He’s not on the ballot, but unaffiliated write-in candidate Brian K. Hill is running to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd.
In an interview Monday morning, Hill said it was the wasteful government spending he saw as a federal contract attorney in the U.S. Army that made him leave active duty and begin campaigning for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seat.
Hill, a Windsor resident and 12 year veteran of the Army, Navy, and Connecticut National Guard, left military service in June after years of reviewing defense contracts negotiated under federal policies he said actually promote wasteful spending.
For instance, Hill said that policies encourage government agencies to spend the remainder of their annual budgets by the end of each fiscal year or risk less funding the following year.
He also said “pork-barrel” legislation sometimes forces military agencies to spend money in a certain area on things they don’t need.
“Right now there are no incentives for government employees to save money,” he said.
As a contract attorney, Hill said he would ask commands to go back and get better quotes for projects, sometimes saving as much as 30 percent.
Now Hill is hoping to bring the same sort of common sense to the U.S. Senate but it’s likely to be an uphill battle.
Hill describes himself as a fiscally conservative moderate who believes that social safety nets like unemployment are necessary.
But he was unable to collect enough signatures to have his name placed on the Nov. 2 ballot and is hoping to generate exposure by investing in TV and radio commercials and enlisting the help of volunteers to remind voters to write-in his name.
So far, he said he has hundreds of volunteers from all corners of the state but still needs more people before November and said people can sign up to help by visiting his website.
Since leaving the service, Hill said he’s devoted all his time to campaigning and relies on small donations from supporters to make ends meet. But he said his campaign’s small budget and grass-roots organization are important in differentiating him from the race’s two front-runners, Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Linda McMahon.
“I’m not indebted to any special interest groups,” Hill said during a short interview Monday. Hill said that he is in tune with working and middle class issues, something he said his major party opponents are unfamiliar with.
“Many people get into politics only to protect their own interests,” he said, adding that Blumenthal’s family is worth around $124 million and McMahon is a near-billionaire.
“How can a billionaire understand working-class issues?” he asked.
Of his two independent opponents, John Mertens and Warren Mosler, Hill said he thought of them all as being in the same boat, as the mainstream media has marginalized all three candidates.
Hill said that most of the people he meets on the campaign trail don’t know that there are options besides McMahon and Blumenthal, something he calls “a real travesty.”
“The people of Connecticut have been hoodwinked by the media into believing they have to vote for a Republican or a Democrat,” he said, calling both parties dysfunctional. Hill also dismissed the idea that he was running to siphon votes away from either party as “preposterous.”
“It’s silly that in 2010 people are still voting for the lesser of two evils,” he said, adding that things will never change if voters continue to elect the same kind of politician year after year.
“We need to say no to the status quo,” he said. “We need fresh blood, new ideas, and independent thinkers in Congress.”