NAUGATUCK — Motivational speaker Wayne Winsley moved to the borough a month ago with the goal of unseating U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-3rd District) next year.
“I am not a place holder,” said Winsley, a Republican. “I am actually running for this seat to win it.”
Winsley, 48, worked on last year’s gubernatorial campaigns for Tom Foley and Mark Boughton and, aside from one year as president of the Danbury NAACP chapter, has never held elected office, he said.
Formerly of New Milford, Winsley was a morning news anchor for AM radio stations in Bridgeport and Norwalk before he was laid off two years ago, he said.
He hosted a political talk show on WINE 940AM in Danbury for 10 years, during which he pegged himself “Connecticut’s Conservative Capitalist,” the title of his blog.
Winsley’s former home was in the 5th District, but he said he had no interest in running there, prompting his move to the borough.
“Everyone’s running in the 5th,” he said. “They are represented by a great group of candidates.”
Winsley said he chose to challenge DeLauro, a 20-year incumbent whose seat is considered one of the safest in the House of Representatives, because he believes she has been “a rubber stamp” for policies that are hurting the economy.
“I believe that this is where I can make a difference,” Winsley said. “You can just simply look out the window and see all the businesses that are shuttered.”
As a congressman, Winsley said he would work to reduce taxes and regulations for businesses. He said he wants to decrease government spending, reform the education system and eliminate President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Winsley plans to formally announce his candidacy Oct. 29 at noon on the New Haven Green.
Born in Cleveland, Winsley was raised by his great-grandmother in some of the poorest areas of the city until he was 13, when he was placed in an orphanage and then a Boys Town facility, he said.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1982 to 1986 and attended the University of La Verne in California during those years, but did not attain a degree.
He said he thinks being black and raised in poverty would help him campaign as a Republican.
“The safety net should be there to help people when they fall, but you don’t live in it,” he said.
Winsley lives on Hackett Street with his wife, April Dawn Winsley. He has three children aged 25, 22 and 4.
DeLauro has raised more than $414,000 toward next year’s elections, Federal Election Commission filings show. Winsley has raised nothing yet.
Another Republican candidate, Boaz ItsHaky of Bethany, has filed to run but has raised nothing, according to the FEC.
For more information, visit waynewinsleyforcongress.com.