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Rep. Courtney well deserves another term in Congress

Given early voting in the state — the number of absentee ballots returned was approaching 600,000 at week’s end — U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney may have already amassed enough votes to secure his eighth term in the 2nd Congressional District that ranges over the eastern half of Connecticut.

But for the record, we support his re-election.

Since first winning office in 2006, Courtney has relentlessly made the case for the nation to ramp up submarine construction. He has largely prevailed. Now, sitting as chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, and with his Democratic Party likely to retain control of the House of Representatives and perhaps the White House, he has the political strength to prevent any backsliding on the Pentagon’s commitment to the submarine force.

The continued expediting of Virginia-class submarine construction, the development of a new generation of ballistic-missile firing submarines — the Columbia class — a successor to the Tridents, and Courtney's success in lobbying for increased repair work at the Electric Boat shipyard have assured submarine work should be thriving in these parts well into the future.

This is good news not only for jobs at EB, but also at the hundreds of contractors that feed its supply lines.

Beyond the economic impacts, a strong submarine force is critical to the nation’s security. The capability of submarines to conduct electronic intelligence gathering and deliver special operation forces, in addition to their war-fighting and deterrent capabilities, make them the greatest asset in the Navy’s arsenal.

Additionally, Courtney has helped to secure more than $100 million in federal funding, outside of the Trump administration’s budget, to improve the infrastructure at the Submarine Base in Groton and make it highly unlikely it would be on any future base closure list.

But Courtney has served the district well in many other ways, as well.

He has been an advocate for veterans, assuring their access to healthcare under the TRICARE program, winning funding for affordable housing for veterans, and assuring many of our heroes of past wars got the medals they were once denied because of bureaucratic confusion.

As founding co-chairman of the Congressional Dairy Farmers Caucus, Courtney has sought to protect our small dairy farms from the flaws of a milk pricing system geared toward the larger Midwest dairy farms. In October, he worked with the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont to support the state’s growing industrial hemp industry, assuring the program administered by the state Department of Agriculture aligns with federal requirements.

On health care, the congressman has long pushed for sensible solutions, such as allowing citizens, at age 50, or their employers to buy into the Medicare system, which Courtney said could cut their premium costs 40%. The idea has been gaining support on the Democratic side.

Congressman Courtney has supported all of the relief bills originating in the House to provide help during the pandemic. Unfortunately, no deal has been reached with the Republican Senate or President Trump to pass the latest, and desperately needed, stimulus package approved in the House.

Courtney, 67, is no ideologue, he does not seek to score points or gain interviews on the cable news shows by attacking Republicans. He is a politician from another time, when deals were sought, and compromises welcomed. It is a time many Americans would like to see return.

His opponents are Republican Justin Anderson, Libertarian Daniel Reale, and Green Cassandra Martineau. They deserve credit for assuring voters have a choice. But that choice is clear. Voters should return Joe Courtney to Congress.

 

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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