Tag Archives: Congressman Jim Himes

Emma Borys Speaks Up — And Out — About Epilepsy

Last October, “06880” honored the work Emma Borys was doing with epilepsy. The Staples High School junior — diagnosed with the disease in 6th grade — is an outspoken advocate for research and education.

This spring, she was chosen as the Epilepsy Foundation of Connecticut‘s representative for a lobbying effort in Washington, DC.

Emma had been helped by trainers who spoke to her teachers about the myths and realities of epilepsy.

But many students don’t have that opportunity. The DC program brought teenagers to the Capitol, to urge their representatives to approve CDC funding for that educational program.

Emma joined one student from each state. They gathered in a large room, and shared personal stories. The goal was to help them become comfortable speaking the next day with legislators.

“I’d never really talked to another teenager about epilepsy,” Emma says. “It’s great to realize we have similar experiences and hardships.”

The next day, Emma met with her congressman, Jim Himes, as well as 2 other Connecticut representatives: Rosa DeLauro and John Larson. She also spoke with staffers from DeLauro and Joe Courtney’s offices.

Congressman Jim Himes and Emma Borys.

All were very receptive. The mother of a Himes staffer has epilepsy, Emma says, so he seemed particularly interested.

Emma felt empowered and energized by the lobbying day. But her advocacy is not over.

Last weekend, she participated in a fundraising march in Stamford. She was proud of her efforts — and wants “o6880” readers to know that donations can still be made through May 25. Just click here to help.

In Tough Times, Himes Has Hope

A large crowd greeted Jim Himes with a standing ovation at last night’s Bedford Middle School “town hall meeting.”

The congressman handled a host of questions — about healthcare, the environment, taxes, trade, immigration, infrastructure, Connecticut’s economy, Nancy Pelosi and more — with poise, humor and plenty of policy knowledge.

It was a friendly crowd. There was one skeptic – a man who challenged the House Intelligence Committee member about Russian collusion in the presidential election — but he was countered by a Westport Republican who thanked the Democratic representative for doing “a beyond admirable job.”

The man added, “There are Republicans who stand behind you 100%.”

Congressman Jim Himes, last night at Bedford Middle School.

But the most intense moment came almost at the end of the 90-minute event.

A Jewish Romanian woman with a special needs son fought tears as she said that America today reminds her of “a police state.”

Describing “an atmosphere of doom and gloom,” she called propaganda “very powerful and subtle.”

Why, she asked, “can’t anyone call this administration on dismantling our government as we know it?”

Himes replied, “I’ve been in politics long enough to know that fear and division are very powerful tools — and that we Americans are susceptible to it. We respond to it.”

But, he added, “We also respond to hope and aspiration.” He used President Kennedy’s “ask not…” quote as an example.

Himes noted that people who are swayed by fear are “decent people.” Those of us in Fairfield County may not recognize how “hollowed out” other Americans may feel, he said. In those situations, placing blame on others is easy.

“It is incumbent on people like me to offer aspiration, so we don’t succumb to fear,” Himes continued.

He disagreed though with the Romanian woman’s assertion about the “dismantling” of our fundamental government institutions.

Himes cited the judiciary branch’s strong, quick and aggressive stand against President Trump’s “garbage” immigration ban. He also praised the role being played by the media.

“Each and every one of us needs to stand up and say ‘No, you won’t,'” Himes said.

Fairfield County has been exceedingly lucky, politically. For over 30 years we’ve had superb representation in Congress.

Stewart McKinney, Chris Shays and now Jim Himes. Republican or Democrat — it doesn’t make a difference. Our congressmen look out for all of us in this district.

Last night at Bedford, an audience of Democrats and Republicans said “thank you.”

A young Westporter asked Congressman Jim Himes a question about healthcare.

A Photo Shoot For Gun Safety

In the days following the Orlando massacre, Connecticut politicians have once again been in the forefront of the fight to force Congress to address gun legislation.

Chris Murphy led a 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor. Colleague Richard Blumenthal joined in. And Congressman Jim Himes earned national notice by walking out of the House of Representatives’ moment of silence, demanding real action rather than empty gestures.

Many Westporters were moved by our legislators’ stances.

Melissa Kane was moved to act.

The chair of the Democratic Town Committee sent out an email this weekend. In it, she called the three men’s actions “a wonderful lesson for my children.”

To show her appreciation, she invited anyone and everyone — especially kids — to gather for a group photo today at Compo Beach.

The shot below — taken by Pamela Einarsen — will be sent to Senators Murphy and Blumenthal, and Congressman Himes. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Though they’d no doubt appreciate actual legislation more.

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

PS: After the shoot, some latecomers arrived. They posed with a few stragglers, for a 2nd image:

(Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

(Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

48 Hours After Arizona

It was a quirk of the calendar:  Congressman Jim Himes was scheduled to meet constituents today, in Westport’s Town Hall.

He kept his appointment — just 48 hours after the horrific shooting in Arizona that left 6 people dead, and one of his colleagues critically wounded.

Congressman Jim Himes

Himes acknowledged the tragedy — and the possibility that some in the overflow crowd were apprehensive.

But, he said, “We can’t function in an environment of fear.”  Then he attended to the business at hand:  answering questions, addressing concerns, serving the public.

That was exactly the right response.

After 9/11, we heard frequently:   “If we don’t do [this, that or the other thing], the terrorists win.”

It’s unclear so far whether Saturday’s gunman had a political agenda, was mentally ill, or both.  Whatever the answer, he created terror in our political system.

If congressmen retreat from one of their main jobs — meeting the public, hearing their thoughts, responding with their own insights — then not only will terror have won.

But our system of government — our American way of life — will have changed forever, too.