|Christopher D. Coutu|
|Connecticut State Representative from the 47th District|
|Preceded by||Jack Malone|
|Constituency||represents Norwich, Canterbury, Sprague, Scotland|
August 28, 1976 |
|Children||(b. 2010) Alexandria Grace Coutu|
|Alma mater||University of Hartford, Eastern Connecticut State University, Three Rivers Community College, Air University|
|Service/branch||United States Air Force, Connecticut Air National Guard, Connecticut Army National Guard, New York Army National Guard|
|Years of service||1995-1998 (active)
Technical Sergeant (14 Years)
|Battles/wars||Operation Southern Watch|
Christopher D. Coutu (born August 28, 1976) is an Army National Guard officer and politician.
Coutu had declared his candidacy for the United States House of Representatives in May 2011. He was seeking to challenge third-term Congressman Joe Courtney, a Democrat, to represent Connecticut's 2nd congressional district. On May 10, 2012 he decided instead to run for the seat in Connecticut's 19th state Senate district being vacated by Edith Prague, a bid which was ultimately unsuccessful.
- 1 Personal background
- 2 Political career
- 3 Political stances
- 4 References
- 5 Sources
Christopher Coutu was born and grew up in Norwich, Connecticut.
Coutu graduated from Norwich Tech High School with a certification in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in 1994. From 1998 to 2003, Coutu earned multiple university degrees, including an MBA from Barney School of Business at the University of Hartford. To fund college tuition, he worked at the Mohegan Sun casino and also in social services. In his online biography, he claims he was the first in his family to earn a college degree.
Coutu enlisted in the United States Air Force as an airman and completed the eight-month Avionics Guidance and Control Course at Keesler Air Force Base in 1995. He then served within the 16th Special Operations Wing out of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, from 1995 to 1998. After his active duty service, Coutu served in the Air National Guard from 1998 to 2008. He was deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Southern Watch at the time of the September 11 attacks in 2001. In 2004, he achieved the rank of Technical Sergeant as a Journeyman Avionics Technician and a Craftsman Education and Training Manager for the 103rd Fighter Wing in East Granby, Connecticut.
In 2009, after serving in an enlisted uniform for 14 years, Coutu graduated from Officer Candidate School. Coutu now serves as an Adjutant General Officer in the Connecticut Army National Guard's 1109 TASMG in Groton. Coutu remains active within the veteran community as a member of the Disabled American Veterans, VFW, American Legion, ESGR, AMVETS and the Association of the National Guard. In 2009, Coutu led an effort to reorganize the Norwich Area Veterans Council, a coalition of 20 veteran organizations in the region.
Since 2007, Coutu as worked as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt for the military, manufacturing and healthcare industries. In 2015, he led a DMAIC project that earned the Army Leadership and Excellence Award for the 1109th TASMG. He has instructed courses in the Air Force and as an Adjunct Professor of Finance at Three Rivers Community College.
In 2004, Coutu transitioned to work as a federal GS employee within the Department of Defense's Department of Civilian Personnel Management Services, where he visited 300 companies from Puerto Rico to Maine and worked with management and labor union members.
In 1998, Coutu returned from active duty and worked at the Mohegan Sun Casino and within social services.
In 2006, Coutu established AmericanWarrior.us. The non-profit supports veterans and patriotic events. The organization is supported through private donations and has coordinated and financed for 830 World War II and Korean War veterans to visit their war memorials in Washington, D.C.
AmericanWarrior formed Operation Freedom Legacy in 2008, which brings veterans to schools and other organizations to promote patriotism, democracy, and volunteerism. Thousands of students and youth groups from New England and Britain have volunteered to participate in a letter writing campaign to honor veterans.
In 2010, AmericanWarrior established a national Welcome Home Veteran parade, "The Homecoming They Deserve" in Norwich.
In 2012, AmericanWarrior coordinated a series of presentations and rallies for Veterans. The first was January 26 in Simsbury, Connecticut.
On May 2, 2015, Chris lead another group of Veterans on a one-day trip to 5 monuments in Washington, DC. Over 80 WWII and Korean War Veterans participated. It was a fantastic success, enjoyed by all.
