NEW BRITAIN - Weeks removed from narrowly receiving the state Democratic Partyâ€™s endorsement, 5th Congressional District hopeful Mary Glassman is touring the district to spread her message and hear from voters.
Glassman won the endorsement in mid-May at the partyâ€™s convention in Waterbury, beating 2016 national Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes and New Britain Alderman-at-Large Emmanuel Sanchez.
Since then, the New Britain native has been on a listening tour to learn what residents want from their Washington representatives and what issues are pressing them.
Glassman said residents in the 5th Congressional District are concerned about health care and the countryâ€™s foreign policy.
â€śA couple of things that weâ€™ve heard - access to health care is really important in this district; the rising cost of deductibles and the difficulty of paying for prescriptions has led some people to not take their medication or reduce when they take their medication. So people are really struggling throughout the district,â€ť Glassman said.
On foreign policy, Glassman said residents expressed concerns about how the country conducts itself on an international level.
â€śThe United States is not the negotiator and the leader in the eyes of the world that it once was,â€ť Glassman said.
Those two things will be focuses of Glassman if sheâ€™s elected, she said, in addition to other issues like school safety, protecting seniors and veterans, growing business and environmental protection.
â€śEveryday thereâ€™s threats to our democracy in many of these areas that we need to stand up and fight for,â€ť Glassman said.
As have other political pundits, Glassman called this a â€śhigh stakesâ€ť race. The candidate, who said her campaign is nearing $200,000 in fundraising, emphasized the need to put the right person in office, a reason she was one of the first people to enter the districtâ€™s race.
â€śThis is an emergency election. I donâ€™t think we can wait to start making changes in Washington,â€ť Glassman said.
Glassman grew up in New Britain, worked her way through law school before moving to Simsbury. The Democrat was eventually elected first selectman of Simsbury - a normally Republican-led town - a post she held for 16 years.
Glassman credits her upbringing in an urban family living off veterans and social security benefits as important life experiences that helped shape her. Her father died when she was 4 and her mother instilled a commitment to education in Glassman at an early age.
She said growing up in New Britain she realized the importance of transparent government committed to helping residents.
â€śThat taught me how itâ€™s important to have hope, but also to be tough and stand up for what you believe is right and important, and thatâ€™s what I think I can do for the district,â€ť Glassman said.
New Britainâ€™s Democrats have supported Glassman thus far. After two ballots and a few vote switches, New Britain delegates mostly voted for Glassman. Since then, New Britainâ€™s General Assembly delegation of state Sen. Terry Gerratana, state Rep. Bobby Sanchez, state Rep. Rick Lopes and state Rep. Peter Tercyak has endorsed Glassman.
Glassman isnâ€™t going right to the November ballot, though. Hayes intends to challenge Glassman in the partyâ€™s primary election Aug. 14 after coming up short by just a few votes.
Further, Farmington resident Shannon Kula recently entered the race and is attempting to petition her way onto the primary ballot.
Glassman said she was honored to receive the partyâ€™s nomination, and said her experience in winning elections and working as an elected official make her the best candidate to represent the district.
â€śIâ€™m a real consensus builder, and I feel like what Washington needs right is people who can go to Washington with experience getting things done, and a record of getting things done, and not worry about whether itâ€™s a Democrat or a Republican but how it affects peopleâ€™s everyday lives,â€ť Glassman said. â€śItâ€™s really important to send an experienced person to Washington to fight for the people of the 5th District.â€ť
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.