STRATFORD, Conn. -- Dressed in a blue T-shirt, gray shorts and a Yankees baseball cap, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy arrived tired but cheerful at the Sterling House Community Center in Stratford at 5:15 p.m. Thursday as he walks across Connecticut.
Murphy had gone about 18 miles so far Thursday and has 2.6 more miles to go until he reaches his next destination in Bridgeport. He is due at the East End Bridgeport Tabernacle Church at 548 Central Ave. for a town meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
The junior senator from Connecticut started his journey Monday at about 1 p.m. in Voluntown, near the Rhode Island border. Since then, he has traveled about 90 miles by foot, meeting constituents and getting an up-close view of the Nutmeg State.
On Thursday, his fourth day, Murphy made his way across New Haven, West Haven, Milford until arriving in Stratford, and continuing to Bridgeport.
He was greeted by enthusiastic group of about 30 supporters when he arrived at the Sterling House Community Center in warm and muggy conditions, a Camelback of water on his back and cellphone in hand. In the crowd was his U.S. Senate colleague Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
Murphy took a tour of the Community Center, which has been in operation for nearly 85 years and serves toddlers to seniors.
He has spoken to about 100 people each day, getting tips and hearing complaints as he took to the streets and dirt roads to listen to Connecticut residents.
"It's easy to do my job from the office, but to do my job well I need to go out and find the people who wouldn't come to me," Murphy said.
"I've met people from all over the state from all walks of life. I've met many of the working poor who work full time and are still not able to pay the bills."
What do people want to talk about? Topics have ranged from food stamps to small business regulations, to opioid addiction, he said.
"Another take away I have of is this is I knew this is a beautiful state that I got to experience the beauty of firsthand," he said.
Murphy said the journey is a challenge "but I'm still walking."
"I was most worried about cramping up," he said. "I made sure I have enough liquids, carrying in my pack water or Gatorade. ... I bought very expensive socks."
Thursday morning, he was caught in the rain in Milford. "I found an empty box by the side of the road and sat in it for 10 minutes," Murphy said.
He walks from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., 14 hours a day.
"I'm staying with friends and with my in-laws tonight, who live in Fairfield," he said.
On Friday morning, Murphy will set out from Bridgeport and head to Fairfield, Westport, Norwalk and Darien. His colleague, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th District), will join Murphy for the last 4 miles of his Friday walk from the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk to Darien's Tilley Pond Park. There, he will hold a town hall meeting, the fifth and last of the walk, at about 7 p.m.
Murphy plans to finish the walk on Saturday in Greenwich. How many miles will that be? About 130 — from one end of Connecticut to the other.
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