Christopher Coutu


Christopher Coutu
Christopher D. Coutu
Connecticut State Representative from the 47th District
Incumbent
Assumed office
2008
Preceded by Jack Malone
Constituency represents Norwich, Canterbury, Sprague, Scotland
Personal details
Born August 28, 1976 (1976-08-28) (age 35)
Norwich, Connecticut
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Neringa Coutu
Children (b. 2010) Alexandria Grace Coutu
Residence Norwich
Alma mater University of Hartford, Eastern Connecticut State University, Three Rivers Community College, Air University
Religion Catholic
Website http://www.repcoutu.com/
Military service
Service/branch United States Air Force, Connecticut Air National Guard, Connecticut Army National Guard, New York Army National Guard
Years of service 1995-1998 (active)
1998-Present (reserve)
Rank Lieutenant
Technical Sergeant (14 Years)
Battles/wars Operation Southern Watch
Awards National Defense National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
Expeditionary Medal AFEMRib.svg
Humanitarian Service Humanitarian Service ribbon.svg
Outstanding Volunteer Outstanding Volunteer Service ribbon.svg

Christopher D. Coutu (born on August 28, 1976) is an American politician, currently serving as a State Representative in Connecticut. Since 2006, he serves as the only elected Republican state or federal legislative official in southeastern Connecticut, representing the state's 47th House district.

Coutu declared his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in May 2011. He will challenge third-term Congressman Joe Courtney, a Democrat, to represent Connecticut's 2nd congressional district.

Contents

Personal background

Christopher Coutu and Neringa, 2009
Christopher Coutu leaving field, after seven-day tactical infantry training, during Officer Candidate School Phase III at Fort McClellan, 2009

Christopher Coutu was born and grew up in Norwich, Connecticut.

Education

Coutu graduated from Norwich Tech High School with a certification in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in 1994. From 1998 to 2003, Coutu earned multiple university degrees, including an MBA from Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford.[1] To fund college tuition, he worked at the Mohegan Sun casino and also in social services. In his online biography, he claims he was the first in his family to earn a college degree.[2]

Military service

Coutu enlisted in the United States Air Force as an airman and completed the eight-month Avionics Guidance and Control Course at Keesler Air Force Base in 1995. He then served within the 16th Special Operations Wing out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, from 1995 to 1998.[3] After his active duty service, Coutu served in the Air National Guard from 1998 to 2008. He was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Southern Watch at the time of the September 11 attacks in 2001. In 2004, he achieved the rank of Technical Sergeant as a Journeyman Avionics Technician and a Craftsman Education and Training Manager for the 103rd Fighter Wing in East Granby, Connecticut.

In 2009, after serving in an enlisted uniform for 14 years, Coutu graduated from Officer Candidate School.[4] Coutu now serves as a Finance Officer in the Army National Guard. Coutu remains active within the veteran community as a member of the Disabled American Veterans, VFW, American Legion, ESGR and the Association of the National Guard. In 2009, Coutu led an effort to reorganize the Norwich Area Veterans Council,[5] a coalition of 20 veteran organizations in the region.

Professional career

In 1998, Coutu returned from active duty and worked at the Mohegan Sun Casino and within social services.

From 2002 to 2004, Coutu worked with his family's commercial fishing and trucking operation, Fitz-Sea.[6]

In 2004, Coutu transitioned to work as a federal GS employee within the Department of Defense's Department of Civilian Personnel Management Services[7], where he visited 300 companies from Puerto Rico to Maine and worked with management and labor union members.

Since 2007, Coutu as worked in the financial services industry as a licensed financial adviser, tax professional and disbursing officer in the NY Army National Guard. He has instructed courses in the Air Force and as an Adjunct Professor of Finance at Three Rivers Community College.

AmericanWarrior

In 2006, Coutu established AmericanWarrior.us.[8] The patriotic non-profit supports veterans and patriotic operations. The organization is supported through private donations and has coordinated and financed for 630 World War II and Korean War veterans to visit their war memorials in Washington, D.C.[9][10] Additionally, Coutu formed Operation Freedom Legacy in 2008, which brings veterans to schools and other organizations to promote patriotism, democracy, and volunteerism.[11] In 2010, AmericanWarrior established a national Welcome Home Veteran parade, "The Homecoming They Deserve" in Norwich.

