Stamford Advocate: Murphy in the Democratic PrimaryAugust 09 2012
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Both Christopher Murphy and Susan Bysiewicz bring substantial government resumes to their quest for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.
Mr. Murphy, the party-endorsed candidate, has the stronger of the two. He has represented Connecticut's 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms, and before that served eight years in the state General Assembly, four in each chamber.
Ms. Bysiewicz was Connecticut's secretary of the state from 1999 to 2011, and before that served three terms in the state House of Representatives.
Government experience can be a negative with voters these days. But both of these candidates can stand on their records as positive indications of the job they'd do for Connecticut as Joe Lieberman's Senate replacement.
Mr. Murphy in the U.S. House has been an avid proponent of health care reform and successfully worked to reduce the number of homeless veterans in the state. He has helped to pass ethics reforms, and continues to push for greater investment in science, as an economic engine as well as a means of improving life, a continuation of his work in the state Senate.
Continuing on the economic front, Mr. Murphy says we should end tax breaks for the wealthy and reinvest that money to help make college more affordable, child care more accessible, transportation to and from work a bit easier.
On deficit reduction, we like that Mr. Murphy is willing to take a politically risky stand regarding savings.
"The defense budget would be the top of my list," he says.
There is massive waste in the defense and homeland security sectors of government -- huge redundancies that inhale money and produce little to make us safer. We need people in power willing to do something about that, even if it means being tagged "weak on defense" by political opponents.
As a bulwark against hits to manufacturers caused by defense cuts, Mr. Murphy, who is chairman of the House Buy American Caucus, proposes closing loopholes that allow the Defense Department to send billions to foreign contractors every year.
As secretary of the state, Ms. Bysiewicz was a strong advocate for voting rights and tireless in efforts to increase the voter rolls. She crisscrossed the state in campaigns to sign up voters, particularly those under enrolled, such as eligible teenagers.
Showing similar commitment, she came to this campaign armed with a detailed plan for improving the country on many fronts, starting with the economy:
Ms. Bysiewicz proposes a small tax on Wall Street transactions, which could have the dual benefit of discouraging the type of high-volume-garbage trading that destroyed the economy and raising revenue to help those the Wall Street gamblers most hurt -- middle-class mortgage holders.
Among the others facets of her plan is broad reform to curb lobbyists' influence on Congress, of the type she helped to enact in our state Legislature.
The primary difference between these two is political. Ms. Bysiewicz stumbled badly this year when she initially refused to take down a television ad blasting Mr. Murphy even after her campaign acknowledged some of the information in it was incorrect.
By contrast, we like Mr. Murphy's status as co-leader of the Center Aisle Caucus, a bipartisan group of House members working to alleviate the extreme partisan gridlock in Washington. The group's successes have been primarily ceremonial, but they are a start in a desperately needed effort to change the culture in the nation's capital.
On balance, Mr. Murphy is the stronger Democratic candidate. We endorse him in his party's primary for U.S. Senate on Aug. 14.