State Rep. John Shaban (R-135), a Republican who represents Redding, Easton and Weston, announced in a Facebook post Aug. 11 he plans to run for U.S. Congress in Connecticut’s 4th district. That is the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat.
No press release was sent out following Shaban’s announcement, which simply linked his Facebook page to his campaign contribution page (shabanforcongress.com).
“To win the nomination at the convention and the general election, I need your financial support, enthusiastic participation, and ideas to get our message out to the voters of Southwestern Connecticut,” he writes on his Shaban for Congress website.
Speaking Monday with The Bulletin’s sister paper, The Redding Pilot, Shaban said his run for Congress is a continuation of his long-standing involvement in his community.
“It’s really the same reason why I keep doing all of these things. I keep raising my hand to get involved in more things, because I think I can help,” he said.
In short, he said by phone, his political views are summed up by the idea that government should be as “limited and local as possible.”
“It’s maddening as a state representative to see all the resources we have in Fairfield County, and to find ourselves constantly coming up short because we have state and federal governments that take all they want from us. They don’t allow us the resources to do what we want locally, and we end up coming up on the short end,” he said.
Shaban jokingly refers to himself as a “tree-hugging Republican” as he has a degree in environmental law, and says he doesn’t always fit the Republican stereotype.
“My interest in environmental issues got me into politics. [Since then, I’ve been] passing sound public policy that gets the job done. Policy that’s not just a press release.
“I’m probably a little more focused on environmental issues than others, but I’m a common-sense Republican. It’s John Shaban running, I don’t care what label you want to put after that, because it’s me,” he said.
Specifically, he continued to say that he is not a “Texas or Nevada Republican.”
“I want to differentiate myself as a New England Republican compared to what you might see in other parts of the country. That’s always a challenge, but I’m up for it.”
He sees raising money and increasing his public profile as two possible areas of difficulty for this campaign.
“The biggest challenge is two-fold: getting the word out, and raising the money to get the word out. That’s always the biggest challenge.
“The mechanics of running a bigger race are bigger. I have to have a bigger platform, I have to get on TV, the radio, social media, et cetera.”
In addition to what he told The Pilot on Monday, his views on a number of “issues” are listed on Shaban’s congressional candidate site, including:
• Social Security — “Small reforms now will become large reforms down the road. Social Security can and must be made solvent by, quite simply, extending the eligibility age for younger generations.”
• Federalized healthcare insurance — “A one-size-fits-all federal program will not work because the United States has a diverse a population, all with differing local economics, and all with differing local needs. Interstate competition, clarity and tort reform will drive down healthcare costs and promote access, not another massive federal program.”
• Gun control — “I supported the 2013 Mental Health, School Security and Gun Control bill passed in Connecticut because, in the end and on balance, I believed it was the right thing to do. As a father, gun owner and resident of northern Fairfield County, these issues and the tragedy that prompted the discussion weigh on me as they do all citizens.”
• Social issues — “I do not believe in government interference with a person’s personal preferences or choices. More importantly, the people in the 50 states can determine how they want their marriage and/or privacy laws to operate.”
• Immigration — “We are a nation of immigrants, and we should celebrate this proud and enduring history. Congress is starting to move in the right direction on immigration reform, but is moving too slowly. We must stay away from blanket amnesty because giving a “free pass” to undocumented and/or illegal aliens is unfair to those folks who are going and have gone through the immigration process. Instead, I support a “step up and stand out” approach.”