HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Incumbent Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney in the second district is campaigning like this race is his to lose.

“I mean, you have got to prove yourself every time,” Courtney said.

His opponent, Republican State Rep. Mike France, is a retired Navy officer who is focused on service.

“I think that is a hallmark of what I’ve done my whole life,” France said.

France holds quarterly town hall meetings. He is big on residents having access to elected officials.

Courtney said he has a proven record for protecting the maritime industry. During the last 16 years, he has risen in the ranks and chairs key committees like House Armed Services SEAPOWER Subcommittee, which has authority over the Navy.

Defense workers and small manufacturers dominate Eastern Connecticut.

In a debate this week at Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU), both men were asked about inflation.

France said the Biden administration is at fault for infusing money into the system and not dealing with the rising cost of diesel fuel which affects the price of goods.

“When they’re filling up their cars, and when they go to the grocery store to buy food,” France said. “That is the reality that the average person, and unfortunately, my opponent has not said much about this or the policy of the Biden administration.”

Courtney responded, ” Our office is very focused in terms of getting help to people who are struggling with these issues.”

Though a staunch conservative, France believes abortion is a state’s rights issue.

“I talk to many pro-choice residents, and universally, they oppose late-term abortions,” France said. “And when you look across Europe, the norm is 12 weeks, the extreme is 15. And I believe that there ought to be exceptions for the life of the mother, for rape and incest.”

Courtney is in favor of a national law called the Women’s Health Protection Act which would put a woman’s right to choose on the books permanently.

“The Congress has already taken up in the House bill similar to Connecticut to just codify Roe, which I think is the quickest way to sort of stabilizing the uncertainty,” Courtney said.

Nothing is written in stone in terms of shipbuilding plans. Former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump tried to cut the production of a submarine out of their respective budgets. The Biden administration kept it. Whoever wins the election will have to be ready to handle the pressure.