Motivational speaker Wayne Winsley made it clear to the Naugatuck Republican Town Committee on Wednesday that he’s not a politician.
“I’m an American who is simply fed up and refuses to sit back and watch as the country I love is spent into oblivion and our children’s future is mortgage to the Hill,” Winsley told a gathering of committee members during their monthly meeting Wednesday evening at Town Hall.
A 20-year veteran of broadcast radio and veteran of the U.S. Navy, Winsley, 48, recently relocated to Naugatuck from New Milford in his bid to run against longtime Democratic incumbent Rosa DeLauro. DeLauro, who won reelection handedly in 2010 after defeating then-candidate Jerry Labriola, is and Winsley has, so far, been the only candidate who has thrown his hat in the ring.
Winsley, 48, spoke often about his own record, mixed in with his stances on certain issues, such as taxes, the economy and small businesses.
“Small business is the heart of this economy. That’s what gets it done,” he said. And instead of making sure that heart is healthy so they can pump out jobs and profits for all Americans, we are clogging it up with taxes and regulations.”
'My Goal is Not to Burn the Safety Net'
Born and Cleveland, Ohio, and raised by his great-grandmother, Winsley’s biography states that his early childhood was spent in the Garden Valley Housing Projects. He said he spent the earlier part of his life in "some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city" and was placed in an orphanage at age 13.
For that reason, Winsley said he offers a different perspective on the social services for those in need.
“My goal is not to burn the safety net, but to create ways so fewer people have to live in it,” he told Patch.
He also addressed this with the Naugatuck Republicans. Speaking about his opinions on taxes and regulations, Winsley noted that there are many people who are taking on food stamps, so much to the point where Yum Foods — the owners of Taco Bell and Pizza Hutt — are lobbying the federal government to be able to accept food stamps at their restaurants.
“They want to take advantage of some of the $64 billion that we paid out in food stamps last year,” he said. “We have so many people in the safety net, that pretty soon there will be nobody else left to hold it up. We need to turn it around before it’s too late.”
The American Dream in this Generation
What propelled him into the race, he told the Naugatuck Republicans, came about during his tours on speaking with high school and college-age students.
“My message to those students is this: In American you achieve anything you want through a combination of education, determination and hard work,” Winsley said.
But, he said, for the first time in the nation’s history the American Dream is in danger of “not coming true for a generation.”
“Our current children are now at a position of not being able to do as well as their parents,” Winsley said. “And if I go into schools, and tell our children about the promise of American knowing full well that the current government is not creating an environment where businesses can grow and entrepreneurs can prosper from their ideas… then I am lying to my children, to your children to every child that I speak to.”
He added, “And that, I won’t do.”
The Career Politican Effect
Winsley is a former broadcast news anchor and worked as a communications director for Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, and later for the Republicans’ nominee for governor, Tom Foley. Winsley noted that he will often use the term “career politician” in a pejorative way, however that’s not implied with everyone who is in office.
“I have no problem with public servants who have chosen politics as a career, we have examples of that with our state representatives, and most notably, Christopher Shays,” Winsley said. Shays was seated in the room, as were Reps. Rosa Rebimbas and David Labriola, both of Naugatuck.
He said, “I do have a problem with career politicians who have forgotten they have a job to do and to represent the people that elect them.”
'Not the Only Black Person in Connecticut That Thinks Taxes are Too High'
Winsley called the race to defeat DeLauro a “team effort.” He asked for borough Republicans to encourage fellow Republican town committees to endorse his candidacy, contribute to his campaign and volunteer their time.
Winsley proclaimed he could energize and unite the Republican base in the 3rd Congressional District, as well as make DeLauro “do something that she hasn’t done in 20 years: and that’s fight for her base.”
And in one his final statements during the evening, Winsley said he knows he could carry that fight because, he said, “I know a secret.”
“I am not the only black person in Connecticut who believes that taxes are too high and government spending is out of control. And I am not the only black person in Connecticut who is tired of seeing jobs leave my state instead of come into our state,” Winsley said. “There are some independent voters and those who typically vote Democrat. And if we reach out and offer them a clear alternative and a strong message that we all win with Winsley they will joint us and that’s how we take back the people’s seat.”