Dan Debicella of Shelton, the Republican candidate for Congress in the Fourth District, met with residents at the Fairfield Senior Center as part of a district-wide listening tour.

Many seniors talked about the difficulty of trying to live on fixed incomes, especially when using Social Security and retirement savings as their only sources of revenue.

The residents cited concerns around the federal healthcare law and the changes to Medicare.

“We made promises to our seniors that we must keep,” said Debicella, noting there are hard-working seniors who did everything right and now may have to give up the homes they raised their children in.

Rising college costs

Debicella, a former state senator, also recently met with college students and recent college graduates about the affordability of higher education.

The students expressed concern about finding the money to pay for college and finding jobs afterwards that would allow them to repay their loans.

The skyrocketing costs of higher education have become an increasing problem for many younger Americans, with the average amount of debt a student incurs out of college standing at nearly $30,000.

Debicella said current policies in Washington are failing many of these young people.

“We need market-based reforms in the student loan market to lower outrageous interest rates that hover around 7% to 8%, and consider new innovative ideas like loan forgiveness for national service,” he said.

Challenging Jim Himes for second time

Debicella is challenging three-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes. In 2010, Himes defeated Debicella.

The Fourth Congressional District covers most of Fairfield County, including a large part of Shelton.