SHERMAN — The Republican Town Committee has endorsed First Selectman Clay Cope for a Congressional run against U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty.

The RTC also authorized a donation to Cope’s campaign for the 5th Congressional District seat. The actions are the first by an RTC in the 5th Congressional District in this election cycle.

“I am humbled and thrilled with this strong showing of support,” Cope said. “These are my closest supporters and helped me win three consecutive elections as first selectman in Sherman. I hope to capitalize on their support, as well as the strong encouragement I have already received from other Republican leaders throughout the 5th District.”

Cope 53, said in November he was exploring a run for the 5th District seat in 2016. The district extends from Danbury and Litchfield County to the Farmington Valley and New Britain.

Cope said he has received strong support from Republican leaders across the district for his conservative fiscal agenda. Cope is pushing for lower taxes, reduced federal spending, a balanced budget and a simple and fair tax structure. Cope also said he wants to achieve meaningful immigration reform and effective border security.

“Clay’s unique combination of proven business expertise, assembled over a career of nearly 30 years in the fashion industry, coupled with local government experience makes him an ideal candidate,” said George Linkletter, chairman of the Sherman RTC and a former selectman.

“Anyone who knows Clay knows that he is a true public servant who understands and shares the priorities of his constituents and knows the importance of delivering real results,” Linkletter said.

Cope moved from New York City to Sherman in 1995. Cope is originally from Dallas, Texas, where he was co-owner of a dress factory and fashion house. He progressed in Sherman politics from a community volunteer, to Planning and Zoning commissioner, to president of the board of directors of the Sherman Library and is now serving his third term as first selectman.

Cope is one of four Republicans exploring a run to unseat Esty, a Democrat who has held the 5th Congressional District seat since 2012. Joseph Stagno, of Southbury, John Pistone, of Brookfield, and Matt Maxwell, of Sandy Hook, have also announced they are considering to run.

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