NORWALK, Conn. (Norwalk Hour) – Joseph Bentivegna’s recent op-ed in The Hour, “Jim Himes Must Go,” was long on anti-Wall Street vitriol and surprisingly short on making a case persuasive enough to justify its conclusory title.
The sole premise of Mr. Bentivegna’s argument for voting Rep. Himes out of office is that “while [he] portrays himself as a champion of the underdog, the voters should be aware that . . . Representative Himes was once an employee of Goldman Sachs.”
By referring to Rep. Himes’ previous employment at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Bentivegna attempts a rudimentary form of guilt-by-association. The litany of issues cited by Mr. Bentivegna would be persuasive if it was intended as a criticism of the investment bank itself. But since that was not his objective, the op-ed fails on virtually every level to persuade.
In fact, the opposition argument could be made: Rep. Himes’ financial industry background is actually a compelling reason to re-elect him to Congress in November.
For example, few voters in the Fourth District know that Jim Himes was a behind-the-scenes draftsperson on the recently enacted Dodd-Frank bill. The bill represented the most sweeping reform of the financial services industry since Glass-Steagall, which was enacted as a dramatic Congressional response to the factors leading to the Great Depression.
Most Wall Street firms were exceptionally unhappy with the new restrictions imposed on them under the Dodd-Frank Act. This especially includes Rep. Himes’ previous employer, Goldman Sachs.
In his very first term, Jim Himes has proven that he can act independently and decisively on behalf of his constituents and the American public — without being influenced by the financial services industry. Contrary to Mr. Bentivegna’s unsupported assertions, Jim Himes’ exceptional background as a successful employee on Wall Street makes a compelling case for our Congressman’s re-election.
In a time of continued economic uncertainty, Congress desperately needs the type of financial expertise Rep. Himes brings to the equation. Now more than ever.
Nicolette Weinbaum is a student at Staples High School in Westport and is a member of the Junior Statesmen of America and the founder of the Students Supporting AIDS Awareness group at the school.