Chris Shays

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Chris Shays
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Years: 1968-1970
Chris Shays started in Fiji 1968
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Contents

[edit] Description of Service

[edit] Lessons Learned

[edit] About Chris Shays Today

Christopher H. Shays, usually known as Chris Shays (born October 18, 1945), American politician, has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1987, representing the 4th District of Connecticut, which includes 17 towns in Southwest Connecticut.[1]

He is the only House Republican currently serving from New England. All the others were defeated in the 2006 midterm elections.

Born in Stamford, Connecticut; Shays grew up in Darien, and attended the Christian Science Principia College in Elsah, Illinois, and received an MBA and MPA from New York University. He was a member of the Connecticut state house of representatives from 1975 to 1987 before his election to Congress. He lives in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, Connecticut.[2] Shays is a Christian Scientist; in September 2006, Shays said in an interview that he was questioning his faith.[3][4]

Shays married the former Betsi deRaismes in 1968. They served together in the Peace Corps in Fiji from 1968 to 1970.They have one daughter.

In 1987, he was elected to the US House of Representatives in a special election held to fill the vacant seat of the late Stewart McKinney. Between 1988 and 2004, Shays easily won re-election each time by margins between 34,000 and 53,000 votes.[5]

In 2004, however, Shays defeated Democratic opponent Diane Farrell, a Westport First Selectwoman, by a margin of 5 percentage points to win reelection.[6] In that race, Shays eschewed the use of negative television ads, despite pleas from some Republicans to do so.[7] The district, like the rest of the state, had swung heavily toward the Democrats in recent years; the Democratic candidate has carried the district in the last four presidential elections.

Now in his eleventh term in the 110th Congress, Shays serves on the Government Reform, Financial Services, and Homeland Security Committees.

Shays and his spouse are now well-known, prominent residents of Bridgeport. Prior to moving there in 2000 Shays was a long time resident of Stamford, which he had represented in the CT House of Representatives for many years prior to his election to Congress.

[edit] Political views

Shays is interviewed in a charity facility. In the far background is U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman; in the middle is Curt Welling, president of the charity (AmeriCares).Described in the press as a social liberal in the style of a "Rockefeller Republican",[8] Shays labels himself a fiscal conservative.[9] US News & World Report says that analysis of Shays' voting record reveals that he is a moderate, having voted historically more often with liberals than with conservatives, although it notes he voted with Congressional Republicans 80% of the time in 2002.[10] Shays has listed former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as his political inspiration, saying "Newt Gingrich is my hero."[11]

Shays is labeled by his supporters as a "maverick"[12] and "independent thinker", while conservative detractors regard him as a RINO ("Republican in name only").[13] Shays is pro-choice on abortion and although he voted for the 2003 ban on partial birth-abortions, he had voted against the bill numerous times prior to that along with most other restrictions on the procedure. [12][14] Shays was endorsed by the Brady Campaign for his support for gun control and was one of only six Republicans to vote against banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers and distributors in 2005.[15]. Shays generally votes with the Democratic Party on matters affecting gays and lesbians; he has voted against the federal marriage amendment and co-sponsored a bill to overturn the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. He is one of the few Republicans to oppose amending the constitution to ban flag-burning. In 1999 he was one of 20 Republicans to vote against an ultimately failed bill to ban physician assisted suicide. The Congressman has long been known for environmental regulations,[9] and was endorsed in the past election by the League of Conservation Voters.[16] He also advocates humane treatment of animals[17] and ending discrimination in the workplace.[18]

In April of 2005, he broke with most of his party over House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's alleged ethics violations. This made Shays the first Republican to say DeLay should step down from the Majority Leader post. He fought to maintain the Republican Party rule that requires an indicted leader to step down — the rule that ultimately resulted in Tom DeLay's resignation. Shays stated that he should resign, saying, "Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election."[19]

Shays is a member of or supported by the Republican Main Street Partnership,[20] The Republican Majority For Choice,[21] Republicans for Environmental Protection,[22] It's My Party Too,[23] and the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus.


[edit] Views on Iraq

On February 23, 2003 Shays conducted a public forum in Westport, Connecticut entitled "Iraq and Terrorism." In that meeting he sought to convince the 400 + people in the audience that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and therefore should be invaded. An excerpt from that meeting can be found at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5030871168172279233

Shays voted in favor of the 2003 Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq. In 2003, he was the first U.S. Congressman to visit Iraq after the outbreak of war and he has traveled to Iraq 14 times overall, more than any other U.S. legislator.[24]

From 2003 until August 24, 2006, Shays was a "stalwart supporter" of the War in Iraq, and of a continued US military presence there.[25][26] Shays has faced a continued political challenge to his views in a district where recent polls show a solid majority of voters disapprove of the 2003 US decision to invade Iraq.[27]

On April 10, 2003, Shays told the Connecticut Post that "The war plan has been nearly flawless."[28] On August 19, 2004, Shays told reporters, "We're on the right track now."[29] On June 24, 2005, Shays said "We've seen amazing progress [in Iraq]."[30] On July 27, 2005, Shays said on a local radio program that he was optimistic about the future of Iraq, and that he opposed any timetable for troop withdrawal.[31]On June 11, 2006 Shays told the Hartford Courant that his position on the war was a matter of principle and he was not going to stop talking about it.[13]

Upon returning from an August, 2006 Iraq trip, Shays explained that his previous views on Iraq had changed, and Shays became the first Congressional Republican to call for a timetable for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.[25] Shays said he is still a supporter of the war, but supports a timetable in order to "encourage some political will on the part of Iraqis".[32]

Shays has angrily disputed media claims that he has flipflopped his position on Iraq.[33] "I am not distancing myself from the President," he told the Los Angeles Times on August 25, 2006.[34] That same day, he told other reporters, "I totally support the war."[35]

On February 16th, 2007, Shays voted against H. Con. Res. 63 (which disapproved of increasing troop levels in Iraq) [1] claiming that "The resolution sends the wrong message to the President, to our troops, and to our enemies" [2]

On July 13, 2007 Shays called on Congress to approve withdrawing virtually all American troops from Iraq by December 2008. "I believe we need a timeline. I believe the president's wrong," said Shays. Shays' latest plan marks the first time he has specified dates.[3]

[edit] Campaign Finance Reform

Along with Representative Marty Meehan, a Massachusetts Democrat, Shays cosponsored the Shays-Meehan bill, which was signed into law as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. The American Civil Liberties Union "believes that key elements of Shays-Meehan violate the First Amendment right to free speech because the legislation contains provisions that would violate the constitutionally protected right of the people to express their opinions about issues through broadcast advertising if they mention the name of a candidate and restrict soft money contributions and uses of soft money for no constitutionally justifiable reason."[36] The Supreme Court upheld the law (McConnell v. Federal Election Commission). Shays introduced legislation in the 1990s advocating forced universal national service (draft)

[edit] National Security

After a series of leaks from within the FBI, CIA, and NSA regarding the disputed legality of surveillance Shays chaired a hearing on National Whistleblower Protection[37] This hearing was largely opposed by the Republican leadership and the Bush administration, which was attempting to strip intelligence employees of whistleblower protections. The witness list included members of the military, the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA who had come forward about such issues as warrantless eavesdropping and the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq[38]

[edit] External Links

Wikipedia Gun Control Essay

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