 1968; U of Connecticut, B.A., 1970 FAMILY: Wife, Betsy Henley-Cohn; two children RELIGION: Jewish MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Dairy farmer POLITICAL CAREER: Connecticut House, 1975-79; U.S. House, 1980- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1818, Bozrah 06334. Tel.: 860-886-0581

Gejdenson faces a rematch with Edward Munster, who almost won in 1994. He represents a district that has grown from quaint Yankee workshops to high-tech industry: the Electric Boat Co., maker of the Sea Wolf nuclear submarine, provides many of its jobs. Gejdenson is against the recently proposed Medicare reform, saying it cuts spending to pay for G.O.P. tax cuts for the wealthy. He also supports mandatory life sentences for third-time violent felons.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO* Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Newt Gingrich and his special-interest allies aren’t just out of touch. They’re out of step. They’re out of synch. They’re out of bounds.”

EDWARD MUNSTER (R) District 2

BORN: May 2, 1941, New Orleans EDUCATION: U of Southwestern Louisiana, B.S., 1962; U of Kansas, M.A., 1964; U of Connecticut, M.S., 1969 FAMILY: Wife, Judith; three children RELIGION: Congregationalist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Medical researcher; biostatistician; professor POLITICAL CAREER: Connecticut Senate, 1991-93; Republican nominee for U.S. House, 1992, 1994 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 696, Higganum 06441. Tel.: 860-347-0454

Munster lost the 1994 election by an agonizing 21 votes and spent five months appealing–all the way to the state’s highest court–for a new election. He lost. This time he criticizes incumbent Sam Gejdenson for opposing NAFTA, and has spoken out against land annexation by Native Americans in the Second District–home to the mammoth Foxwoods gambling casino.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I favor limits on Federal Government spending until Congress learns to control its wasteful habits. As the deficit grows, our job insecurity grows as well.”

JOHN COPPOLA (R) District 3 (South–New Haven)

BORN: April 11, 1962, New Haven EDUCATION: Southern Connecticut U, 1980-83; Yale U, 1995-96 FAMILY: Divorced; one child RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: Air National Guard, 1982-83 OCCUPATION: Fire fighter; realtor POLITICAL CAREER: Republican nominee for Connecticut Senate, 1992 ADDRESS: 667 Campbell Avenue, West Haven 06516. Tel.: 203-932-8467

On what he dubs an ultra-grass-roots campaign, Coppola vowed to spend no more than $40,000–the district’s median household income. By October he had spent only $4,800, mostly to print 3-in.-by-5-in. campaign cards. Unable to afford TV or radio ads, he has hit the road, handing out his cards, attending any event he’s invited to and getting four hours of sleep a night. He says jobs are the No. 1 issue in the Third and supports the recent welfare reform, but says it needs to include more money for day care, job training and medical benefits.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “In Congress, people spend too much time passing feel-good legislation.”

ROSA DELAURO (D) District 3

BORN: March 2, 1943, New Haven EDUCATION: Marymount College, B.A., 1964; Columbia U, M.A., 1966 FAMILY: Husband, Stanley Greenberg; three stepchildren RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Political activist POLITICAL CAREER: U.S. House, 1990- ADDRESS: 49 Huntington Street, New Haven 06511. Tel.: 203-497-8034

Politics is nothing new to DeLauro: both her parents were New Haven aldermen, and her husband is one of President Clinton’s pollsters. Serving her third term, this liberal looks out for her constituents’ problems, big and small: she helped a small dairy farm rebuild after a fire and pushed for a defense budget that includes $10 million for Sikorsky Aircraft, one of the district’s leading industries. She also promoted a statewide effort that connected 75% of Connecticut’s public and private schools to the Internet.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “The Internet can be a great equalizer that gives an elementary school without an extensive library the ability to tap into the best research libraries in the world.”

BILL FINCH (D) District 4 (Southwest–Stamford; Bridgeport)

BORN: March 4, 1956, New York City EDUCATION: U of Connecticut, B.S., 1978 FAMILY: Divorced; two children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Rehabilitation-center development director; cancer-society development director POLITICAL CAREER: Bridgeport city council, 1991- ADDRESS: 625 Tunxis Hill Cutoff, Fairfield 06430. Tel.: 203-367-9972

Finch has an uphill battle to wage against Christopher Shays. Proposing three new R’s in education–Respect, Responsibility and Results–he supports school-breakfast and school-lunch programs and wants to preserve the Department of Education. Finch is using the Democratic strategy of linking Republicans to House Speaker Newt Gingrich, accusing Shays of abandoning his moderate stance.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Education is meant to be the great equalizer of society–not a tool for politicians to use to separate those who have, from those who are not as fortunate.”

CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R) District 4

BORN: Oct. 18, 1945, Stamford EDUCATION: Principia College, B.A., 1968; New York U, M.B.A., 1974, M.P.A., 1978 FAMILY: Wife, Betsi de Raismes; one child RELIGION: Christian Scientist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Public official POLITICAL CAREER: Connecticut House, 1975-87; U.S. House, 1987- ADDRESS: 132 East Putnam Avenue, Suite B, Cos Cob 06807. Tel.: 203-622-7429

Shays, who is on the Republican left on social issues, has supported President Clinton on many high-profile votes, including the 1994 crime bill. He’s a leader of the new trend toward Republican environmentalism, an attempt to return to the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, and the League of Conservation Voters has given him a 100% rating for five of the past eight years. He coasted to his third term in 1994 with 74% of the vote.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I am so proud of what I’ve done. I am so comfortable with my votes. I believe in what this Congress has done. I am willing to win or lose this election on that.”

GARY FRANKS (R) District 5 (West–Waterbury; Danbury)

BORN: Feb. 9, 1953, Waterbury EDUCATION: Yale U, B.A., 1975 FAMILY: Wife, Donna Williams; one child, one stepchild RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Real estate investor POLITICAL CAREER: Waterbury board of aldermen, 1986-90; U.S. House, 1990- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 2743, Waterbury 06723. Tel.: 203-574-3618

One of only two black Republicans in the House, Franks doesn’t keep a low profile. He has been accused of ignoring local politicians in his district, and his critics tried to oust him from the Congressional Black Caucus in the 103rd Congress. Further proof of his independent streak: he asked the House Speaker to campaign for him at a time when most of his G.O.P. colleagues were trying to distance themselves from Newt Gingrich. Though registered Democrats outnumber Republicans here 3 to 2, Franks has managed to win re-election three times.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion NO Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I see parallels between slavery and generation after generation of welfare-dependent people.”

JAMES MALONEY (D) District 5

BORN: Sept. 17, 1948, Quincy, Mass. EDUCATION: Harvard U, B.A., 1972; Boston U, J.D., 1980 FAMILY: Wife, Mary Draper; three children RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Connecticut Senate, 1987-95; Democratic nominee for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: 1325 East Main Street, Waterbury 06705. Tel.: 203-754-7330

In a rematch that is being watched almost as closely as the Second District race, Maloney will try again to unseat three-term Republican Gary Franks, who beat him in 1994 by only 6%. He has had help from the AFL-CIO, which, in its crusade against anti-labor Republicans, sent an organizer to the Fifth to head a media blitz against the incumbent. In his working-class district, Maloney will concentrate on labor issues: he opposes limiting overtime, and champions quality health insurance and public education.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NR Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “Educational excellence is both an economic imperative and an entitlement for our children.”

NANCY JOHNSON (R) District 6 (Northwest–New Britain)

BORN: Jan. 5, 1935, Chicago EDUCATION: Radcliffe College, B.A., 1957 FAMILY: Husband, Theodore; three children RELIGION: Unitarian MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Civic leader POLITICAL CAREER: Connecticut Senate, 1977-82; U.S. House, 1982- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1986, New Britain 06050. Tel.: 860-225-2107

Johnson entered politics in 1976 via the state legislature. Only six years later she found herself in the U.S. House. The Republican takeover in 1994 let her play a leading role in health care and welfare reform. She’s also worked for expanded access to community health centers. Though she gained recognition for being the first G.O.P. woman on the Ways and Means Committee, more recently Johnson has drawn fire as chair of the Ethics Committee, where she’s investigating Newt Gingrich’s alleged improper use of tax-free funds for a political course.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “When you’re in the majority, you control the agenda and [that]…took more time and was a bigger job than I anticipated.”

CHARLOTTE KOSKOFF (D) District 6

BORN: Jan. 14, 1942, Hartford EDUCATION: Hartford College for Women, A.A., 1962; Barnard College, B.A., 1964; Central Connecticut State U, M.S., 1970; U of Connecticut, Ph.D., 1973, J.D., 1989 FAMILY: Husband, David RELIGION: Jewish MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer; professor POLITICAL CAREER: Democratic nominee for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: P.O. Box 7094, Plainville 06062. Tel.: 860-747-4077

Losing to Republican incumbent Nancy Johnson in 1994 didn’t discourage Koskoff; in fact, she says the defeat taught her what she needs to know to win this time. But that strategy seems to have centered on scrutinizing Johnson’s role in the Ethics Committee’s investigation of Newt Gingrich. In response to accusations that she’s waging a single-issue campaign, Koskoff says she supports increased funding for Head Start and ensuring a community-college education for everyone.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I know all about big, bad government, but there are some things only the government can do and must do to protect its citizens.”

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