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EXCLUSIVE: Esty Challenger Wants Campaign on H-1B, Sets Fundraising Goal

May 24, 2017 By Staff
EXCLUSIVE: Esty Challenger Wants Campaign on H-1B, Sets Fundraising Goal

Craig Diangelo, who trained his own replacement at Northeast Utilities, wants a campaign with Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) on the H-1B program, health care, and more.

“Two-hundred-and-twenty of us were basically forced to train our replacements from southeast Asia,” Craig Diangelo said. “We were basically walked out after training people that really didn’t have the job skills.”

That, Diangelo said, is what motivated him to launch a campaign for Congress in Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District this year. Diangelo is challenging three-term incumbent Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), who was first elected in 2012.

Diangelo talked to Reclaim Connecticut on Monday about the H-1B program, health care, Esty, fundraising, and more.

“FOR US, THERE WAS NO SHORTAGE”

Diangelo was laid off from his job at Northeast Utilities, due in large part to the H-1B visa program. He said the program is meant to fill “particular” shortages in certain fields, but that was not the case for his job.

“For us, there was no shortage,” Diangelo said. “Two-hundred-and-twenty of us were gainfully employed at Northeast Utilities.”

And soon, Diangelo discovered “there were hundreds of thousands of people like ourselves.”

Diangelo said that neither Esty nor Connecticut’s two senators – Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) – take the situation seriously.

“LET’S MAKE IT FAIR”

Diangelo stressed that, while he wants to make changes to the H-1B program, he is “not against immigration.”

“My family were immigrants that came over to America,” Diangelo said. “I’m very proud of my heritage.”

The solution, Diangelo said? “Let’s make it fair to all peoples, not to just limit it to certain quotas for certain groups of people.”

“It has to be non-partisan, too.”

ESTY “PLAYS THE FEAR FACTOR”

Diangelo was very critical of his opponent, Esty, who has been in Congress for four-plus years now.

“Congresswoman Esty is very partisan,” Diangelo said.

He said she “plays the fear factor” on issues like Social Security and Medicare, and Diangelo expects her to do the same in the 2018 cycle.

Diangelo was also critical of Esty’s support for the Affordable Care Act is wonderful.

“The Affordable Care Act is not affordable,” Diangelo said. “I’m paying $915 a month for health insurance with a $5,000 out-of-pocket before anything gets picked up.”

$1 MILLION

Diangelo knows his challenge of Esty will require him to raise a good amount of money. As of March 31, Esty had more than $800,000 in the bank for her re-election efforts.

“Speaking with individuals, [I’ll] probably [need to raise] about $1 million,” said Diangelo. One million dollars, that is, “and getting out there and talking to people.”

Diangelo plans to do that, though, and will try to appeal to independents, Republicans, and Democrats in the middle class.

“The middle class has been affected immensely by what is happening.”