Former Darien first selectman seeks GOP nomination for 4th Congressional District

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Former Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson poses at Town Hall in Darien, Conn. Thursday, June 24, 2021.

Former Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson poses at Town Hall in Darien, Conn. Thursday, June 24, 2021.

Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticut Media

DARIEN — A former Darien first selectman, Jayme Stevenson, is seeking the GOP nomination to run for the 4th District, which is currently held by Congressman Jim Himes.

Greenwich resident Himes, a Democrat, who has held the seat since 2009. The Fourth District covers most of Fairfield County and some of New Haven County

In a conversation with Hearst Connecticut Media Sunday, Stevenson said she has been contemplating the run for several years, but what finally triggered it was the birth of her second grandchild in October. She also has a granddaughter, who is 4, and spoke of the impact the pandemic has had on her.

“For half of my granddaughter’s life, she had a mask on her face. Her social and emotional development has been challenged,” said Stevenson, a mother of five. “Not being able to got to preschool, her parents losing their jobs — I simply can’t stand by and watch policy makers in Washington who are so disconnected from the realities of what people have to live with every day.”

She said her years in Darien politics,, along with roles including with the regional Council of Governments, have given her the skills and an understanding of people “in a real hands-on way.”

“I think it’s super important to have that mindset in our leaders in Washington,” she said. “They’ve just become disconnected and out of touch.”

Since retiring from her first selectman role last year, she has “simply been horrified by the tenor and the divisiveness and the partisanship that’s coming out of Washington,” she said.

Stevenson, who is 60, said America today is “unrecognizable” to her in relation to the America that she grew up in, “with the sense of hope and opportunity,” she said.

“People are living in fear, they can’t put food on the table. Inflation is rampant, there’s the threat of a world war. We have crises at our border. We have violent crime across our country and in our streets. We have an anti-police movement. We have culture wars going on.”

She said everywhere one turns, “there’s chaos” and she doesn’t want her children nor her grandchildren to live in that world.

If elected, she said she would serve as a “calm, steady voice” in important policy making decisions. Connecticut residents are “no better off” than they were when “our current congressman” took office, she said.

She said she’ll bring different skills and a different temperament to the job, and “will be a bridge builder in Washington in the same way that I have been here in Darien and across the state.”

Since stepping down as first selectman, Stevenson said she’s been very active in causes that she said are close to her heart.

She’s on the board of directors for LifeBridge Community Services in Bridgeport, a mental health and youth development organization serving vulnerable communities in Bridgeport.

She has moved to the advisory board for The Rowan Center, formerly called the Center for Sexual Assault and Crises Counseling in Stamford. She has recently joined the board of Stamford Emergency Medical Services.

For the past 15 months, she has been working with friends who have created a new Connecticut start-up business out of Willimantic, called Ticoat.

Stevenson said she’s looking forward to a new challenge.

“I’m a problem solver by my nature. I’m a very strategic thinker and I think all of those skills served me very well as First Selectman and will be critical in Washington,” she said.

Several weeks ago, Dr. Michael Goldstein, a political newcomer from Greenwich who is both a doctor and a lawyer, announced he was seeking the GOP nomination to run against Himes in the 4th district.