On walking tour candidate Brown sees diversity of District 3

The Republican candidate for the District 3 seat in the U.S. Congress, running against 12-term incumbent Democrat Rosa DeLauro, met with The Star in North Branford on Friday Aug. 15 after two weeks of the tour that was for the dual purpose of learning about district and getting out the word about his candidacy.

What struck him most about the 25-town region is the diversity, he said. From the rural towns like Bethany to the urban cities like Waterbury, from the millionaire homes on the Guilford coast to the homelessness in New Haven …. Connecticut’s District 3 has the extremes “and everything in between,” said Brown.

The number one issue on the candidate’s mind as he speaks with people during his campaign, Brown said, is the “divisiveness in the nation — Democrats, Republicans; rich, poor.”

“People are sick of blame and name-calling. It doesn’t get us anywhere,” he said.

“Many, many people say ‘thrown them all out’ (of Congress). They are tired of the whole political system,” Brown reports from the road.

“Whose fault it is doesn’t matter,” he said. “Solutions start with talking, and this tour is about talking.”

The hike

Brown’s walking tour, or “the hike,” as he called it, began Aug. 2 in Stratford, where he lives and coaches track for Bunnell High School. It is scheduled to end there Sat. Aug. 16. He, along with a volunteer, walk about 12 miles per day, creating a continuous route through each of the district’s towns.

On Aug. 15 the accompanying volunteer was Ian LeComer, a Bunnell alumnus who now attends Central Connecticut State University.

Each night Brown has gone to his home, and then re-started the next morning from where he ended the day before. He said he was “very sore first few days, and got blisters, but the blisters turned to calluses” and the muscles aches got better.

Being on foot made it hard for him to have tightly scheduled meetings with local elected officials and other candidates, as he had originally hoped, so, instead, Brown said made the most of spontaneous opportunities to meet and speak with people.

He said found it remarkable when people stopped their travels to say hello and that they had heard about his campaign walk.

National issues are local

Divisiveness and diversity came to mind during the tour also when he met some people who have been helped by the Affordable Care Act and others who have been hurt by it, for example. Or when, Brown said, some people said they want to receive more from the government, while others say the government should spend less on benefits.

The divisiveness surrounding the current debate on the country’s immigration policies became clear to Brown, he said, when he heard a New Haven official offering to take in illegals and house and feed them, while there is a already large number of homeless people there.

“It doesn’t make sense to me,” Brown said.