NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The 3rd Congressional District is anchored by New Haven and its suburbs stretching along the shoreline from Stratford and Milford to Guilford, north to Middletown and a large chunk of the Naugatuck Valley.
After 13 terms in Congress, Rosa DeLauro has become one of the most influential Democrats in Washington. The senior member of Connecticut’s delegation, she is a close friend and confidant of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Early last year, she split with President Obama to side with unions in opposing the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’ trade agreement. Described as an ‘outspoken liberal,’ she represents one of the most liberal Democratic Districts in the country.
She is being challenged by Republican Angel Cadena, a 35-year-old Marine Corp. veteran who majored in political science at Southern Connecticut State University. He drives a truck all night, gets a few hours sleep and campaigns as long as he can during the day.
While New Haven and the core suburbs are reliably Democrat, Cadena is hoping the working class areas of the Naugatuck Valley can make him competitive. He enthusiastically supports Donald Trump and joins him in opposing the $15 minimum wage.
“Small businesses can’t afford to have that type of minimum. It will increase their overhead. They’ll have to cut hours. They’ll have to fire people,” said Cadena.
DeLauro says that argument is used every time there is an effort to boost the minimum wage and that bleak forecast never comes true.
“The minimum wage has not kept up with inflation and so that people are working harder, being more productive, and they are really not getting a living, a living wage,” said DeLauro.
Cadena also enthusiastically supports Donald Trump‘s immigration stance and building the wall.
“They’re coming here for our safety net. Financially they’re turning it into a hammock and it’s getting passed down from generation to generation,” he says.
DeLauro supports immigration reform, but says the Republican House leadership has refused to take up compromise plans passed by the U.S. Senate.
“We want to make sure that we have a pathway to citizenship and that we are keeping those who have committed crime and who are felons, out,” she says.
Cadena has some creative ideas about Social Security. He says he does favor raising the salary cap so higher income earners pay more into the system, but also suggests a way for some people to retire earlier.
“Have people give them the incentive to invest more into it, personally, and lower the retirement age for them instead of having them chase it the rest of their lives” said Cadena.
DeLauro rejects that idea and only favors higher contributions for higher income earners as a way to bail out Social Security.
“My response to the Social Security issue is to raise the cap. That, I think, is the solution to our problem,” added DeLauro.