Instead of reporting the news, former TV news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh said today she hopes to make news this November by challenging U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.

Peckinpaugh said after spending 30 years as a TV journalist for local news stations she decided to enter the fray on the other side of the cameras as a newly enrolled Republican who is seeking office for the first time.

“I want to send someone to Washington who is like a journalist, who can go to Washington and who can listen to what the people want,” she said Tuesday at the State Capitol, one of several stops announcing her candidacy.

The state’s second Congressional district has the largest percentage of unaffiliated voters — 47 percent of the 440,000 registered voters. The remaining voters are 21 percent Republican and 32 percent Democrat. Courtney unseated three-term Republican Rob Simmons by 83 votes in 2006.

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Janet Peckinpaugh (Jacqueline Rabe)

Peckinpaugh, 59 of Essex, who has been working as a media consultant for Lisa Wilson-Foley, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, said she registered for the first time ever as a Republican a few months ago. She is competing with two candidates for the GOP nomination: Matthew Daly and Daria Novak.

Republicans are endorsing candidates for Congress at nominating conventions May 21, giving Peckinpaugh less than two weeks to line up delegate support.

Among recent actions by Congress, she said she would have voted against the national health reform legislation that is now law.

“From what I can see it’s not fair to the majority of Americans,” she said. “Once we drill down into it there are loopholes that could be detrimental to a large portion of Americans.”

She said she thinks some businesses will find it less expensive to pay the fines provided in the legislation than to pay for health insurance for employees.

“Then those people would be on federal plans paid for by us,” she said. “I would not fund it until it is reworked to make more sense.”

The U.S. military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy regarding gay and lesbian enlisted members should remain unchanged, she said.

“The way it exists, I believe it’s fine,” she said, adding that she would need to some more research before casting a vote if elected.

She also said she would have voted against the $700 billion bank bailout to purchase mortgage-backed securities.

“I just think we are getting ourselves into a hole,” she said. “When you do that where do you stop? Then you just have to keep bailing out and bailing out. You have to put an end to it. This is all taxpayer money.”

Regarding immigration reform, she said the current policies are working and there is no need for reform.

“We have immigration law and we should stand behind it. I think it works the way it is,” she said.

Peckinpaugh has been an anchor in Connecticut for WTNH-Channel 8 in New Haven, WFSB-Channel 3 in Hartford and WVIT-Channel 30 in West Hartford. She sued WFSB for age-discrimination, settling the case after a trial at which she testified that she was sexually harassed by a co-anchor.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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