Community service

In 2006, Coutu established Briansquest.com. The organization raised money for a Norwich resident named Brian L'Homme to get a guide dog.[12]

Coutu is active with multiple community organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, Sacred Heart Church, AHEPA, Taftville Volunteer Fire Department, Bully Busters, Taftville Lions, and the Greater Norwich Veterans and Winter Festival Parades. For his participation, the USAF has awarded him Outstanding Volunteer and Humanitarian medals. In 2008, Coutu received the University of Hartford's Humanitarian Award,[13] Vietnam Veterans Award,[citation needed] and the Connecticut American Legion's Americanism Award.[citation needed]

Family

Coutu married Nergina Proskute Coutu in 2004; in 2010, the couple had a daughter, Alexandria Grace.[14][15][16][17]

Political career

Coutu is active with the American Legislative Exchange Council, Grassroots East,[18] SECTer, the Greater Norwich Chamber of Commerce, and the American Council of Young Political Leaders. In 2009, he joined a delegation of five nationally elected officials to explore the culture, politics, and government of Romania and Hungary.[19]

Norwich Alderman

Coutu earned a seat as an Alderman on the Norwich City Council in 2007.[20][21] During his tenure on the city council, he served on several committees, including the Board of Zoning Appeals, Mohegan Park Advisory, Public Works and Rehabilitation Review. He was the chairman for the Administrative Planning for Economic Development Committee.[22] On February 7, 2008 Coutu stated, "It’s the taxpayers’ money,” and led a bi-partisan effort to cap the annual tax increase.[23]

Connecticut House of Representatives

He was first elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives[24] in 2008. Coutu's 2008 state house victory was a rare[25] victory for New England Republicans, capturing a previously Democratic seat from a 14-year incumbent, Jack Malone.[26] He won the election 54% (5,449) to 46% (4,605).[27] In 2010, despite being outspent by 33%,[28] he earned a second term with a 58% to 42% victory over SEIU organizer and SEBAC 2010 President Cathy Osten.[29][30]

As representative of Connecticut's 47th district, Coutu serves the City of Norwich and rural eastern towns of Canterbury, Scotland and Sprague,[31] which are located in New London and Windham counties.

Coutu is the ranking member for the Insurance and Real Estate Committee in the Connecticut House of Representatives.[32][33] He also serves on the Veterans and Commerce committees.[34] He previously served on the Judiciary, Human Services and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees.[35]

Since 2009, Coutu participated in or hosted three dozen forums on energy,[36] sexting,[37] capital punishment, post-traumatic stress disorder, and the state budget.[38][39][40]

2012 congressional campaign

Coutu announced that he was exploring a run for Congress in April 2011.[41] Six weeks later, he officially announced he would be a candidate for Connecticut's 2nd congressional district, running against Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney.[42][43][44][45][46][47]

Connecticut Common Sense Coalition

In 2009, Coutu established a group called the Common Sense for Connecticut Coalition to promote fiscally conservative Republican candidates for office, citing complaints with the state government's fiscal policy.[48][49][50][51] The coalition's mission statement emphasizes cutting state spending to balance the budget, including consolidating, privatizing, or outsourcing government services and targeting so-called "budget gimmicks". The CSCC's efforts contributed to the highest number of newly elected officials within one party since the removal of the party lever in 1986. [52]

Political stances

Connecticut Constitution

In 2009, the veto-proof Democratic majority proposed Connecticut Raised Bill 1098,[53] which mandated independent committees to run religious organizations' finances. Coutu joined thousands in a protest rally and challenged this legislation as a member of the Judiciary Committee. Coutu called it "an embarrassment that it's even made it this far."[54]

Coutu signed on to a 2010 resolution denouncing federal mandates, claiming they "squeezed budgets of cities and towns" and claiming they contravened the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[55][56]

In May 2011, Coutu joined a group of Republican state legislators in challenging Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy's budget in court. The plaintiffs claimed the budget was unconstitutional because it was signed into law with a $2 billion deficit.[57][58] The lawsuit was thrown out at the Connecticut Superior Court on June 24.[59]

Fiscal policy

Coutu is one of the most fiscally conservative members of the Connecticut House of Representatives.[60][61] He has been a notable critic of Connecticut's fiscal policy, which he claims inhibits job creation.[62][63] Coutu assisted and proposed a Connecticut no-tax budget.[64]

In 2011, he proposed removing the Small Business Entity Tax for businesses with 10 or fewer employees.[65][66] and to cap bonding at 10% of total budget.[67]

On October 26th 2011, Coutu cast the lone no vote [68] against a $1.1 billion piece of legislation.[69] He stated, "How can we raise taxes on all families by $800 annually to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to a few private companies."

Christopher Coutu at a rally in Norwich in 2009.

