Republican delegates and voters will have a choice on who will lead us in the fall election. We have a tremendous opportunity to chart a new course for Connecticut, one that will move our state in the right direction. Delegates should want to know who won’t shy away from our Republican values and who can carry the fight to the Democrats and hold them accountable for their failed policies that have led Connecticut down the road to ruin. We need to choose a nominee who can win and will govern effectively, unafraid to upend the status quo and bring bold ideas that will lead us into the future.

To seize this opportunity, Connecticut’s next governor, and the Republican candidate must, first and foremost, have the character people can count on at all times.

For too long, Connecticut has been crippled by politicians using lofty words to secure office and then showing nothing but contempt to the people they serve by pursing their own self-interests. Examples of failings, sadly, aren’t hard to come by. Just recently, it came to light that our congresswoman, when faced with clear facts of abuse and injustice to her own staff, caved on her principles and sought only to protect herself and her reelection. This was a clear case of failing to do the right thing from the beginning, a trait many politicians unfortunately possess.

There’s a saying that the true test of character is what you do when no one is looking. All too often our elected leaders have failed that test and the people of Connecticut keep paying the price. Given the problems our state is facing, this leadership gap needs to end now.

I grew up in Stamford, attended the U.S. Naval Academy, and did my submarine service in Groton. I’m proud of my military service and what it taught me about myself and the character it takes to lead responsibly. At Annapolis, we all had to learn to box. Take a punch, throw a punch, get knocked down, get back up and keep fighting. It’s a metaphor for life. It taught us the things in life that truly matter are worth fighting for. Like you, I believe Connecticut’s future truly matters and I will fight for it.

For too long Hartford, like Washington, has been about the next election and politicians focused on helping themselves rather than the people they serve. Gridlock, in the name of party preservation, is more important than constructive action. Facebook post and Tweets substitute for actual conversations. The result: A rudderless state with no vision or direction. This outcome is the result of many things, but it starts with the lack of integrity in our leaders – leaders who believe people don’t matter and will simply accept the status quo.

Those days are over. Connecticut can no longer afford to be mired in the mindless, political morass Dan Malloy and his Hartford allies have us stuck in.

I’ve started high-tech companies and created hundreds of good paying jobs — the type of jobs we need in Connecticut. I did that by doing what was right, no matter who was watching. I strongly believe that my plan is the right answers to turn our state around. We won’t be deterred by the Hartford political forces. We have an actionable vision for Connecticut that will serve the people.

This opportunity is lost unless the voters of Connecticut believe the Republican candidate we nominated for governor has the character to lead Connecticut. We cannot allow Connecticut to lose this opportunity. We cannot allow the Democrats, who are devoid of ideas and who will want to hide from their record, distract the voters from the critical issues facing our state.

Democrats will run one of the dirtiest and nastiest campaigns our state has ever seen – because they have to. We need a Republican candidate who will fight in the fall, who has the strength of character to withstand this oncoming assault – a candidate who can take their punches, throw some punches, and never fail to get back up and keep fighting.

Over my career, I have been trained – and entrusted – to operate a nuclear submarine and then lead businesses solving big challenges facing governments and Fortune 500 companies. From the Naval Academy to the submarine force, from running high-tech companies to raising a family, I know how that character counts all the time especially when no one is watching.

Connecticut deserves a governor that they can count on – particularly when no one is watching.

Steve Obsitnik of Westport is a candidate for governor.

CT Viewpoints will entertain first-person position statements of candidates for elected office that focus on policy ideas and principles, but will not publish third-party endorsements for candidacies or direct appeals for support. It is our policy to offer all candidates for elective office equal opportunity for comment. The views expressed by candidates are intended for voter education and are not endorsements of, or opposition to, those views by CTViewpoints or the Connecticut Mirror.

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