(I)NTERVIEW - Chris Shays

Jul 31, 2012

Christopher Shays is a former U.S. Congressman from Connecticut’s 4th district. He is looking to return to Congress, this time as a U.S. Senator. Shays was a member of the Peace Corps from 1968 to 1970. It was during his time with the corps in Fiji that he met his future wife, Betsi. In 1974, Shays was elected to Connecticut’s House of Representatives. He spent thirteen years in this office. He won a special election in 1987 for a the vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressman Shays was a senior member of multiple committees in Congress. These include the Budget, Financial Services, Homeland Security, and House Oversight and Government Reform committees. In addition, he was the chair of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations.

Shays was raised in Darien, before living in Stamford for over thirty years. He now lives in Bridgeport.

During his interview with the CPBN Media Lab, Shays said his secret talent is getting people to work as a team. He also spoke fondly of his time in Fiji with the Peace Corps, and recited a few lines of Fijian that he remembered. Shays believes that laughter is the key to staying young, and he spoke about a recent car show he attended that brought back memories of his younger days. One of the stories he shared about his youth concerned his problem with reading after his parents told him to go to bed. He could not use a flashlight, because the batteries wore out too quickly. Shays tried running an extension cord under his bed, and using a nightlight, unfortunately, it was very warm under his blanket. “I never solved the air conditioning problem,” he joked.

When asked about something people may not know about him, Congressman Shays described his short stay in prison, for contempt of court. He spoke about his personal crusade to right what he saw as an injustice, and he talked about his interactions with the guards, other inmates, and the media.