Democrat Muad Hrezi on Tuesday launched his long-term quest to overthrow U.S. Representative John Larson, denouncing a rigged economy, a profit-hungry healthcare system and politicians beholden to vested interests.
Hrezi, a former aide to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, is running against Larson from the left, and he’s lined up supporters of Labor, Black Lives Matter groups and the environmental movement Sunrise.
âFor too long, I have watched leaders in Washington get by with the bare minimum while the rest of us suffered,â Hrezi said. âThe game has been rigged. â¦ When some of our leaders take millions from Wall Street, the defense industry and health insurersâ¦ it means they are fighting for them.
In his speech, Hrezi, a 26-year-old substitute teacher from Hartford, never mentioned Larson’s name. But his campaign is fueled by the belief that Larson, a 73-year-old Democrat who represented the 1st District in Congress for 22 years, is out of step with his time.
âPoliticians accountable to corporations will always protect corporate interests,â Hrezi said. “Instead of being shocked at how little progress our leaders have made, it is time for us to change our leaders.”
Larson has generally faced only token opposition since his first run in 1998. The 1st District, which includes Hartford and most of its suburbs, has been drawn to Democrats.
Hrezi was one of two progressive candidates who said earlier this year they were running against Larson. But Andrew Legnani, a former Berlin EMT, has since dropped his candidacy and quit the Democratic Party.
Legnani, in an interview on Tuesday afternoon, said he supported Hrezi, calling him a “breath of fresh air”.
At his campaign launch event at Dunkin ‘Donuts Park, Hrezi was joined by several activists, including Sena Wazer, co-director of Sunrise CT, Sydney Elkhay, president of UConn College Democrats, and Bishop John Selders, co -founder. of Moral Monday CT.
Expanding health insurance and reducing health care costs are among Hrezi’s priorities. As a teenager, he suffered from asthma and was hospitalized with pneumonia. During one of those trips to the emergency room, she was asked to sit in the waiting room, struggling to breathe, while hospital registration officials reviewed her parents’ medical history. .
The experience led him to study health policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which helped him land a job as a health policy analyst for Murphy.
Dislodging Larson won’t be easy. During his long career in the Chamber, he held a number of prominent positions and proved adept at raising funds from corporate and labor interests.
According to federal campaign finance information, Larson had $ 657,392 as of June 30. Hrezi, on the other hand, said he raised $ 74,103.
But Hrezi said he was energized by progressive activists and ready to challenge the status quo.
He even tackled one of Larson’s well-known legislative priorities: strengthening the social security system.
âWhen the elderly cannot retire with dignity because social security has not been strengthened in decades, we shouldn’t be surprised,â Hrezi said.