Rosa DeLauro in Milford Monday in support of local manufacturers for defense contracts

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) was in Milford Monday to unveil legislation re-imposing and expanding sanctions on Russia's state-owned arms dealer, and encouraging government contracts go to local companies.

DeLauro visited Spectrum Associates of Milford around noon Monday to tour the plant and talk to company representatives.

Spectrum gets approximately half of its work from contracts with Sikorsky, including Black Hawk helicopters, DeLauro said in a press release.

Spectrum, which is located on Plains Road, is a developer of aerospace instruments, including breakaway valves, pressure switches, indicators and hydraulic subassemblies, according to the company's website.

However, since 2011 the Department of Defense has awarded more than $1 billion in no-bid contracts to Rosoboronexport to buy dozens of Russian helicopters for the Afghan National Security Forces, DeLauro said.

While in Milford she unveiled the Rosoboronexport Embargo Act of 2014, a bill that would prohibit any federal government funds from going to  Rosoboronexport.

DeLauro has led congressional opposition to the Department of Defense relationship with Rosoboronexport, and called for the contracts to be bid through a competitive process that would allow Sikorsky to compete for the business.

“Connecticut has always been the ‘Arsenal of the Republic’ and its companies should be able to compete on a level playing field,” DeLauro said. “Instead, the DOD has been giving no-bid contracts to a Russian manufacturer that has helped fuel the violent and repressive regime in Syria, and played a role in Ukraine's destabilization.

“The Rosoboronexport Embargo Act of 2014 would expand sanctions so that the government can no longer enter into contracts or agreements with the Russian company,” DeLauro continued. “We should not be filling the coffers of Russian arms dealers in any way, shape or form. Our domestic manufacturers, like Sikorsky and Spectrum Associates, should get the chance to compete for this important work.”

Spectrum Associates President Richard Meisenheimer highlighted the fact that when Sikorsky wins a contract it means more income not just for Sikorsky and its employees, but for companies like Spectrum and the workers there.

DeLauro has led congressional opposition in this area since 2009. That opposition led to the Pentagon canceling a planned future purchase of helicopters from Rosoboronexport. Most recently, the House of Representatives passed an amendment authored by DeLauro that strengthens the ban on DOD contracts with Rosoboronexport. That amendment was part of the Fiscal Year 2015 Defense Appropriations bill.