Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes of the Fourth District that includes Wilton made a swing by Tauck Tours the morning of Sept. 20 to conduct a town hall meeting with about 70 of the employees there gathered in a conference room.
Himes, who lives in the Cos Cob section of Greenwich, talked about a wide range of subjects, everything from President Trump to student loan debt. He took questions from the audience, too, and defined the voters of his district as mostly moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans.
So he tries to see issues from both sides of the fence.
“I know my party isn’t always right,” Himes told the audience.
Here is what he had to say about a wide range of subjects:

Student loans


“The federal government can’t force private universities to not raise their tuition by 8%, 8%, 8%, every year, but I believe something has to be done about the trade schools that charge $60,000 for a culinary degree. Students graduate to work in a restaurant and they have all this debt.”

Housing and transportation


“Indeed.com in Stamford has a hard time drawing 27-year-old employees to Stamford. It’s hard to live in Stamford for someone just beginning their career. They have to get an apartment in Derby and commute to Stamford, and it’s a long commute.”

Trump and totalitarians


“The President has a bizarre attractions to despots, to totalitarian leaders. He likes the ease with which they rule. He has a blind spot to that and it troubles me.”

Trump and the Russians


“There was a ton of strange activity during the campaign, and someone will be indicted. There’s a possibility that they toyed with the idea of illegally seeking Russian’s help.”

The Russian economy


“Russia is a weak economy. Their economy if half the size of the economy of California. But Russians like to hark back to the days of their greatness. Putin wants to destabilize the West.”

The state department


“Diplomats are thinking about leaving. The state department is not funded enough and is not listened to.”

North Korea


“The president saying the other day he would totally destroy North Korea is highly inappropriate. It’s like school kids, like an insecure bully. Kim Jong Un tells his people every day the United States wants to completely destroy their country. By saying this, Trump just did him a favor, said what he wants him to say.”

Affordable Care Act


“Most probably, those who are against it want to remove the mandate that everyone have insurance, but without the mandate the insurance companies could not function. In exchange for not disapproving of all the people with pre-existing conditions, they have got to be guaranteed that healthy people will be forced to buy insurance. Healthy people don’t feel they need insurance.”

College degrees


“Our obsession with four-year college degrees is pushing a lot of kids into debt and they are graduating with no marketable skills.”

Connecticut competitiveness


“We could never compete with South Carolina on wages, or with Oklahoma on fuel costs. Our strength is our highly educated, creative workforce.”

Cuba


“Diplomats have been subject to hearing damage from a supersonic device, but I don’t think it’s the Cubans behind it. It’s others that want to create chaos. The Russians or the Iranians.”

General Electric leaving


“GE went to Boston, where taxes are higher and commuting is worse. So there are other reasons they went there than Republicans have been saying.”