By Kathryn Boughton, Staff Reporter
GOSHEN — After 17 years in the Connecticut General Assembly, state Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, is looking for a larger forum. He is among five Republicans running for the 5th U.S. Congressional District seat being vacated by three-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, who is himself a candidate to replace independent U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
Roraback. who comes from a long line of country lawyers, and calls himself a “New England Republican” — he agrees with the GOP in Congress about the need for fiscal austerity, but breaks with them on several other issues, including social issues such as same-sex marriage. He was the only or one of a few members of the GOP in the assembly to vote for repealing the death penalty and in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.
Roraback believes his breed of Republican is desperately needed in Washington these days. He describes a New England Republican as “civil and thoughtful” and “tolerant and moderate on social issues, but with a healthy skepticism about the ability of government to be all things to all people all of the time.”
“A New England Republican respects that every tax dollar spent is born out of the sweat on someone’s brow,” he said, “and should be raised and spent with that in mind.”
That said, and with his fiscal conservatism reiterated, he decries the divisive quality of government in Washington today, where he says leadership has been conspicuous by its absence.
Roraback said that when President Barack Obama was elected, in 2008, he wanted him to succeed. “It has always been my position that when the election is over, we pull together. We need to find common ground — if we can’t find common ground and break the gridlock, we are failing the vision of our Founding Fathers, who expected Congress to be the cornerstone of our democracy.”
He said he is among the Americans disappointed with Obama’s leadership in office and said the congressional Super Committee’s abdication of its responsibility to devise a plan to reduce the federal deficit is “the best evidence of the failure” of our current politicians to find solutions to pressing problems.
“We are kicking the can down the road, but there is no more road,” he said.
Roraback said the three most important issues facing both Connecticut and the United States in coming months and years are “the economy, the economy and the economy,” and fears the country is “modeling itself after the countries of Europe.”
With an eye to being effective immediately in Washington, he has been boning up on economic issues with the help of trusted advisers. “As an elected official, I have always believed that you can’t have all the answers, but you have to know where to look. I am blessed to have people who help me identify the best solutions for the people of the 5th District.