Opinion: Voters deserve more Arora, Himes debates

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Harry Arora is a candidate for Congress in Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District. After five terms and ten years in office, however, Arora’s incumbent opponent Jim Himes seems to believe his seat in the “People’s House” is a divine right befitting a king rather than a member of the U.S. Congress.

Throughout the summer, the Arora campaign pressed Himes to schedule a series of debates. The response from the Himes campaign was a steady flow of cynicism and nonsense typical of incumbents in Congress: dodges here, vague promises there, and a sidestep here, all resulting in no debates on the calendar heading into Labor Day.

During a NAACP-sponsored candidate event late in Norwalk the week before Labor Day, I asked Arora why he thought Himes had not agreed to any debates. A member of Himes’ campaign team leaped out of her seat to announce that Himes was committed to three debates.

More than three weeks later, let’s take that announcement apart in steps.

First, just two debates now appear to be scheduled—on October 21st (League of Women Voters) and 29th (World Affairs Forum). (As of last weekend, Himes’s campaign had not bothered to confirm even those two dates with Arora, but the Arora campaign has been told by organizers to mark these dates down.)

Two is better than zero, but why hasn’t Himes bothered even to schedule the third debate his campaign promised at the NAACP forum? And why won’t Himes call the Arora campaign back?

Second, why does Himes now profess that having just two (or three) debates—in the last two weeks before Election Day—is somehow fair to the voters in this District?

Himes knows it is anything but fair to the voters. In 2008, Himes himself famously demanded ten debates from then-incumbent Chris Shays. Himes ultimately got seven, according to the New York Times. This was the right result, as Himes no doubt said at the time.

Throughout this summer, Arora publicly demanded the same thing Himes demanded in 2008: ten debates. Arora has also offered to accommodate Himes’ preferences with respect to forum, format and scheduling.

Presumably, Arora would settle for seven debates, as Himes did. So again, why hasn’t Himes responded? Why doesn’t he want to debate Arora?

Third, even setting aside Himes’ hypocrisy and the unmistakable whiff of entitlement among incumbent members of Congress, Himes’ refusal to dodge voters’ scrutiny is troubling.

Our Congressional District is comprised of approximately 40% non-affiliated voters. In total, there are a half million voters.

Regardless of party affiliation, voters want to hear Jim Himes and Harry Arora debate the incumbent’s voting record since 2009. We also want Himes to debate Arora about what’s happened here during Himes’s five terms in office, mostly at the hands of a one-party, all-Democrat Connecticut delegation in Washington, and Democratic control in Hartford.

Voters do hear a lot from Himes and other Democrats about President Trump, but we also want to hear Himes debate Arora about an economic death spiral that has largely coincided with Himes’s five terms in office. And we want to hear Arora and Himes discuss jobs in the District: what happened to them and why, and how to get them back.

Let’s also remember: our District comprises some or all of seventeen towns: big and small cites, big and small towns, commuter towns, commercial districts, rural areas, and college towns.

Simply put, this Congressional District is big and exceptionally diverse, and unfortunately it has serious problems. Himes now wants to abolish the Electoral College, so as an incumbent he may now take issue with this, but it is for good reason that elections are held every two years in the U.S. House of Representatives, “The People’s House.”

Harry Arora is not asking Himes for very much. Arora just wants the fair fight and open debate that Himes, now enjoying all the spoils of incumbency, has been sidestepping for months.

Mr. Himes, it is time to meet the voters and let them have the campaign we deserve.


Bill Lalor
Bill Lalor is an attorney in Wilton and Chair of the Wilton Republican Town Committee.


Sue Haynie September 23, 2018 at 6:13 am

Himes doesn’t want to debate facts. Arora’s a serious competitor and debater with valid arguments. Himes figures he’ll do better in this part of Connecticut if he just hides.

Missy Conrad September 23, 2018 at 7:10 am

It seems from the name “by Bob Welsh” at the top of this letter that he wrote this opinion. But, at the end is “Bill Lalor” and a short bio. Is there a way to clear this up? Thanks.

