July 22, 2014 08:18AM
By Mary Ellen Godin
Republican James E. Brown said he draws upon his coaching experience in running a campaign to unseat a 23-year well-financed incumbent, whose victory margins rarely drop below 70 percent.
Brown, a retired math teacher and Stratford resident, also coaches track at Bunnell High School. Now he’s running to represent the Third Congressional District in a race against Democrat Rosa DeLauro of New Haven.
“I want to do what’s right,” Brown said in a telephone interview. As a track coach, “my focus is not on outcomes but improving the athletes, you work on the fundamentals and you win.”
The district covers Wallingford, North Haven, Middlefield and part of Durham, among other cities and towns.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Brown has raised $6,026 to DeLauro’s $1,024,207. A campaign worker said the FEC has yet to release 2nd quarter totals, and as of the end of June the campaign has raised over $15,000.
Brown says the current national debt cannot be sustained and neither can his opponent’s spending policies. Voters in the Third District, he said, are frustrated that the country and the state haven’t bounced back from the recession. He thinks DeLauro is vulnerable on the economy.
“Job growth, education, public schools, things aren’t going too well,” Brown said. “And many people are ready for a change.”
He wants to replace the Affordable Care Act with free market solutions, by removing barriers that impede companies from selling health insurance across state lines.
Brown doesn’t like labels but describes himself as a Constitutional conservative. He believes some of the problems facing the country would better be resolved through amendments rather than legislatively or through the Supreme Court. He supports an amendment imposing term limits to allow more turnover in Congress.
“Congress has a 15 percent approval rating,” Brown said. “If it’s so low we are obviously not voting for the right candidates.”
Brown supports education decisions made at the local not federal level. He opposes federal education funding that is tied to mandates and supports abolishing the Department of Education.
He also believes the U.S. must enforce its immigration laws in the wake of the crisis involving an influx of children from Central America entering the country illegally.
Brown has lived and taught along the Texas-Mexico border and “has empathy for anybody who wants to build a better life for themselves in the U.S.” he wrote in a recent press statement.
Brown has no primary opponents. He received moral support from Connecticut party leaders, who campaigned with him recently in Wallingford.
“I have known James Brown over the last few years,” said Wallingford attorney Jerry Farrell Jr., who sits on the Republican State Central Committee. “He is a level-headed guy who can bring a new set of eyes to what is going on in Washington.”
Brown said he recognized that he’s unlikely to get any national support because it’s an uphill race.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he said about fundraising.
One advantage he does have is time to meet with voters and offer a message of change, he said.
Brown also criticized DeLauro for speaking out against a U.S. Supreme Court decision that sided with an employer seeking to restrict certain types of birth control in its insurance coverage on religious grounds.
DeLauro spokesman Jimmy Tickey didn’t address the criticism directly, but said DeLauro is in constant contact with her constituents, talking with them and listening to their concerns.
“She looks forward to continuing that conversation and addressing the issues they care about — increasing their wages, equal pay for equal work, providing educational opportunities and ensuring access to quality, affordable health care, among other issues,” Tickey said in an e-mail.