By Eugene Driscoll
SEYMOUR — Touting recently passed health care legislation like a righteous battle scar, area Democrats Monday nominated U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, D-New Haven, to run for an eleventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
There were 233 delegates in the audience at the nominating convention at Seymour Middle School. They all voted for DeLauro, who has been serving the third Congressional district since 1990.
Several delegates at the nominating convention shouted “NO!” before Woodbridge lawyer Gerald T. Weiner could finish the sentence, “Are there any other nominees?”
Those speaking on DeLauro’s behalf kept hitting health care legislation as proof of DeLauro’s courage.
The health care issue was especially personal for 28-year-old Melissa Marottoli of Branford. She was one of six people who made brief speeches nominating DeLauro.
The others included an Army veteran who lost his dad in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, a principal from a technical school — and even a Republican.
Marottoli graduated from college in 2004 and was lucky to land a job. That same year, she came down with walking pneumonia, only to learn, two years later, she was wrongly diagnosed.
Instead, Marottoli was told she had lung cancer — and that it had spread to her brain.
In addition to living with cancer — and compiling medical coverage bills to the tune of $1 million a year — Marottoli had been terrified to leave her job.
Getting a new job would have meant a new health care plan— one that probably wouldn’t have covered her, since her cancer would have been considered a dreaded, “pre-existing condition.”
The new health care law means she won’t be denied care, Marottoli said.
DeLauro — who had met Marottoli in a New Haven restaurant where the Branford resident implored the Congresswoman to pass a reform bill — called her after the legislation passed.
“I said, “I love you, Rosa,” Marattoli said.
Upon taking the stage to accept her nomination, an enthusiastic DeLauro thanked her supporters and started talking health care.
“I am proud to serve in a Congress that made health care reform a reality,” she said.
DeLauro said creating jobs — American manufacturing jobs specifically, would be a priority if elected to an eleventh term.
“In short, we need to move away from being a nation that simply buys things and go back to being a nation that builds things,” DeLauro said.
The Congresswoman also said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is helping to stop the blood-letting in the U.S. job market.
Some 290,000 jobs have been added to the economy in the last month, DeLauro said.
“We must keep pushing to create an economic recovery we can count on and create dependable jobs and businesses,” she said. “Our recovery should never just be measured by the liquidity of banks and the size of corporate bonuses, but by the quality of our jobs and the health of our families.”
The nominating convention was held in Seymour because the town, which is on the fringe of the third district, has seen a number of Democrats recently elected, First Selectman Paul Roy pointed out.
Roy himself was elected in November after defeating a Republican who had been in power for 12 years.
State Rep. Theresa Conroy was elected in 2008 — the first time a Democrat held that office in a decade, Roy said.
“The Town of Seymour is solidly in the Democratic column,” Roy said.