Coutu is active with multiple community organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, Sacred Heart Church, AHEPA, Taftville Volunteer Fire Department, Bully Busters, Taftville Lions, Civil Air Patrol and the Greater Norwich Veterans and Winter Festival Parades. For his participation, the USAF has awarded him Outstanding Volunteer and Humanitarian medals. In 2008, Coutu received the University of Hartford's Humanitarian Award, Vietnam Veterans Award, and the Connecticut American Legion's Americanism Award.
Coutu is active with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Grassroots East, SECTer, the Greater Norwich Chamber of Commerce, and the American Council of Young Political Leaders. In 2009, he joined a delegation of five nationally elected officials to explore the culture, politics, and government of Romania and Hungary.
Coutu earned a seat as an Alderman on the Norwich City Council in 2007. During his tenure on the city council, he served on several committees, including the Board of Zoning Appeals, Mohegan Park Advisory, Public Works and Rehabilitation Review. He was the chairman for the Administrative Planning for Economic Development Committee. On February 7, 2008 Coutu stated, "It’s the taxpayers’ money,” and led a bi-partisan effort to cap the annual tax increase.
Connecticut House of Representatives
He was first elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 2008. Coutu's 2008 state house victory was a rare victory for New England Republicans, capturing a previously Democratic seat from a 14-year incumbent, Jack Malone. He won the election 54% (5,449) to 46% (4,605). In 2010, despite being outspent by 33%, he earned a second term with a 58% to 42% victory over Sprague First Selectwoman, Cathy Osten.
As representative of Connecticut's 47th district, Coutu serves the City of Norwich and rural eastern towns of Canterbury, Scotland and Sprague, which are located in New London and Windham counties.
Coutu is the ranking member for the Insurance and Real Estate Committee in the Connecticut House of Representatives. He also serves on the Veterans and Commerce committees. He previously served on the Judiciary, Human Services and Finance, Revenue and Bonding committees.
Connecticut State Senate campaign
Coutu challenged Osten to a series of debates saying, “I am eager to debate my opponent anywhere and any time in front of anyone. I believe now as I did a month ago, the more people educated to the issues across the 19th, the better.”
On September 1, he asked Osten to join him and request the Governor end the inmate early release program. “This is part of a continuing trend of being soft on violent criminals,” Coutu said. “This is a very dangerous slope.” He also mentioned as a convenience store clerk he was assaulted in 1994.
On October 20, 2012, The New London Day endorsed Catherine Osten over Christopher Coutu for the vacant State Senate seat in the 19th district. Just two days later, the Norwich Bulletin followed The Day's lead by endorsing Catherine Osten over Christopher Coutu saying his lone vote against the jobs bill "epitomizes an unwillingness to compromise and it's the kind of political posturing that he has exhibited many times in his four years in the House, such as suing the governor and Democratic leadership alleging a violation of the State Constitution in enacting an unbalanced budget, having himself several weeks earlier done the exact same thing in voting for an unbalanced budget." 
In October, The Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), Realtors PAC, Independent party and the National Federation of Independent Businesses  endorsed Christopher Coutu for election to the state Senate in Connecticut’s 19th District.
"Most voters say jobs and the economy are their top issues," said John R. Rathgeber, CBIA president and CEO. "Connecticut clearly needs lawmakers who can restore business confidence in our state so that employers invest, grow and create jobs here. We believe Chris Coutu is committed to making Connecticut a better state in which to do business, which means more and better jobs for our residents."
On October 24, Coutu was named a "Legislative Hero" by the Yankee Institute.
On November 6, 2012, Catherine Osten defeated Christopher Coutu by a 51.6 to 48.4 margin marking the end of his campaign.
On October 26, The state of Connecticut's Elections Enforcement Commission began an investigation into whether or not Christopher Coutu improperly used funds from his aborted U.S. Congressional Campaign.
Coutu announced that he was exploring a run for Congress in April 2011. Six weeks later, he officially announced he would be a candidate for Connecticut's 2nd congressional district, running against Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney.
In May, Coutu cited family and a three-month military assignment as the primary reasons to stay local and run for the state Senate.