Gun control

In 2009, Coutu joined a bipartisan coalition that successfully challenged legislation that banned large-capacity ammunition magazines[70] and firearm microstamping.[71] He cosponsored mail in permit registration and deer hunting with a revolver. In 2010, he received an A rating from the National Rifle Association and was endorsed by the CT Citizen Defense League.[72][73]

Election funding

Coutu is a critic of public funding for political campaigns in Connecticut and claims to be the only Connecticut Republican who publicly supports the Citizens' Election Program.[74] He was one of the first candidates to qualify for state funding in 2008 and 2010,[75] but testified in 2008 that much of this funding should be cut and has expressed concerns that the system could be abused during statewide races, including in the approval of a $3 million increase in funding for the Malloy campaign during the 2010 gubernatorial election.[76][77]

Education

In 2010, Coutu was part of a bipartisan effort with 60 co-sponsors, 12 mayors, and a dozen organizations to support a pilot student scholarship program for students from low- and middle-income families. The May 7 vote, which failed 98-44, was the first relating to student scholarships in more than 20 years.[78][79] In 2011, he proposed new student scholarship legislation to include special needs schools.[80]

Unfunded mandates

As the ranking member on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Coutu has criticized what he refers to as "unfunded mandates" passed by the state legislature.[81]

Coutu signed on to a 2010 resolution denouncing mandates, claiming they "squeezed budgets of cities and towns".[82]

Veterans

In 2010, Coutu served as the ranking member of the Select Committee on Veterans. He is one of 62 state elected officials in America who serve in the Armed Forces.[83]

Disabled

In 2010, Coutu, who was a Personal Care Assistant, joined a group of disabled citizens to challenge HB 6486.[84] In October 2011, Governor Daniel Malloy signed Executive Orders #9 and #10 to bypass the legislature and establish a way for unionization of Personal Care Assistants and Day Care Providers.[85] In response Coutu formed an online petition to support citizens with disabilities.[86]

