George Logan, a Republican, is challenging Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes for the fifth congressional district seat representing much of western Connecticut. Outside forecasters have rated the district as one of the most likely to flip from Democratic to Republican control in the fall election.
Logan talked with CT Examiner about his desire to remove federal regulations as a way of making it easier for businesses to operate in Connecticut, the importance of parents having a greater say in what their children learn in school and the need to support police officers and create programs that would bring job opportunities to young people.
He also talked about immigration, and his desire to craft policies that would secure the Southern border, particularly with regard to the transport of fentanyl, and to create an immigration system that brings in immigrants with skill sets needed in the U.S. economy.
Prior to running for Congress, Logan served as State Senator from 2017 to 2021. He studied engineering at Trinity College and the University of Hartford before going to work for the private water company Aquarion.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
CTEx: What are the issues that you believe to be most important in the fifth congressional district?
Logan: The 41 towns of the fifth congressional district – we have a very diverse community. We have larger cities, urban areas like Waterbury and the city of Danbury and New Britain and Meriden, and we also have suburban and rural areas. But what I’m finding and what’s common throughout the entire district are the top issues that I’m hearing.
Affordability – folks are having a harder and harder time just being able to afford things like food and groceries. Inflation is affecting everyone in the district — in different ways, but it’s affecting folks. High gas prices. Folks are going out to eat less. I know some folks who are not using their trucks or certain vehicles because of that cost of fuel. Even things like baby formula is still an issue even today. I know it kind of blew up as a crisis and you don’t hear about it quite as much now, but it’s still for a lot of parents a major issue.
I’m also hearing folks concerned about safety in a general sense, and crime in many of our areas is a problem. Areas that did not see or hear about crime much are now seeing an increase in the rash of car thefts. They’re hearing about burglaries more. Law enforcement, they are out in the community and folks feel that they’re patrolling less.
Certainly our law enforcement feel like the community may not fully be behind them like they used to, or at least those folks in public office. We’ve got to back our law enforcement. I’m also hearing in the fifth congressional district — the opioid epidemic. It’s a problem. It’s still a problem. It’s a bigger problem than it was before, and fentanyl seems to be a driving factor for the increase in the opioid overdoses and deaths. And so I look at the Southern border. A lot of folks in the district link the crisis with the Southern border, and there’s a notion — I believe it as well — that this fentanyl in particular is coming through our Southern borders unabated, unchecked, and it’s affecting all of our communities throughout Connecticut, but certainly the nation as well.
Education is also something that I’m hearing a lot about. A lot of parents feel like they’re being kind of boxed out of their child’s education. And what I mean by that, well, parents just want to feel that they have a say in what their children are being taught in school. I’m of the opinion that young people K-12 should be taught how to think and not so much what to think.
What do I mean by that? How to think — teach them the basics in terms of reading comprehension and English and math. Open them up to the areas of science. I also believe things like the arts are important and sports are important. Those are the areas I want education to be focused on. And right now parents feel like they’re being told from the top down, at the state level and at the federal level, what’s important for their children at the local level.
So look, I don’t believe this is a local teacher’s issue. I believe it’s a governmental administration issue. We have some very dedicated teachers in the district — great teachers. And I think they, working with the parents, knowing their communities, should have more of a say in terms of the lesson plans that their students are experiencing.
CTEx: What role does the federal government have in improving education in Connecticut?
Logan: I think, one, funding and finances is important — and prioritizing where those funds go. I think there’s been too much of an emphasis on a federal level on standardized tests for our kids. I think it’s had the opposite effect of the intended purpose, because what’s happening is that a lot of the expertise and creativity of our school administrators at the more local level, and our teachers and the parents having a say — I think it’s suffering a bit because I believe that the focus is now more on the standardized scores.
Funds are being driven towards those efforts and there’s less available for some of these other areas that I believe will help to enhance students and help them to grow and encourage them to think and open their minds and eyes to new things. And again, it includes reading comprehension, it includes math, but it also includes some of the softer subjects in terms of the arts.
I think sports in terms of team building, I think is important as well. And a lot of that has gone away. I’m 53 years old. I graduated from a high school back in 1987, but growing up, there were lots of programs out there for young people, particularly in the urban areas, similar to the urban area that I grew up in. Boys and Girls clubs, YMCAs. And now those types of programs — they’re struggling. And even where we have the YMCA and Boys and Girls clubs, there aren’t as many resources available for them to help.
I think we need to encourage individual giving and corporate giving for some of these types of programs. but I also think that the kids need to have a place to go in terms of school and after school programs. And I think the public school system plays a part of that as well.
I’m also open, in terms of education, to looking at other models to help. School choice is something that I support. Part of this campaign is I need to show folks the differences between me and my opponent. And when it comes to education, when it comes to school choice, I’m in favor of school choice. My opponent is not in favor of school choice. I believe that money should follow the child. My opponent doesn’t believe that.
