Mark Donka of Hartford says he is a hard working, middle class, average kind of guy.
"I'm a dad, I'm a grandfather, my daughters have been through college. As far as me, I like to go hunting, I like to go fishing, I play golf or try, and just, you know, enjoy life and time with my family," Donka said.
But this police officer of 30 years, who currently works for the Woodstock Police Dept., is putting at least a little family time on hold to challenge Democratic Congressman Peter Welch.
"We keep trying to finance everything and we keep borrowing money to do it. And a country can't continue like that," he said. "Look at Greece. Look at Spain. Look at the countries over there. They are starting to fold because they are borrowing too much and they can't keep up. Do we want to be another Greece?"
The Republican says the U.S. needs to balance its books starting with reform of programs like Social Security.
"Nobody is going to get thrown out in the cold, but we do need to reform some of our entitlement programs. We are giving money away. We are becoming almost a socialist type of government where everyone is being supported," Donka said.
He also says now is not the time to raise taxes, but he acknowledges he has an uphill battle spreading his message.
Donka's opponent, Peter Welch, is a popular three-term incumbent. Welch will likely have more money and a better organization heading into the November election. But Donka says Washington politicians are out of touch with those who he says he represents.
"Not many of them have sat around the kitchen table and tried to decide do I pay my taxes or do I pay my mortgage? I'm a working-class guy. I've been there. I put two girls through college. I am still paying college loans. I'm in debt. But I understand that," Donka said.
And Donka says he'll be going door to door meeting voters. He equates the race to David versus Goliath.
"Yes, it definitely is, but just remember who won that battle," Donka said.
We reached out to Congressman Welch's office looking for comment on the upcoming race, but they declined.
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