October 21, 2004: Headlines: COS - Fiji: Politics: Congress: Election2004 - Shays: Westport Now: With less than two weeks to go in their hotly contested 4th Congressional District race, things got a bit testy today between incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays and his Democratic opponent, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Fiji: Special Report: Former Congressman Chris Shays: RPCV Congressman Chris Shays: Archived Stories: October 21, 2004: Headlines: COS - Fiji: Politics: Congress: Election2004 - Shays: Westport Now: With less than two weeks to go in their hotly contested 4th Congressional District race, things got a bit testy today between incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays and his Democratic opponent, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-9-111.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.9.111) on Saturday, October 23, 2004 - 5:15 pm: Edit Post

With less than two weeks to go in their hotly contested 4th Congressional District race, things got a bit testy today between incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays and his Democratic opponent, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell

With less than two weeks to go in their hotly contested 4th Congressional District race, things got a bit testy today between incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays and his Democratic opponent, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell

With less than two weeks to go in their hotly contested 4th Congressional District race, things got a bit testy today between incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays and his Democratic opponent, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell

Sparks Fly in Norwalk Shays-Farrell Debate

With less than two weeks to go in their hotly contested 4th Congressional District race, things got a bit testy today between incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays and his Democratic opponent, Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell.

In a Norwalk debate broadcast live on Cablevision News-12 -- the last of the campaign -- Shays accused his challenger of running a highly negative campaign and not giving straight answers on where she stands on tax issues and how to fund transportation costs.

Also, for the first time, he suggested that she had "dropped the ball" on a delayed project -- being done by the Connecticut Department of Transportation -- renovating Westport's Saugatuck railroad station.

Farrell accused Shays of failing to take Republican responsibility for the growing budget deficit and of seeking to impose a gasoline tax that would negatively impact Connecticut residents.

Shays repeated his frequent charge that Farrell was giving incomplete answers to questions about taxes and transportation.

"That was vintage Diane Farrell," he said at one point.

"You do not know her position on how to fund transportation and you really donít even know her position on taxes because she says she is against the tax cut but then she says I'm for the tax cuts and Congressman Shays is not being accurate."

Farrell told reporters afterwards she supports tax cuts, including the child tax credit, which go to the middle class, but not those which primarily benefit the wealthiest.

"Chris's attacks suggesting I havenít been clear surprises me considering that he calls himself a listener," she said during the debate. "He is deflecting accountability where we are today."

The Shays response: "I have many faults, but I am a good listener and so are you (pointing his finger at the audience). How is Diane Farrell going to pay for the transportation costs? That was the question that was asked and it was never answered."

The Farrell rejoinder: "I donít know what part of my answer Chris is just not hearing."

Shays again said his opponent had been unclear on taxes and transportation and then had said the problem was a state responsibility.

"Good grief," he added in exasperation, resting his chin on his hand.

Farrell's response: "I think Chris has just done a flip-flop suggesting now that my acknowledgement that the state has a role is absolutely consistent with the way he has admonished the state that they have not taken care of this problem."

On how to pay, she said she doesn't want an increase in the gas tax, as Shays advocates, until she is sure the district gets all the federal transportation money it can.

"I am not satisfied with the job that he's done. That is my role as a challenger." Farrell added, "I am running because I want to give people a positive alternative, a positive choice."

Shays said every time Farrell has criticized him for not doing something, it is because he has not spent enough.

"And the challenge is when she looks at her own record, in her own community, taxes have doubled, spending has doubled, bonding indebtedness has gone up six fold, and while she has been running for Congress, she dropped the ball on the railroad station," he said.

Farrell, as she has done before, responded that the Westport mill rate had only risen 44 percent during her time in office and, holding up a report, said this week the Moody rating service had affirmed Westport's excellent AAA bond rating.

She did not address the railroad station comment.

After the debate, according to The Hartford Courant, Shays told reporters that Farrell has shirked her responsibilities as an elected official during the campaign and has done virtually nothing as repairs at the Saugatuck railroad station have dragged on for months.

"She's been basically AWOL when it comes to her responsibilities in Westport," Shays said.

The newspaper said Farrell responded by saying that Shays is unaccustomed to an aggressive challenge because he has always won re-election by large margins and has not participated in a close race in more than a decade.

"He's clearly frustrated," Farrell said after the debate. "Now he's hitting me on my local record with 12 days to go? He's desperate."

Rejecting the notion that she has taken her eye off her hometown while setting her sights on the bright lights of Washington, Farrell cited Westport's AAA bond rating, the Courant reported.

She added that she has missed only one Board of Selectmen meeting during the past year, and that was because she was debating Shays

While accusing Farrell of running a negative campaign, Shays said he had resisted those within his own party wanting to run negative ads.

"As this race has gotten closer, I got the sense that my folks down in Washington would start to panic and they would start to do (negative) ads," he said.

"I told them that if they do any ads in this district, I will stop my ads and I will campaign against them."

Shays later said he was referring to the National Republican Congressional Committee which has considered running campaign commercials on Shays' behalf. But he has told them to "stay out of the race," contending the ads would backfire and hurt him.

Shays added during the debate, "I have been catching grenades from my opponent for the last 10 months. And I haven't been throwing them back.

"You haven't seen any advertisement criticizing. I just chuck it aside. Now I might criticize her here, but she has an opportunity to respond."





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Story Source: Westport Now

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Fiji; Politics; Congress; Election2004 - Shays

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