To the Editors:

At the end of the year like most folks, I spend a fair amount of time reflecting on the people to whom I am grateful, which is usually limited to my family, friends, colleagues and neighbors. 2019 has been incredibly turbulent and unnerving which has prompted me to think beyond my personal bubble and recognize those leaders who continually step up to do the right thing for us all.

One of the leaders to whom I am most grateful this year is our very own congressman, Jim Himes. Congressman Himes has worked tirelessly to uphold his oath to the Constitution protecting our democratic institutions and serving with his colleagues as the check and balance on a president who puts himself before our nation, our security and the rule of law. With impeachment dominating the headlines, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that with equal determination, Congressman Himes has been working with his colleagues to pass major bipartisan bills that if taken up by our Senate Majority Leader and passed by the Senate would not only improve the quality of our lives but would also save countless lives.

Our safety —With 80% of all firearms used in criminal acts having been acquired without background checks, Congressman Himes was a co-sponsor of the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019” which requires that background checks be performed on every sale and transfer of gun ownership with few exceptions. He also voted to fund gun violence research through the CDC and to reauthorize the 1994 “Violence Against Women Act.”

Our health — Congressman Himes voted for several bipartisan bills aimed at protecting Americans with preexisting conditions and stemming the rising cost of prescription drugs and other health benefits for older Americans under Medicare.

Our wallet — Congressman Himes voted for the “Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act” to raise the limit on SALT deductions and put money back in the wallets of Connecticut workers who have been disproportionately hurt by the 2017 Tax Bill. He also voted for the government funding package which includes a major investment in Connecticut’s maritime infrastructure and for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in support of Connecticut manufacturers and their employees who export to Canada and Mexico.

Our environment — Climate change is the number one threat to our economy, health, and future. Congressman Himes co-sponsored “The Climate Action Now Act” which would make the president accountable for following through on the promises this country made in the Paris Agreement.

Melissa Spohn