So I believe that each town, with help from the state and the federal government, has a certain amount of money allocated to each child. I believe the parents should have a status as whether kids go to the local public school or to the local charter school or the local magnet school. And I even go as far as saying the local parochial school. I believe that competition for students will only improve our public school system so we can get to a level where parents will want to send their kids to the public schools. And I also think that that’s a way to force the administration to utilize more the expertise of the teachers, make sure that the parents have a say, because they’re trying to attract these students.
CTEx: What could the federal government be doing to make Connecticut a more affordable place to live?
Biden-Harris, supported by Nancy Pelosi and John Hayes, have passed these massive spending packages that have directly led to the increase in the costs of goods and services: Build Back Better, and the Green New Deal. All these things would drive inflation even further — even the latest spending package that came across $739 billion dollars, almost a trillion dollars in new spending and new taxes focused on green initiatives when we are, I believe, we are in a recession. I believe we need to prioritize where we lead our efforts. And I believe we should be doing more in terms of affordability issues, and passing another $739 billion spending package at this point in time is not the way to go.
Also, gas prices are at an all time high. I mean, sure, there’s ebbs and dips and you might see the gas prices dip a little one week compared to the previous week. But if you look at gas prices last year, compared to this year — they’re way off the charts. And I believe that the policies that come out of Washington do matter. And one of the first things that the Biden administration did once he became President was, he stopped all of our efforts for energy independence. He killed the Keystone pipeline, and now we’re reliant on energy — oil and natural gas — from places like Saudi Arabia and China and Russia to some extent.
We need to go back to achieving energy independence first. I do believe that renewable energy is a part of the long-term solution, but as an engineer, I like to do things in a step by step fashion. First, we need energy independence where we don’t need to rely on any other nations for our energy needs. And from there, we control the cost of energy that our citizens and residents in the United States are paying as we work towards utilizing renewable energy.
I also believe that the way that you get out of a recession, the way that you build a strong, healthy economy is that we need businesses to be growing, to be flourishing. Regulations against businesses and entrepreneurs is stifling growth. I want to encourage business growth. I want more people working, paying taxes, and I think that’s the way that we can sustain a healthy economy for the long term.
Businesses are not as apt here in Connecticut — because of Connecticut regulations and federal regulations — to grow. I’m talking to these manufacturers, I’m talking to these businesses. They’re constantly looking over their shoulder for when the next tax increase is coming.
I want businesses to be planning to expand, not to constrict and hire less people. Also, there’s the issue of training. When you talk about manufacturing and other areas, we need trained, skilled workers. That ties in with the education and inspiring kids K through 12 and young adults and young people to try to advance their careers through learning a different trade or occupation. And I think the federal government can play a role in that in terms of supporting those programs and services that’ll help us to achieve that
There is a way to do this. The federal government does play a part, and I think that we can do that in a way that’s not leaving residents in the fifth congressional district or elsewhere reliant on the government directly to maintain their way of life. I want smaller government. I want government to just help to make sure that things are in order and that we’re safe and kind of get out of the way so that businesses, and entrepreneurs, small, medium, large businesses can thrive. And that’s the way that we can maintain our economy in a sustainable way into the future.
CTEx: Since many regulations come from the state level, are there specific ways that the federal government could help businesses?
Certainly in terms of what we’re looking at in terms of environmental laws. Federal laws, when it comes to how it affects worker’s compensation — although mostly state-driven, it is impacted by the federal government as well. Providing incentives from the federal government for state government to be less intrusive for businesses. Directing more money towards training skilled workers. More funds towards helping entrepreneurs get a leg up or a startup in terms of lower interest rates for businesses. The federal government certainly has a say in that. If you pass good policies and interest rates come down, it helps businesses. All of those things are interrelated.
CTEx: I know that here in Connecticut, restaurants and trades are reporting difficulty in filling jobs. Do you see a change in immigration policies as a solution to that? Or are there other solutions?
I think the immigration problem is certainly part of the solution. There’s no one panacea, one action that we can take to help the situation in terms of fixing our economy, but certainly fixing our immigration problem is an issue. The current rules for folks to immigrate to the United States is certainly burdensome for certain folks that are trying to come to the United States.
My parents immigrated to the United States of America in the 1960s, so immigration is very important to me. I want to go to Washington to fix our immigration problem. We do not have a system right now that works for many folks. It needs to be fixed. The current administration, the current folks that are down there, they’re not the ones to get it done.
I want to go down there to help straighten out that problem, but we have to start first with secure borders. So we need to fix the border crisis first. Fix the border crisis, and then fix our immigration policies so people have the opportunity to come to the United States either, you know, to work part of the year and they go back to their countries, or for those who want to work towards becoming residents of the United States, that’s a different path as well.
I’ve spoken to many folks. I have family members in Guatemala and other parts of the world. Not everybody wants to live in the United States of America. There are some folks that want to help and work in the United States of America.
There are others that want to live here as well. There should be a direct path, especially if they have something to offer our communities and our society, whether it’s technologically speaking in terms of their profession, or whether it’s skilled labor. Again, if we have areas in our state where we’re having a shortage of those type of workers – Yes. Smart immigration, I think, is the way that we need to go right now. We don’t have that in Washington. I want to bring different ideas, different solutions for fixing our immigration problem to Washington.
