MERIDEN — Democratic congressional candidate Mary Glassman of Simsbury spent Tuesday campaigning in Meriden one week before Tuesday’s primary election.
Glassman, who narrowly won the Democratic party endorsement for the 5th Congressional District, visited the city’s new train station, the Meriden Green flood control project and a Center Street company that makes vulcanized rubber products for the aerospace industry.
The former Simsbury first selectman faces Waterbury public school teacher Jahana Hayes in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary. The candidates hope to fill the seat left vacant by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who stepped out the race after mishandling a workplace violence scandal involving her chief of staff.
Hayes campaigned in Meriden last week.
Three Republican candidates are also vying to run for the seat in the November election.
“The transformation of your city with public/private partnerships is a model for all communities,” Glassman said. “It’s going to bring young people back.”
If elected, Glassman will use Meriden’s revitalization as an example to show Congress the benefits of public/private partnerships to ensure similar investments continue, she said.
Glassman and Hayes share similar views on issues such as immigration, the economy, training programs, and the opiod crisis. Hayes has a compelling personal story and campaign energy, while Glassman touts her experience in law, and public service.
Reelection to the office of first selectman in a Republican-leaning town is proof of her electability and ability to work across the aisle, Glassman said. Her experience as president of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and her work as a legal counsel at the state Capitol also set her apart from her primary opponent, she said.
She deflected questions about the direction of the Democratic party and recent progressive wins by non-traditional candidates, saying people are concerned about Social Security and Medicare on all sides of the political aisle.
Glassman said the Trump administration is rolling back progress made in health care, education and the environment and needs to be held accountable. Immigration reform is a priority.
During a tour of Jonal Labs Inc., President Marc Nemeth discussed the company’s expansions and its contracts with clients such as Pratt & Whitney and NASA. Esty was a Jonal supporter who used her role in Congress and her committee assignments to benefit manufacturers in the 5th District, Nemeth said.
Nemeth, who accepted an export award from President Barack Obama two years ago, wants a Congressional representative who will not jump to impeach Trump but act on the needs of everyone in the country by working across the aisle. He added that he was pleased with Glassman as a candidate.
Jonal Labs has not been impacted by the Trump administration tariffs, but Nemeth fears the long term impact.
“I’m concerned that fallout from the trade war can poison the atmosphere,” Nemeth said. “We have a Supreme Court with too much power, an executive branch with too much power, Congress should do its job and operate from the center and not the extreme.”
The 5th Congressional district spans 41 towns and cities from the Farmington Valley to the state’s northwest corner to Danbury and following I-84 east to Meriden. Analysts had moved the seat from solid Democrat to likely Democrat after Esty’s announcement not to seek reelection. However, Cook Report and Inside Elections have moved the race back to solid Democrat.