Under the Radar: Acupuncturist Tries to Stick It to DeLauro

Posted October 10, 2008 at 6:24pm

Acupuncturist Boaz “Bo” ItsHaky takes a holistic approach to Congressional politics.

[IMGCAP(1)]The 49-year-old Republican believes that in order to cure the ills of individuals, their surrounding environment must also be treated.

“Every individuals’ well-being is strongly affected by the well-being of our nation,” ItsHaky said.

Therefore, the Western medicine specialist has ordered a comprehensive prescription to alleviate our nation’s ills: A bid for Connecticut’s 3rd district, a seat held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D) for nine terms.

“The approach of contributing on a larger scale fits right into the philosophy of the model of medicine that I practice,” ItsHaky said.

ItsHaky’s political journey began on a kibbutz in Israel. Until age 21, he lived and worked in the traditional community where all the inhabitants share everything.

But it is because of this experience, he said, that he learned the dangers of socialism. That kind of community, ItsHaky said, creates a mentality among residents that everything will be provided for them and therefore innovation is no longer necessary.

“I have seen socialism firsthand living in a commune, which is a kibbutz, and I have seen that it doesn’t work,” he said.

But on the other side of economic policy, ItsHaky also expressed wariness about the dangers of “chronic capitalism” — and sees the recent economic crisis as proof of this condition.

“I consider myself to believe in ‘peoples’ capitalism,’ which is completely different and what I believe our Founding Fathers [thought] should be the appropriate or the right form of capitalism,” he said.

After leaving the kibbutz, ItsHaky served his required three years in the Israeli army. It was in his post-military travels to the Far East, however, that ItsHaky first began to learn about Asian medicine.

In 1989, he moved to Bethany, Conn., and in 1992, he said he officially became a U.S. citizen. Soon after, he began studying Asian medicine in America.

In fact, ItsHaky was completing graduate work at the Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York City on Sept. 11. 2001. He said he was studying about a dozen blocks north of Ground Zero when the planes hit the Twin Towers.

“In general, I thought up until that moment, I thought my contribution to the well-being of our society and our country would be on the small scale, such as practicing acupuncture, helping individuals one on one,” ItsHaky said.

It was on that day, however, that ItsHaky said he reconsidered his life’s mission. Now, in addition to seeing 20 to 25 patients per week at his offices in Connecticut, ItsHaky is committed to running for office.

ItsHaky first ran as an Independent for first selectman in Bethany in 2005, a bid that he said he lost by a large margin. The next year, ItsHaky served as a member of the Bethany Republican Town Committee and unsuccessfully ran for state Senate. Then, in 2007, ItsHaky was elected by party officials to represent that same district at the state GOP Central Committee.

ItsHaky said he never planned to challenge DeLauro, who is not considered to be vulnerable by the national political parties. ItsHaky said he planned to work his way up through the state House and Senate first.

But state Republicans, he said, were in a bind looking at an empty slot on the 3rd district ballot. ItsHaky approached them and offered up his candidacy. But since that incident, ItsHaky said the state party has not come through on some of its promises to help him.

“Promises made were not delivered,” he said. “But on second thought, I’m not surprised. I’m considered to be an outsider.”

So far, ItsHaky has had to run a financially skeletal campaign. With a campaign budget that he describes as “literally nothing,” he has no staff or headquarters.

Connecticut Republican Party Executive Director Christopher Healy said that despite these minimal resources, ItsHaky has done a “stellar job” holding DeLauro accountable.

“Bo was generous enough to jump in at the 11th hour to be our candidate, and one of my regrets is that I wish we had more resources to give to him,” Healy said. “Bo is certainly an energetic, smart and thoughtful person.”

It’s also easy for ItsHaky’s campaign to be overshadowed by races in the state’s other five Congressional districts this year. Rep. Christopher Shays, the last GOP House Member in New England, is in another targeted race this cycle, while state Sen. David Cappiello (R) is attempting to put the 5th district back into Republican hands from freshman Rep. Christopher Murphy (D).

Healy said the party has given ItsHaky technical assistance, spread the word about his candidacy and coordinated with his campaign.

“It’s always an uphill battle in that district, but I think he’s doing what needs to be done to challenge Rosa DeLauro’s lack of representation, based on the fact that she’s a member of the leadership and spends a good deal of her time raising money for other candidates around the country,” Healy said. “I’m an optimist about everything, including this.”

After all, DeLauro does have plans to debate ItsHaky.

“As in past elections, Congresswoman DeLauro and her opponent will debate,” DeLauro campaign director Chuck Swirsky said. “She takes every election seriously.”

Until then, ItsHaky will be waiting on pins and needles.