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CCSU political science professor says VP's visit to the school is a political move

Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Central Connecticut State University Wednesday to take part in an abortion rights discussion.

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Central Connecticut State University Wednesday to be a part of an abortion rights discussion alongside the national president of Planned Parenthood and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.

CCSU Political Science Associate Professor Jerold Duquette says it is a political move by the vice president but said that shouldn't overlook the fact the discussion has merit. He said the visit to the New Britain university will help Hayes in the upcoming November election.

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"Representative Hayes is the most vulnerable member of...Democrats in the House in Connecticut," he said. "The Hayes race just leans Democrat, which means there is a slight vulnerability there."

The fifth congressional district has had both Republican and Democratic representatives. It was previously held by now Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. Prior to him taking office in 2007, Republican Nancy Johnson represented the district. Duquette says her Republican challenger George Logan is a contender for the seat because he's not considered far-right and Hayes cannot use the nationwide GOP representation with Logan.

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"This is a very attractive candidate in many respects. This is a person of color, a former state senator. This is not an unreasonable person," the professor said.

Logan has said he supports a woman's right to choose but does not agree with late-term abortions. He says this visit by the vice president is a campaign effort to help the incumbent Democrat, even though Hayes said it is not campaign business. Logan says there are more important issues to voters in the fifth district like the economy.

"I think it would be more important to have the opportunity of having the vice president of the United States of America here in Connecticut, here in New Britain to talk about those issues that are on most people's minds," Logan said.

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Hayes says the economy is recovering and the discussion about abortion rights is important to her and Harris. The representative said it's to talk about the elimination of women's rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, allowing states to enact their own laws about abortion services.

"What we have to drive home is that the evisceration of women’s rights is not something that comes back quickly. Once those freedoms are gone, they’re gone," Hayes said.

Duquette says the discussion about abortion rights in a state that has laws protecting abortion access is to get national attention and show Connecticut's support for women's rights. 

"The vice president would love to have her visit and her talk about reproductive rights to be national news," he said. "When you’re on the national news, you want to have a video of a very receptive crowd."

He said the vice president isn't wasting her time having this discussion in Connecticut as it helps the narrative Connecticut doesn't want to contribute to eroding women's rights to choose.

Regardless of the discussion, Duquette says voters in the state are going to head to the polls with the "big picture" in mind that a Republican take over of the House is not something they want to help. He says this will be a benefit to Democrats in the state ahead of the November 8th election.

Harris recently visited the state to deliver the keynote address at the Coast Guard Academy commencement ceremony in May.

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tblack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram


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