‘Tree-hugging Republican’ to challenge Himes
State Rep. John Shaban (R-135), has announced plans to run for U.S. Congress in Connecticut’s 4th District. Shaban currently represents Weston, Redding and Easton. He would speculatively be running against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, an incumbent Democrat. The 4th District includes Monroe and most of Fairfield County.
Speaking with The Redding Pilot, the Courier’s sister publication, Shaban said his run for Congress is a continuation of his longstanding involvement in his community.
“It’s really the same reason why I keep doing all of these things. I keep raising my hand to get involved in more things because I think I can help,” he said.
In short, he said his political views are summed up by the idea that government should be as “limited and local as possible.”
“It’s maddening as a state representative to see all the resources we have in Fairfield County, and to find ourselves constantly coming up short because we have state and federal governments that take all they want from us. They don’t allow us the resources to do what we want locally, and we end up coming up on the short end,” he said.
Shaban jokingly refers to himself as a “tree-hugging Republican,” as he has a degree in environmental law, and says he doesn’t always fit the Republican stereotype.
“My interest in environmental issues got me into politics. [Since then, I’ve been] passing sound public policy that gets the job done. Policy that’s not just a press release.
“I’m probably a little more focused on environmental issues than others, but I’m a common sense Republican. It’s John Shaban running. I don’t care what label you want to put after that, because it’s me,” he said.
Specifically, he continued to say that he is not a “Texas or Nevada Republican.”
“I want to differentiate myself as a New England Republican, compared to what you might see in other parts of the country. That’s always a challenge, but I’m up for it.”
He also seeks to differentiate himself from his presumptive opponent, Himes.
“He’s failed in two fronts,” Shaban said.
First, “he has not been a strong enough advocate for the return on our dollar.”
Second, Shaban said Himes has not been a “strong enough advocate for keeping the dollar here… [he believes] in big centralized government … . I just think that’s the wrong way to solve things on a national basis.”
Shaban said he sees raising money and increasing his public profile as two possible areas of difficulty for this campaign.
“The biggest challenge is two-fold: Getting the word out, and raising the money to get the word out. That’s always the biggest challenge.
“The mechanics of running a bigger race are bigger. I have to have a bigger platform, I have to get on TV, the radio, social media, et cetera.”
His views on a number of focus “issues” are listed on Shaban’s congressional candidate site, including:
“Small reforms now will become large reforms down the road. Social Security can and must be made solvent by, quite simply, extending the eligibility age for younger generations.”
“A one-size-fits-all federal program will not work because the United States has a diverse a population, all with differing local economics, and all with differing local needs. Interstate competition, clarity and tort reform will drive down healthcare costs and promote access, not another massive federal program.”
“I supported the 2013 Mental Health, School Security and Gun Control bill passed in Connecticut because, in the end and on balance, I believed it was the right thing to do. As a father, gun owner and resident of northern Fairfield County, these issues and the tragedy that prompted the discussion weigh on me as they do all citizens.”
“I do not believe in government interference with a person’s personal preferences or choices. More importantly, the people in the 50 states can determine how they want their marriage and/or privacy laws to operate.”
“We are a nation of immigrants, and we should celebrate this proud and enduring history. Congress is starting to move in the right direction on immigration reform, but is moving too slowly. We must stay away from blanket amnesty because giving a ‘free pass’ to undocumented and/or illegal aliens is unfair to those folks who are going and have gone through the immigration process. Instead, I support a ‘step up and stand out’ approach.”