Connecticut Common Sense Coalition
In 2009, Coutu established a group called the Common Sense for Connecticut Coalition to promote fiscally conservative Republican candidates for office, citing complaints with the state government's fiscal policy. The coalition's mission statement emphasizes cutting state spending to balance the budget, including consolidating, privatizing, or outsourcing government services and targeting so-called "budget gimmicks". The CSCC's efforts contributed to the highest number of newly elected officials within one party since the removal of the party lever in 1986.
In 2009, the veto-proof Democratic majority proposed Connecticut Raised Bill 1098, which mandated independent committees to run religious organizations' finances. Coutu joined thousands in a protest rally and challenged this legislation as a member of the Judiciary Committee. Coutu called it "an embarrassment that it's even made it this far."
Coutu signed on to a 2010 resolution denouncing federal mandates, claiming they "squeezed budgets of cities and towns" and claiming they contravened the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
In May 2011, Coutu joined a group of Republican state legislators in challenging Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy's budget in court. The plaintiffs claimed the budget was unconstitutional because it was signed into law with a $2 billion deficit. The lawsuit was thrown out at the Connecticut Superior Court on June 24.
Coutu is one of the most fiscally conservative members of the Connecticut House of Representatives. He has been a notable critic of Connecticut's fiscal policy, which he claims inhibits job creation. He opposes the extension of the State of Connecticut Earned Income Credit for middle-class and low-income families, stating that the federal tax credits for low-earning families are sufficient.
In 2011, he proposed removing the Small Business Entity Tax for businesses with 10 or fewer employees. and to cap bonding at 10% of total budget. Later that year, Coutu assisted and proposed a Connecticut no-tax budget.
On October 26, 2011, Coutu cast the lone no vote against a $1.1 billion piece of legislation. He stated, "How can we raise taxes on all families by $800 annually to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to a few private companies."
In 2009, Coutu joined a bipartisan coalition that successfully challenged legislation that banned large-capacity ammunition magazines and firearm microstamping. He cosponsored mail in permit registration and deer hunting with a revolver. In 2010, he received an A rating from the National Rifle Association and was endorsed by the CT Citizen Defense League.
Coutu is skeptical of recent climate change and global warming. Coutu said, "There's climate changes every year, and the weather changes daily." In 2012, he accused Governor Daniel Malloy and his appointed Two Storm Panel of veering into politics by including a section on climate change. "We need to protect our coastal towns from flooding, but that isn’t about pseudo-science and global warming, it’s about preparation for storm surges," he said.
In 2010, Coutu was part of a bipartisan effort with 60 co-sponsors, 12 mayors, and a dozen organizations to support a pilot student scholarship program for students from low- and middle-income families. The May 7 vote, which failed 98-44, was the first relating to student scholarships in more than 20 years. In 2011, he proposed new student scholarship legislation to include special needs schools.
Coutu is a critic of public funding for political campaigns in Connecticut and claims to be the only Connecticut Republican who publicly supports the Citizens' Election Program. He was one of the first candidates to qualify for state funding in 2008 and 2010, but testified in 2008 that much of this funding should be cut and has expressed concerns that the system could be abused during statewide races, including in the approval of a $3 million increase in funding for the Malloy campaign during the 2010 gubernatorial election.
People with Disabilities
In 2010, Coutu, who was a Personal Care Assistant (PCA), joined a group of citizens with disabilities to challenge HB 6486. In October 2011, Governor Daniel Malloy signed Executive Orders 9 and 10 to bypass the legislature and establish a way for unionization of PCAs and daycare providers. In response, Coutu formed an online petition to support citizens with disabilities. In 2014, the United States Supreme Court agreed with Coutu in Harris v. Quinn. The ruling finds that it is unconstitutional to require these individuals to financially support a union. 
As the ranking member on the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Coutu has criticized what he refers to as "unfunded mandates" passed by the state legislature.
Coutu signed on to a 2010 resolution denouncing mandates, claiming they "squeezed budgets of cities and towns".
