A certain private citizen arrived at the Circle Diner shortly before 11:30 a.m. Friday and was soon joined by media types, several prominent local Republicans and other interested parties.
Within minutes, Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele entered the diner and was promptly welcomed by this private citizen with the familiar persona – Christopher Shays, the Republican who represented Connecticut’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 2008. The two men embraced, and then, after taking seats at a table, Shays proceeded to explain why he was there to endorse Fedele’s candidacy for governor in the November election.
“I have known Mike Fedele for over 30 years and there is no candidate who is better prepared for the enormous job of being the next governor of Connecticut,” Shays said. As he noted, this was the former congressman’s first public appearance in Connecticut since his loss to Democrat Jim Himes in 2008.
"Mike has demonstrated his commitment through a lifetime of public service on the Stamford Board of Representatives, the Republican Town Committee and as a state representative," Shays continued. "Mike did all this while supporting his family and building his business because it is important to him to give back to this country for all that it has given him.”
Born in Italy, Fedele was three years old when he and his family emigrated to the U.S. and settled in Stamford. In 1983, he founded Stamford-based Pinnacle Group, which has grown into a national information technology firm that has created hundreds of jobs in more than 30 states.
“Mike is the kind of businessman who has been successful by hard work, innovating and by creating quality jobs right here in Connecticut,” Shays said, “not by dismantling companies and sending jobs overseas."
“Having Chris by my side means the world to me,” Fedele said. “I’m amazed at what Chris did in the state House and (4th) District. In Congress, he didn’t toe the line – he set the standard. He is a man of principle who stands up for what is right.”
Before concluding, Fedele introduced his wife, Carol, who was seated in a booth at the rear of the room. They are the parents of three children.
Fedele, 55, thus far has earned support from more than a third of the GOP members of the General Assembly and nearly half of the state’s Republican mayors and first selectmen. One notable exception: State Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney (R-28) this week announced he was backing Oz Griebel of Simsbury. Fedele has also gained endorsements from 23 so-called "super-delegates" to the Republican State Convention in Hartford on May 22.