The 4th Congressional District GOP primary is next week. Where do the candidates stand on the big questions?

STAMFORD — Republican voters will decide next week whether former Darien first selectman and party-endorsed candidate Jayme Stevenson or doctor, lawyer and Greenwich resident Michael Goldstein will be U.S. Rep. Jim Himes’ GOP opponent in November.

Republican delegates overwhelmingly supported Stevenson at a convention earlier this year, voting 156-18 in her favor. Goldstein gathered enough signatures from registered Republicans to force a primary election.

He needed about 2,000 signatures — the equivalent of 2 percent of the total number of registered Republicans in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District — to force the primary. Goldstein said he collected several hundred more signatures than required.

The winner of Tuesday’s election will face Himes on Nov. 8. Himes, a Democrat, joined Congress in 2009 after defeating Republican Chris Shays.

The 4th District includes Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, part of Shelton, Stamford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton.

Hearst Connecticut Media sent the following questions to Goldstein and Stevenson to answer ahead of the primary.

Michael Goldstein

Why did you decide to run for Congress now?

As a physician who has had a career of service to others, I felt a calling to apply my skills to change government from the inside as I have spent a lifetime advocating from the outside. We are at a financial and healthcare crossroads, and a doctor who understands administrative law is needed in Congress to address these issues. I am a small business owner that understands the issues facing small businesses.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

I would secure our borders that have resulted in the infiltration of criminal activity and trafficking that kills our children with fentanyl and stop the mantra that crime pays.

I would restore American energy independence and work on ending the dependence on foreign oil by re-establishing the drill permits and the Keystone XL Pipeline. This will be the fastest way to end inflation and the crippling energy costs that affect everything. It also reduces the greenhouse gasses from oil tanker transportation on our oceans.

I would end mandates and other restrictions on American freedoms. I am so concerned about the mental health of our children as a result of the shutdowns. Ending these mandates will make children an absolute priority and ensure that they can be children again.

What distinguishes you from your opponent?

I have not been in the political arena. I am also not the choice of the Republican Party. I have the support of everyday Americans that just want to feed their families, put gas in the tank and heat their homes without going bankrupt.

I have the support of parents that want to be able to make the best decisions for their children's future (both health and education) without being canceled. I have not supported vaccine mandates or promoted vaccines. I am also a Constitutional conservative that believes in our Second Amendment.

Jayme Stevenson

Why did you decide to run for Congress now?

Current federal policies are having disastrous consequences for our state and nation. Connecticut needs new Congressional leadership that has “boots on the ground” experience addressing our most pressing concerns and will be a fierce advocate for improving our quality of life.

After 10 years of serving my community, I retired to lend my experience to Congress. I firmly believe in term limits as they provide opportunity for new leadership with fresh ideas and motivation. Leaders who are unafraid to do what is right.

As a local, state and regional leader, I worked to create public policy, find solutions and build consensus on issues that impact the welfare of Connecticut’s residents and businesses. This meant having common-sense discussions and partnering on projects and policies that addressed infrastructure, transportation and government services working more efficiently for our cities and towns. We need to prioritize good governance over party politics.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?

Families are struggling to put food on the table and pay for childcare and utility bills. Reckless federal spending, overdependence on foreign manufacturing, broken supply chains, labor shortages and the administration’s war on the American fossil fuel industry is responsible for increased costs of essential goods and services.

We need immediate common-sense solutions on government spending, energy policy, infrastructure investments, public safety and education to strengthen our economy and improve affordability. Revitalizing the job market is critical for business success, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Americans deserve to feel safe in their homes and communities. I will implement thoughtful public safety policy that supports officers, recognizes the reality of scarce resources while providing sufficient funding to be effective and responsive. I will be a champion for law enforcement to invest in the staff, equipment and training needed to keep our communities safe.

What distinguishes you from your opponent?

My experience has provided insight to understand pressing issues facing children, parents, educators and our nonprofits. I am a fierce advocate for young people and the complex issues they face. As a mother of five adult children, I know that being a child and a parent is hard these days.

Like many American families, mine has experienced the devastation of a child struggling with substance misuse and the grueling recovery process. These challenges have no demographic borders.

Our nation has seen the horrors brought on by neglecting mental wellness and the factors contributing to a surge in violence and the nationwide opioid and fentanyl epidemic.

Congress has yet to admit the cause and effects of mental health challenges and take meaningful action — or produce solutions to save our families. I will focus on improving mental health support services to protect and prioritize the healthy well-being of children.