In 2011, Coutu stood side-by-side with thousands of state union employees. Thousands of government employees from multiple unions signed green cards requesting the opportunity to vote and potentially join another union called UPSEU. "This is all about bargaining unit members rights to be able to choose who represents them," said UPSEU attorney Barbara Resnick. She said not allowing a vote until 2015 is "fundamentally un-American, undemocratic and contrary to all basic fairness."
Rep. Coutu stated, "... the unions are the first ones to say, 'just let us vote' and today, for some reason, they won't let these good people vote and I think there is something wrong with that. You can't have it both ways."
In 2010, Coutu served as the ranking member of the Select Committee on Veterans. He is one of 62 state elected officials in America who serve in the Armed Forces.
In 2012, Coutu successfully led a rally protesting $300,000 in funding for the Communist Party.
- Coutu locks up Senate race, Norwich Bulletin
- Coutu for Senate, The Day, Paul Choiniere
- University of Hartford, Christopher Coutu 03
- Official Rep. Christopher Coutu bio
- Bio Coutu 2010 Exploratory Committee
- August 17, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Promoted
- Norwich Bulletin, News Maker of the Day, Coutu Vice Commander
- Department of Civilian Personnel Management Services
- Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website: About Chris
- AmericanWarrior, About us
- The Resident, AmericanWarrior Makes Sixth Trip to WWII Memorial
- November 11, 2009, The Resident, Veterans Travel to DC
- AmericanWarrior.us, Operation Freedom Legacy
- June 18, 2011, Stonington Patch, Pawcatuck Middle School Students Celebrated For Contributions To Community
- January 14, 2012, Avon News, Farmington Valley veterans invited to visit Washington
- June 16, 2006, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich Man Seeks Funds for Assistance Dog
- October 22, 2008, University of Hartford, Anchor Awards
- January 5, 2011 Coutu's Baby Recovering From Open Heart Surgery
- January 10, 2011 A Gift From Dad
- January 10, 2011 State Rep's Baby Home Following Open Heart Surgery
- January 5, 2011 Legislator Takes Oath from Boston Hospital
- January 24, 2011 Norwich Bulletin, Grassroots East to Meet Friday
- October 13, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Visits Eastern Europe
- November 6, 2007, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich Election Results
- December 5, 2007, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich City Council
- January 15, 2008, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich Development Panel Starts Work
- February 8 2008, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich aldermen hold special discussion over possible tax cap
- November 5, 2008, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Unseats Malone
- November 6, 2008, The Day, Upset Election Loss
- Secretary of State Official Election Results for 2008
- Follow the Money
- November 3, 2010, The Day, Coutu defeats Osten
- October 25, 2010, The Day, Coutu, Osten 47th House District Race
- Official Rep. Christopher Coutu
- Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website: Committees
- January 24, 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Focuses on Business and Jobs
- January 21, 2011 Coutu focuses on Jobs and Small Business
- December 18, 2008, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu lands major committee assignments
- March 20, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu & CL&P Hosting Energy Workshop
- November 19, 2009, The Day, Sexting, Parents warned about cellphone sexting
- December 14, 2009, The Day, Forum tonight on budget
- March 29 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Budget Forum
- February 24, 2010, Norwich Bulletin, Eastern CT Business Leaders
- Coutu considering run for Prague's seat, would drop Second District race, The Day, J.C Reindl
- Norwich Bulletin, Coutu may run for State Senate
- Aug 16, 2012, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu challenges Osten to debates
- September 1, 2012, Bulletin, Coutu calls on end to inmate early release program
- October 2, 2012, Ameriborn News, Christopher Coutu endorsed by National Federation of Independent Businesses
- October 23, 2012, The Day, Coutu Receives CBIA Endorsement
- October 24, 2012, The Day, Coutu ranked high by Yankee Institute
- October 26, WTNH, State Elections Panel Probes State Senate Campaign
- March 22, 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Norwich Legislator Considers 2012 Campaign
