The Senate race in Connecticut promises to be one of the most exciting in the nation next year. We shall begin our analyses of next year’s election by examining the issues that both candidates plan to emphasize, and their positions on those issues.
Rob Simmons – Simmons, the likely Republican candidate, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a private, earned a Bronze Star in Vietnam. He then served in the Army Reserves until 2003 in Military Intelligence when he retired as a Colonel. Following his active duty in the military, Simmons worked for the CIA as an operations officer for about 10 years. He then worked as a Legislative Assistant to Senator John Chafee (R – RI), following which he was appointed as an aide to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, eventually rising to the position of Staff Director on that committee. He began seeking electoral office in 1991, being elected to the Connecticut General Assembly. In 1996, he defeated the Democratic incumbent for the US House and served three terms. He then served two years as the Business Advocate for Connecticut’s state government.
The policy positions that Simmons emphasizes are:
Jobs and the Economy – Simmons wants to cut taxes and reduce regulations that affect small businesses since he feels they are the source of economic growth.
Taxes and Spending – Simmons opposes any increase in taxes, the stimulus plan, and supports pro-growth policies.
Health Care – Simmons is in favor of increasing consumer access to health care without increasing the government bureaucracy. He proposes to accomplish this by reforms that would increase consumer options and reducing frivolous lawsuits against doctors.
Ethics – He believes that people should not use public office for their own private benefit.
Christopher Dodd – Dodd, the Democratic incumbent, served in the Peace Corps from 1966-68. He went to law school, then practiced law from 1972-74. He was then elected to the US House, where he served three terms. He was elected to the Senate in 1980 and has served in that office since then. He is currently Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, as well as serving on the Foreign Relations Committee and the Health, Education and Labor Committee.
Issues: The policy positions that Dodd emphasizes are:
Health Care – Dodd believes that health care should be a right, not a privilege, for all Americans. He says he is committed to changing the way health care is paid for and delivered in the country.
Jobs – Dodd says he will work ‘hand in hand with President Obama’ to fix the problems with the economy.
Energy – Dodd wants to emphasize and develop an energy policy based upon renewable and alternative energy sources.
Foreign Policy – Dodd asserts that he wants to emphasize a foreign policy that maintains our moral authority and a foreign policy that seeks solving problems based upon a diplomatic approach.
Dodd has two other problems that are only obliquely alluded to by either candidate. First, while serving as Ranking Member and as Chair of the Banking Committee, he received a below-market interest rate on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial, the lending institution that was at the heart of the subprime mess. He was then seen as assisting Countrywide by sponsoring a bill entitled Dodd-Shelby, which bailed out a number of mortgages provided by the company. Second, Dodd ran for President for a short time last year. In an effort to improve his chances, he moved his family to Iowa for many months. This didn’t help him in Iowa, but it upset many of his erstwhile constituents in Connecticut.