CTEx: Is there a role for the federal government in ensuring the availability of affordable housing for Connecticut residents?
Yeah, again, it’s all tied together. The issue of affordability affects young people. Like my kids — my son just graduated from college, in May of last year. He’s working outside of the state. He’s out in Massachusetts. My daughter’s about to get into the workforce, she’s a senior in college. The issue is about affordability. I want young people, young couples, young families, to be able to do what me and my wife were able to do in terms of buying a home and raising a family, but the cost of goods and services and cars and gasoline and home prices — all of those things are affecting the ability for young people in particular to purchase homes.
Now, you fix the inflation problem, the cost of materials, the cost of goods, the cost of services — whether it’s plumbers, HVAC, carpenters, materials themselves, all of that would help to bring down home prices. And not to mention we want a healthy economy where businesses are competing for workers, and that’ll help drive up wages that folks are receiving. So you help drive up wages, you bring down inflation, so the cost of goods and services are less. And that combination, I believe, is what’s going to help, particularly young people, be able to afford homes. It’ll help seniors to be able to stay in their home — seniors that are on fixed income so they can’t afford the inflation that we’re experiencing right now. All of those things, I think, working together will make a great difference in making housing more affordable for folks.
CTEx: What do you see as the federal government’s role in addressing crime?
When it comes to crime and gun violence, the issue, in my opinion, is centered around opportunities. People need to have opportunities to earn a living. And so when you have weak leadership coming from Washington, where we’re not supporting law enforcement, or at least being hesitant about supporting law enforcement, that gives a bad signal, I believe, to folks who are looking into a life of crime.
We need to support law enforcement at the local level, state level and the federal level. We need to make sure that we pass laws that protect our citizens, but also help and protect our law enforcement and our first responders as well. When it comes to crime, if folks are more focused on raising their family and they have an opportunity to work, I am convinced that people naturally want to be able to work and they want to be able to sustain their families and be independent.
We need to provide that opportunity. That’s where free enterprise and equal opportunity for the workforce, for businesses, comes into play. The federal government’s role for helping the crime problem is to make sure that we have a vibrant and healthy economy. That is what’s going to help — and in terms of gun violence, whether you’re talking about mass shootings or violence in the urban areas, I would argue it’s more economically-driven than anything else.
I think mental health is a huge issue. And we need to focus more attention on handling mental health issues and just do more to make sure that folks that are buying and carrying a weapon … I’m for background checks in a reasonable manner, but I do not want to take guns away from law abiding citizens.
We need to focus on what the issues are at hand. I want to go to Washington to support the US constitution, not to tear it apart. I believe the second amendment is just as important as the first amendment. And I just think it’s important that we are very careful in terms of how we handle the increase in violence and the increase in gun violence.
CTEx: Do you support the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson? If you are elected to congress, what would your approach be to abortion and reproductive rights?
Logan: I’m Connecticut-focused. Overturning Roe v. Wade doesn’t affect Connecticut.
I support a woman’s right to choose, but I believe it should be safe, legal and rare. I do not support late term abortions out of convenience. I’m not talking about when there’s a medical emergency or those sorts of things.
I’m adamantly opposed to late term abortions. My opponent supports late term abortions. I believe in parental notification if a minor is seeking an abortion. My opponent does not support that.
My opponent believes that a 13 or 14 or 15 year girl should be able to go out and have a major medical procedure like an abortion without any parental notification at all. I think that’s wrong. So those are the differences there.
Again, I support women’s right to choose. But obviously, as with everything else, there’s always caveats of minutes to that.
Why do you think outside forecasters have rated the fifth district one of the most likely to change from Democrat to Republican control?
I believe, particularly in the fifth congressional district, that there are many moderate Republicans, Independent party members and unaffiliated voters that want a change and want our state and our country to go more conservative as opposed to going more liberal, further left-leaning.
You’ve got a lot of working-class folks in the district, folks with very strong high family values. And when they hear what we hear and see coming out of Washington, what the focus is on, it doesn’t align with what we’re experiencing here in the fifth congressional district. Again, affordability, high gas prices, education, They’re doing everything possible down in Washington — the Democrat party leadership — to focus on more emotional issues and not talk about their voting record, their bad policies and take responsibility for what we are all experiencing now, here in our economy and here in our communities, in our neighborhoods. Economy in terms of inflation, our communities and our neighborhoods in terms of the increase in crime and lawlessness, in a sense.
And they don’t have the solution. The current Democratic leadership in Washington do not have the solutions to our problems. They are not the ones to fix the current situation that we’re in now. They are there to maintain the status quo. And my opponent wants to go back to Washington for another two years to help the Biden Harris administration maintain the status quo, where I want to pull it and, uh, change it into a different direction.
One that’s more focused on our economy and on inflation and on safety and on making sure that people have the opportunities to work and advance their own personal careers and their families and their children’s.