WALLINGFORD — Diners enjoying a cup of coffee or breakfast at Colony Road Diner & Restaurant Wednesday morning were also treated to a surprise visit by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. The stop was part of DeLauro’s listening tour, where she speaks to constituents about issues and answered questions on a variety of topics including Medicare and the state of the economy.
Dressed in her trademark colorful clothes and accessories, DeLauro walked around the restaurant, from table to table, and started a conversation. Diners patrons were excited and seemed to appreciate the visit by DeLauro, a Democrat whose 3rd Congressional District includes Wallingford.
“I’m here to see what’s on your mind,” DeLauro said, “to get a good sense of what’s going on.”
Gene Murray, a town resident, was sitting with a group of his friends when DeLauro approached his table. Murray asked the congresswoman questions about healthcare and the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s nice to get her opinion on things,” Murray said after the conversation. “Generally, you don’t get to talk to the people who are representing you.”
DeLauro is co-chair of the Steering and Policy Committee, and the ranking member on the Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, where she oversees investments in education, health, and employment. She also serves on the subcommittee responsible for FDA and agriculture, where she oversees drug and food safety.
Kline Loomis, another Wallingford resident, told DeLauro he didn’t have any questions, but did have concerns about some state projects involving the town, such as the construction of a train station at the corner of Parker and North Colony streets.
“We’re spending all this money on the high speed train,” Loomis said. “I don’t care for that.”
DeLauro told Loomis that “transportation is critical to a growing economy.”
“I take the train whenever I go down to Washington,” she told Loomis. “... The train will take cars off the road. Is it expensive? Yes, but we built rails across the country.”
After talking to DeLauro about his concerns, Loomis said he liked that the congresswoman spent some time visiting constituents.
“She’s always in the public eye. Wherever the controversy is, she’s there, which is good,” he said. “She’s only one or two politicians that are recognized.”
“It was great for her to visit,” said Joyce Loomis, Kline Loomis’ wife. “She’s doing a great job.”
Other diners expressed concerns about the state of the economy. Chris Farkash, a Wallingford resident, said she worries about friends who are out of work. Jodi Walton, a Meriden resident, added that she began noticing a number of foreclosed houses on her street.
DeLauro said she understood Farkash and Walton’s concerns, acknowledging that the inability for “hard working families” to find jobs is a “serious issue.” She encouraged their friends to call her offices for help.
As concerned as she was, Walton said it was “very nice” to meet DeLauro in person and seeing her “out and about with everybody.”