MILFORD, CT — Milford Alderman Bryan Anderson announced Tuesday that he will challenge U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a fellow Democrat who has held the seat for 26 years.
DeLauro is the dean of Connecticut’s congressional delegation having served since January 1991.
In 2016, DeLauro easily won re-election, garnering more than 213,000 votes — or 69 percent — to her Republican opponent Angel Cadena’s 96,000, or 31 percent of the vote.
No Republican has yet announced a challenge for the seat in 2018.
Anderson, a former New Haven city alderman, also made campaign stops in New Haven and Hamden later on Tuesday.
He said he understands his task won’t be easy.
“I made the decision to run not knowing whether Rosa was going to be a candidate or not,” Anderson, 62, said after his appearance in Milford. “I want to give people an opportunity to hear a different viewpoint.”
There was no specific complaint made against DeLauro.
“If you don’t like the way Congress works then you have to change your representative,” Anderson said.
As to whether DeLauro, 74, will be running for another term in 2018 — her campaign manager put that question quickly to rest.
“I can confirm that the congresswoman is running for re-election,” Jimmy Tickey, DeLauro’s campaign manager, said. “Rosa is totally focused on defeating the dangerous forces at work in Washington D.C.”
Anderson is also a former elected official in the city of New Haven and town of Hamden — both part of the 25 municipalities that encompass the 3rd District.
At his campaign kickoff on the steps of Milford City Hall, Anderson repeated his campaign slogan: “A New Way for a Better Day.”
A group of supporters, including families and friends, cheered on his announcement.
“I run not out of hubris or ego, but with a firm desire to make a difference and a firm commitment to serve,” Anderson said. “These times call for more of us who recognize the challenges to seize the opportunity and be willing to stand for change.
“I am that change agent,” Anderson said to a round of applause from his audience.
Anderson, who is serving his third term as an alderman in Milford, listed three issues that he said he would be championing during the campaign: health care, an end to the war in Afghanistan, and jobs and economic security.
On health care, Anderson said:
“In a country where innocent babies are born with acute medical maladies, where increasing numbers of adults need long-term care, and with profound compassion for family members who can’t afford their prescription drug costs, Americans deserve to have peace of mind in an accessible, stable, and affordable model that covers everyone.”
Anderson said he, if elected, will fight for and be a sponsor of any House version of “Medicare for All” legislation.
On Afghanistan, Anderson said: “Our prolonged involvement has led to mission creep and an interchangeable enemy. We need to cut our losses, negotiate for power-sharing, and set a strategy for the rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops.”
On jobs and economic security, Anderson said the last major project for the Greater New Haven region was the Pearl Harbor (Q Bridge) project “and that was planned 27 years ago.”
“What is the next project for our region?” Anderson asked.
Anderson, who was born in New Haven, has worked on development projects such as Marketplace of Hamden, Aspen Glen and Towne Walk of Hamden Hills, Casa Otonal, Union Station, and the Shubert Theatre.
His resume includes stints as Housing Authority Director in New Haven and economic development director in Hamden.
He also spent time as a congressional aide in Washington for former 4th District U.S. Rep. Stewart McKinney.
Anderson said he knows he faces another obstacle besides name recognition when it comes to taking on the well-known DeLauro.
“I certainly can’t match her dollar for dollar when it comes to raising money,” Anderson said. But he added he has been able to raise money in the past in his other political campaigns and will work hard to do so this time.
While Anderson had only backers at his Milford announcement, not everyone in the city supported his move.
Milford Mayor Benjamin Blake, also a Democrat, panned Anderson’s decision to take on DeLauro.
“There’s no better friend of Milford than Rosa DeLauro. During tragedies and disasters, she’s here with a steady hand and a tireless work ethic bringing comfort and support to those in need. She is one of the more effective members of Congress and we are fortunate to have her representing our City,” Blake said.
Blake added: “I would hope Bryan would reset his sights on running, winning, and serving on our Board of Aldermen where he can make a positive difference.”
Democratic insiders will have an opportunity to say whether Anderson should be allowed to primary DeLauro next May at the Democratic convention.