References

  1. ^ University of Hartford, Christopher Coutu 03
  2. ^ Official Rep. Christopher Coutu bio
  3. ^ Bio Coutu 2010 Exploratory Committee
  4. ^ August 17, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Promoted
  5. ^ Norwich Bulletin, News Maker of the Day, Coutu Vice Commander
  6. ^ Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website: About Chris
  7. ^ Department of Civilian Personnel Management Services
  8. ^ AmericanWarrior, About us
  9. ^ The Resident, AmericanWarrior Makes Sixth Trip to WWII Memorial
  10. ^ November 11, 2009, The Resident, Veterans Travel to DC
  11. ^ AmericanWarrior.us Operation Freedom Legacy
  12. ^ June 16, 2006, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich Man Seeks Funds for Assistance Dog
  13. ^ October 22, 2008, University of Hartford, Anchor Awards
  14. ^ January 5, 2011 Coutu's Baby Recovering From Open Heart Surgery
  15. ^ January 10, 2011 A Gift From Dad
  16. ^ January 10, 2011 State Rep's Baby Home Following Open Heart Surgery
  17. ^ January 5, 2011 Legislator Takes Oath from Boston Hospital
  18. ^ January 24, 2011 Norwich Bulletin, Grassroots East to Meet Friday
  19. ^ October 13, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Visits Eastern Europe
  20. ^ November 6, 2007, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich Election Results
  21. ^ December 5, 2007, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich City Council
  22. ^ January 15, 2008, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich Development Panel Starts Work
  23. ^ February 8 2008, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich aldermen hold special discussion over possible tax cap
  24. ^ November 5, 2008, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Unseats Malone
  25. ^ November 6, 2008, The Day, Upset Election Loss
  26. ^ RepCoutu.com
  27. ^ Secretary of State Official Election Results for 2008
  28. ^ Follow the Money
  29. ^ []http://www.theday.com/article/20101103/NWS01/311039847 November 3, 2010, The Day, Coutu defeats Osten]
  30. ^ October 25, 2010, The Day, Coutu, Osten 47th House District Race
  31. ^ Official Rep. Christopher Coutu
  32. ^ Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website: Committees
  33. ^ January 24, 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Focuses on Business and Jobs
  34. ^ January 21, 2011 Coutu focuses on Jobs and Small Business
  35. ^ December 18, 2008, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu lands major committee assignments
  36. ^ March 20, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu & CL&P Hosting Energy Workshop
  37. ^ November 19, 2009, The Day, Sexting, Parents warned about cellphone sexting
  38. ^ December 14, 2009, The Day, Forum tonight on budget
  39. ^ March 29 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Budget Forum
  40. ^ February 24, 2010, Norwich Bulletin, Eastern CT Business Leaders
  41. ^ March 22, 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich Legislator Considers 2012 Campaign
  42. ^ Official Congressional Christopher Coutu
  43. ^ May 9th 2011, The Reminder, Coutu announces for Congress
  44. ^ May 8, 2011, The Day, A Proud Conservative
  45. ^ May 6, 2011, The Day, Coutu Plans to Challenge Courtney
  46. ^ May 5th 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Running For Congress
  47. ^ June 19, 2011, Face the State, Coutu Predicts State Democrats will Lead Courtney to Defeat
  48. ^ November 7, 2010, The Day, Next Time Candidates Could be Hard to Find
  49. ^ October 10, 2011 Coutu Leads Common Sense
  50. ^ The Day, Norwich Republican Has Lofty Goals
  51. ^ Norwich Bulletin, Republican Victory lifts Eastern CT Conservatives
  52. ^ The Mirror, GOP Gains 14 in State House
  53. ^ SB1098 1st Amendment Religion
  54. ^ Tracy Simmons, Waterbury Republican American, Catholics Comdemn Bill
  55. ^ February 17, 2010, Coutu Fighting for Cities and Towns
  56. ^ Coutu 10th Amendment
  57. ^ May 7 2011, The Day, Coutu Among Plaintiffs in Legal Challenge
  58. ^ May 6 2011, The Associated Press, Connecticut conservatives suing to block state budget
  59. ^ "Judge dismisses Republican budget lawsuit". Eyewitness News Channel 3. 24 June 2011. http://www.wfsb.com/story/14971778/judge-dismisses-republican-budget-lawsuit. Retrieved 2 August 2011. 
  60. ^ December 14, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu: State Spending is Unsustainable
  61. ^ February 25, 2010, The Day, Coutu: Stamp out legislators' costly district mailings
  62. ^ September 1, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu:State Hostle to Businesses
  63. ^ Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website, Coutu:State Budget Rating at Risk
  64. ^ April 20, 2011, JC Reindl, GOP Touts Budget with No New Taxes
  65. ^ State Legislators Need to Help Small Business
  66. ^ Coutu Promotes Pro Business Forum
  67. ^ Connecticut Bond Rating Decrease
  68. ^ November 13, 2011, The Day, I'm proud to be the 1
  69. ^ October 26, 2011, Hartford Current, Lawmakers Approve Sweeping Jobs Bill
  70. ^ March 23 2011, Coutu Testifies Against SB 1094
  71. ^ Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website: Coutu protects First Amendment
  72. ^ 2010 CCDL Endorsments
  73. ^ NRA 2010 Connecticut Ratings
  74. ^ February 12 2009, Public Campaign, Chris Coutu Clean Election Profile
  75. ^ February 12, 2009, Clean Election Profile
  76. ^ An Amendment for One Man
  77. ^ August 13, 2010 House Overrides Veto for Public Financing
  78. ^ May 7, 2010 Coutu's Student Scholarship Vote First in 18 Years
  79. ^ Coutu Pushes Student Scholarship Legislation
  80. ^ HB 5675 Student Scholarship Legislation
  81. ^ November 1, 2009, The Day, Coutu: "Business as Usual" mentality won over real change
  82. ^ February 17, 2010, Coutu Fighting for Cities and Towns
  83. ^ Norwich Bulletin, Vets who left school can receive diplomas
  84. ^ March 8th 2011, Coutu Testifies Against HB6486
  85. ^ November 10, 2011, The Mirror, GOP Hearing Challenges Malloy's Executive Order on Home Care Attendants
  86. ^ RepCoutu.com, Coutu forms Petition to Support those with Special Needs

Sources

  • Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website - Biography [1]
  • Official Christopher Coutu 2010 [2]
  • Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website - Coutu in the news [3]
  • Feb 25th, 2009, The Day, Coutu: Stamp out legislators' costly district mailings [4]
  • December 14, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu challenging state spending addiction [5]
  • December 12, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Christopher Coutu Challenging Business as Usual [6]
  • November 11, 2009, The Resident, Coutu letter to community [7]
  • November 10, 2009, Official Rob Simmons for Senate, Veterans Steering Committee [8]
  • September 2009, WXLM 104.7, Radio interview Christopher Coutu [9]
  • March 2009, Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website, Video Coutu protecting the first amendment [10]
  • Public Campaign, A clean election Candidate Chris Coutu [11]
  • Official Christopher Coutu exploratory committee [12]
  • Norwich Bulletin [13]
  • Amazing Climates, Coutu interviewed for student mentoring [14]
  • Official Lt Governor Fedele, AmericanWarrior Day of Honor Flight [15]

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