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Ethan Book announces bid for U.S. Senate

Tim Lo, Fairfield Citizen-News
Published 1:22 am, Friday, February 26, 2010
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Ethan Book wrapped up his four-page letter to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Jan. 9, and considered the context.

Two days earlier, Blumenthal had announced his candidacy for Sen. Chris Dodd's post in Washington. In his announcement, the attorney general said that he'll be a fighter for all citizens.

Book's letter alleged otherwise. In it, he assailed the attorney general for allowing him to be subjected -- either actively or passively, he noted -- to a form of "political water-boarding" over the past two decades.

The charge stems from a 1985 incident in which Book claims he blew the whistle on a form of statewide corruption related to bidding on a garbage-to-energy plant in Bridgeport's South End. "I stumbled across a political sacred cow," he said.

For his dutiful service, Book said, he was fired from his job at Connecticut Bank & Trust Co. and muzzled politically, and snared inside a web of political maltreatment that has dogged him ever since.

"I detailed it all [in the letter to Blumenthal] and then I said, `Hey, you know what? I'm beginning to look and feel like a candidate,'" he told the Fairfield Citizen on Wednesday.

As of Thursday morning, that's exactly what he is.

Ethan Book -- who was described in the press as early as 1987 as a "modern-day Don Quixote" -- might break the mold when it comes to unique candidates for the U.S. Senate.

Technically a resident of Fairfield, the self-described maverick Republican has for the past few years resided in Bridgeport, as his Kings Highway East property was foreclosed on while he sat in prison in 2003. He was convicted in October 2001 on 24 counts of criminal harassment, brought against him earlier that year. The charges were misdemeanors, and he served the first of a five-year sentence in prison. He was released on probation for another year.

Afterward, Book unsuccessfully sought redresses for that conviction, which he maintains was unfounded and unfair. But, he said, his candidacy is not about revenge.

Asked for his platform, he told the Fairfield Citizen that while most politicians talk of everything they will do for their constituents, he'll come out and say what he won't be doing. Asked what that entails, he said he wouldn't be deceiving the public or overextending the federal government's reach.

"People will not change until their belief systems do not produce what they want," he said. "Only then will they be motivated to be creative, innovative and change. The government has too often stepped into that area for individuals, and individuals never develop into what they should be."

Book pointed to the years 1913 and 1933 as benchmarks for when federal government swelled beyond its intended size. Those years brought forth the 16th and 17th Amendments, the Federal Reserve Act and a slew of social programs introduced by President Franklin Roosevelt.

Asked for how his principles relate to today's hot issues, Bank listed four examples. First, the federal government's role in health care reform should be limited to regulation, he said. Any new programs should be limited to the individual states. Second, more attention should be given to Latin America, both regarding the Mexican drug wars and the proliferation of democratic principles in countries like Venezuela and Honduras.

Third, he wants to scale back government spending. "The spending problem is important for two reasons," he said. "For our economic health and for national security."

Fourth, he pointed to abortion. Book believes that in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court was "overbroad" in its review of privacy rights.

"I tend to agree that one should consider the right of privacy for a woman," he said, "but I would consider the context of the right of privacy of the embryo and the right of privacy of the father."

He said he believes states should determine their own abortion laws.

Book credits most of his political prowess to his extensive legal experience. He currently has "at least half a dozen cases" in federal court and four active cases in state courts.

But he also has some legislative experience and a whiff of executive power. From 1985 to 1987, he served on Fairfield's Representative Town Meeting. In 1987, he challenged then First Selectman Jackie Durrell for her post within the Republican party. When he failed, he ran as a write-in candidate and, he said, received good media coverage, a healthy percentage of the vote and schooling in the issues.

"I believe," he concluded in a recent interview, "that God has chosen our great nation for a special purpose and that purpose is in jeopardy, and that people are needed with the right kind of conviction and leadership to get our great nation back on track."

He was asked if he is one of those people. "I think I'm one of several," he said. "Absolutely."