Wineshine September 23, 2018 at 7:38 am

The Himes campaign does as most Connecticut Democrats do. They want to draw as little attention to an election as possible because most Connecticut voters just pull the “D” levers without thinking. Why confuse them!!?? When Henry wanted to take the stage with Himes at the last debate, Hime’s handler, Lauren Gray, had a fit (fact) and wouldn’t allow it. After comments were mad on her Facebook page, she shut down comments (fact). No folks, they don’t want interaction with the voters. Just pull the “D” lever like good lemmings.

Piberman September 23, 2018 at 10:28 am

CT is a Democratic State lock stock and barrel. And widely viewed as the naiton’s most mismanaged. Why not reward “success’.

Lets remember Cong. Himes did serve Norwalk. Offering to the have the USCG change the status of the north City river to “unnavigable” and thereby save the City from the billion dollar Boondoggle Bridge so admired by City Hall. That Cong. Himes offer was ignored by City Hall just demonstrates that their are Democrats and other democrats. He made a similar offer to Bridgeport that ultimately saved that City hundreds of millions in not having to erect a new bridge.

As for Democrats “serving CT” its an old story. Our challenge is not Dems vs GOP in CT. But finding better Democrats in our perpetually Democrat State. Lest the Gerat CT Exodus continue to expand.

Ken September 23, 2018 at 12:17 pm

We must not vote for any Republican come November. We must get a Democratic majority, to control an out of control insane president.

Rick September 23, 2018 at 1:23 pm

Adam Forest from The Independent reported today

The Trump camp “has proposed a new rule denying visas and green cards to legal immigrants who are likely to claim government benefits such as food stamps or housing vouchers.

(DHS) announced on Saturday the planned change would allow officials to disqualify immigrants’ applications based on receipt of federal assistance such as food stamps, Section 8 housing vouchers or Medicare and Medicaid drug subsidies.

Such benefits would be considered “a heavily weighed negative factor” in granting green cards for permanent residency or in issuing visas for temporary stays.”

Jim and and Harry your thoughts?

Your use to hearing a lot of opposition to thoughts like this, In Norwalk a lot of vouchers go to those from other cities who now live in Norwalk.Voucher base as we hear stay in Hosting cities like Danbury who have many in Norwalk.

The recent held lottery Norwalk Housing for new units included out of town vouchers preventing some old time Norwalkers new housing they were promised.

Seems the system hasn’t protected Norwalkers .

You cant have it both ways, Old time Moms and dads loved adages this must be one.

Jim hides behind the party he has for years. We asked for help him and Murphy on the Federal Half Way house and even sober houses on Quintard ave , not even a phone call not even a response from them.They ignored us even those who worked for them were disgusted.

Charles Schumer fought the same Firetree Half way house in Albany and won came to the defense of his own party and the red team.

Jim didn’t even step up to the plate for his own party.

Harry ‘Jim and Chris gave your party votes please use them wisely.

Joe September 23, 2018 at 7:31 pm

For the last two years, Congressman Himes has been national media point man for the so called Trump-Russia collusion scandal.

Now we’re finding out that President Trump has been getting framed by a political COUP involving our intelligence and justice dept. officers.

As a senior member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Congressman Himes may have a lot of explaining to do. What did he know and when did he know it?

Ron Morris September 23, 2018 at 8:39 pm

The idea that Trump is getting framed by a political COUP involving our intelligence and justice dept. officers is lies put out by the Trump fake news hacks.

Ron Morris September 24, 2018 at 7:01 pm

I hope you realize that the YouTube link is to some nothing right wing blogger from the UK that doesn’t even seem to be a US citizen. You should really check your sources before you try to pawn them off as facts. What is it with the right wingers and their fake news?

Scarlet ohara September 24, 2018 at 9:03 pm

Oh god ron…give it up. The economy is strong due to trump.
The only fake news comes from the violent cry babies called the liberal left

Ron Morris September 25, 2018 at 2:35 am

Actually Scarlet the economy is strong due to the policies put into place by Obama. I would think that most educated people would realize that it takes months if not years to reap the benefits of good economic polices .
Thank You President Obama

Scarlet ohara September 25, 2018 at 4:59 am

oh please flubama was in office for 8 years and the economy was never ever this strong.
I guess you also believe Bengazi was a conspiracy, too.
Keep trying

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