- Official Congressional Christopher Coutu
- May 9th 2011, The Reminder, Coutu announces for Congress
- May 8, 2011, The Day, A Proud Conservative
- May 6, 2011, The Day, Coutu Plans to Challenge Courtney
- May 5th 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Running For Congress
- June 19, 2011, Face the State, Coutu Predicts State Democrats will Lead Courtney to Defeat
- October 19, 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Hackett on Politics
- October 19, 2011, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu Gets Jump on 2012
- January 12, 2012, Boston.com, State Representative begins Army Training in South
- Military stint done, Norwich legislator rejoins campaign for 2nd District U.S. House seat, The Day, J.C Reindl
- The Day, J.C. Reindl
- November 7, 2010, The Day, Next Time Candidates Could be Hard to Find
- October 10, 2011 Coutu Leads Common Sense
- The Day, Norwich Republican Has Lofty Goals
- Norwich Bulletin, Republican Victory lifts Eastern CT Conservatives
- The Mirror, GOP Gains 14 in State House
- SB1098 1st Amendment Religion
- Tracy Simmons, Waterbury Republican American, Catholics Comdemn Bill
- February 17, 2010, Coutu Fighting for Cities and Towns
- Coutu 10th Amendment
- May 7 2011, The Day, Coutu Among Plaintiffs in Legal Challenge
- May 6 2011, The Associated Press, Connecticut conservatives suing to block state budget
- "Judge dismisses Republican budget lawsuit". Eyewitness News Channel 3. 24 June 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- December 14, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu: State Spending is Unsustainable
- February 25, 2010, The Day, Coutu: Stamp out legislators' costly district mailings
- September 1, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu:State Hostle to Businesses
- Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website, Coutu:State Budget Rating at Risk
- September 6, 2012, New London Day, 19th District state Senate candidates Osten, Coutu spar over taxes, leadership during radio debate
- State Legislators Need to Help Small Business
- Coutu Promotes Pro Business Forum
- Connecticut Bond Rating Decrease
- April 20, 2011, JC Reindl, GOP Touts Budget with No New Taxes
- November 13, 2011, The Day, I'm proud to be the 1
- October 26, 2011, Hartford Current, Lawmakers Approve Sweeping Jobs Bill
- March 23 2011, Coutu Testifies Against SB 1094
- Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website: Coutu protects First Amendment
- Connecticut Citizens Defense League Releases Fall 2010 Political Endorsements
- NRA 2010 Connecticut Ratings
- January 12, 2012 Coutu Slams Two Storm Panel
- May 7, 2010 Coutu's Student Scholarship Vote First in 18 Years
- Coutu Pushes Student Scholarship Legislation
- HB 5675 Student Scholarship Legislation
- February 12 2009, Public Campaign, Chris Coutu Clean Election Profile
- February 12, 2009, Clean Election Profile
- An Amendment for One Man
- August 13, 2010 House Overrides Veto for Public Financing
- March 8th 2011, Coutu Testifies Against HB6486
- November 10, 2011, The Mirror, GOP Hearing Challenges Malloy's Executive Order on Home Care Attendants
- RepCoutu.com, Coutu forms Petition to Support those with Special Needs
- Senator Markley, Supreme Court finds unconstitutional
- November 1, 2009, The Day, Coutu: "Business as Usual" mentality won over real change
- New Haven Register, December 19, 2011, Union vote for 6,000 state workers challenged
- Norwich Bulletin, Vets who left school can receive diplomas
- The Day, June 4, 2012, Malloy pulls funding request by group with Communist ties
- Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website - Biography 
- Official Christopher Coutu 
- Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website - Coutu in the news 
- Feb 25th, 2009, The Day, Coutu: Stamp out legislators' costly district mailings 
- December 14, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Coutu challenging state spending addiction 
- December 12, 2009, Norwich Bulletin, Christopher Coutu Challenging Business as Usual 
- November 11, 2009, The Resident, Coutu letter to community 
- November 10, 2009, Official Rob Simmons for Senate, Veterans Steering Committee 
- September 2009, WXLM 104.7, Radio interview Christopher Coutu 
- March 2009, Official Rep. Christopher Coutu website, Video Coutu protecting the first amendment 
- Public Campaign, A clean election Candidate Chris Coutu 
- Official Christopher Coutu exploratory committee 
- Norwich Bulletin 
- Amazing Climates, Coutu interviewed for student mentoring 
- Official Lt Governor Fedele, AmericanWarrior Day of Honor Flight