Congressional candidates ventilate important issues in Staples library


Photo by Mia Bomback '25

Jayme Stevenson gives her opening statement.

Jim Himes, the Democratic candidate, and Jayme Stevenson, Republican candidate, for the election of Connecticut representatives visited the Staples library Nov. 8 to answer students’ questions regarding hot topics in the midst of their election. Both candidates were given two minutes of opening statements each, and then were asked the highschooler’s questions. Topics discussed included gun laws, climate change, abortion, education and national security. 

Many students, including Sorel Kennedy ’25, had the opportunity to hear their state’s  representatives discussing issues that will have an impact to their lives.

“I felt that the representatives did a great job of answering questions thoroughly and definitely didn’t shy away from controversial topics,” Kennedy ’25 said. 

Following Himes, Stevenson spoke of her service as Darien’s First Selectman for 10 years, and in her opening statement illustrated her view of the intense polarity in politics today. 

“We are so divided as a nation, sometimes we’re divided as families, and maybe even as friends because of people’s political views,” Stevenson said. “We have to get ourselves back to a place where we can share our ideas, not be afraid to share our ideas, and to disagree respectfully.”

She then moved on to answer questions concerning the issues of inflation, Fetanyl, border control, early voting, abortion, college debt cancellation plan, energy sources and finally gun laws

“I believe strongly in any and all school security measures,” Stevenson said. 

During Himes’ portion, he was asked the same student generated questions regarding guns and school safety.

“What we can do at the federal level is help with resources,” Himes said. “And whoever purchases a firearm in whatever context needs to have a thorough background check.”

Jim Himes answers questions during his question and answer portion. (Photo By Mia Bomback ’25)

This specific issue struck a connection with some students at the debate, especially after the recent lockdown.

“Hearing the representatives talk about gun laws and protection in schools was a really relevant topic,” Avery Johnson ’25 said. “Being students, we have to live through lock downs and possibly being in danger.” 

Himes spoke before Stevenson at this event, answering student’s concerns about climate change. Other topics Himes touched on include national security threats, school suicide rates, energy, and national debt. 

“I want to highlight this for you guys, because this is the problem you’re inheriting when my generation is long gone,” Himes said. “We made the biggest investment downpayment ever in addressing climate change.” 

Overall, the representatives’ visit to the Staples library allowed students the opportunity to listen to and introduce them to the future of politics, many of the students being soon eligible in upcoming elections. 

“To be honest I had no idea who either of the candidates were before class that day, so seeing them speak was a great introduction to both of their campaigns,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think I would have been nearly as invested in what they were saying if I had read it in an article as opposed to seeing them in person.”