Sal Lilienthal ’88 has joined the race for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District, hoping to unseat freshman U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District).
“When I appeared before the Kent Republican Town Committee they asked me some very pointed questions,” he was quoted in a recent article in the Litchfield County Times. “They asked why I thought I could win when Andrew Roraback, who was well-known [after 18 years in the Connecticut legislature] and who was able to raise a lot of money, could not. It was a good question, but I feel I just have to try to do something about the way things are going.”
Lilienthal has been researching Revolutionary War sites since 1998 and had his first book on the subject, “Revolutionary Battles: Experience America’s Roads to Independence” published this year. The book contains 25 battlefield tours connecting hundreds of Revolutionary War sites from Quebec, Canada, to Savannah, Ga. He also authored an online tour book with Central Connecticut State University Professor Mary Collins, a former National Geographic and Smithsonian writer, titled “Revolutionary Connecticut.” The book was developed to complement the State’s “Still Revolutionary” campaign and includes themed tours for such historical icons as Nathan Hale, Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and Israel Putnam, who had deep roots in Connecticut and are mapped out across the State.
In addition to research and writing, for the past 16 years he has marketed, financed and operated cycling events in four countries and 10 states, for more than 10,000 clients. Previously, Lilienthal spent four years living and traveling internationally, providing technical support at bike races including the Tour de France. He also established the Western New England Greenway, a bicycle trail connecting New York City to Montreal through Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.
In the community, he has through his business provided rentals and technical support to the CT Challenge, which benefits the Yale New Haven Cancer Research Center and Hospital. For the past nine years, he has also directed the annual cycling event, Friends of Karen, which has raised more than a million dollars in support of families of children afflicted with terminal illness.
Lilienthal earned a B.A. in individual studies from Hobart College with honors. As a student he was a member of the rowing team and was a student trustee. He also participated in an off-campus study program in Sri Lanka. More information about Lilienthal and his Congressional campaign are available online.
The full article from the Litchfield County Times follows.
Litchfield County Times
Sal Lilienthal, of Kent, to Run for 5th Congressional District Seat
Kathryn Boughton • July 05, 2013
Sal Lilienthal is in a revolutionary frame of mind. Not only is the Kent bicycle tour operator promoting the Connecticut American Revolution Project to complement the state’s “Still Revolutionary” tourism campaign, he is also staging his own mini-revolt against the direction American politics are going.
Mr. Lilienthal, scion of a liberal Democratic family, is an ardent Republican who would like to unseat freshman Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty in the 2014 race for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District. Mr. Lilienthal, a political neophyte, is aware of the odds against him, but nevertheless feels it is essential to the democratic process to try to intervene in what he sees as the devastating liberal agenda of the Obama Administration.
“When I appeared before the Kent Republican Town Committee they asked me some very pointed questions,” he said. “They asked why I thought I could win when Andrew Roraback, who was well-known [after 18 years in the Connecticut legislature] and who was able to raise a lot of money, could not. It was a good question, but I feel I just have to try to do something about the way things are going.”
Particularly galling to Mr. Lilienthal is government intervention in free enterprise. He has operated his own bicycle touring business for some 16 years, was dismayed when the government awarded contracts to other touring companies, allowing those businesses to have what he considers to be unfair advantage over operators who did not receive government subsidies.
He lists as his political goals strengthening the economy, defending the Constitution and protecting the homeland.
In addition to Mrs. Esty, Mr. Lilienthal is facing a second Republican candidate, Mark Greenberg.
Mr. Lilienthal has been making the rounds of Republican town committee meetings, starting in his native Greenwich this spring, and carrying his message. His motto, “leading the charge to take back the country,” fits nicely with his latest business enterprise. Mr. Lilienthal is also promoting bicycle tours to Revolutionary War sites, with nine trails in just Connecticut.
He has been researching the Revolutionary War sites since 1998 and wrote a prototype book outlining 25 major battles of the Revolution from Quebec to Savannah, Ga. That book is being put up online (www.RevolutionaryBattles.com). He has promoted the Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail with the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior (www.WashingtonRochambeau.com) and co-authored with Central Connecticut State University associate professor Mary Collins, a professional travel writer, the Connecticut American Revolution Project for the State’s “Still Revolutionary” Tourism Campaign (www.CTAmericanRevolution.com).
The routes, including the National Historic Trail (NHT), will be part of an interactive website that will allow potential tourists to match their riding ability to easy, moderate and difficult sections of these historical routes. The NHT will form the main artery within the network, and will also connect the New England National Scenic Trail, Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor, Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, and various historical sites along the route.
Mr. Lilienthal and Professor Collins American Revolution-themed tours for the state range in length from the “Farmer Put and the Wolf Den” ride at just over 18 miles to the “Nathan Hale: Teacher and the Turtle” route that measures more than 114 miles. the tours are designed to introduce Americans to the history in their own back yards.
Mr. Lilienthal notes that the tours build narratives by connecting the dots between historic sites. Suddenly riders or drivers will understand how Ore Hill Pond in Salisbury connects to the Salisbury Furnace on Ethan Allen Road, where armaments were made for the Continental Army. They will understand the progression of Rochambeau’s Army through the Connecticut landscape as the French general’s troops made their way toward a rendezvous with Washington.
And in the process, they introduce visitors to Connecticut’s heroes of the Revolution: Ethan Allen, Nathan Hale and Israel Putnam. Even fallen angels get their due. Benedict Arnold’s once lustrous and then tarnished reputation in Connecticut is explored.
Creating tours is nothing new for Mr. Lilienthal, who has provided tours for individuals, families and groups in four countries and 10 states. He estimates that over his decade and a half as a tour operator, he has guided more than 20,000 clients and helped raise millions for various charities. He has been active in promoting the development of new biking trails and is an advocate of the Western New England Greenway, a bike trail connecting New York City to Montreal through Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.
Before starting his own business, the Hobart College graduate traveled the world as a team mechanic for various cycling teams, including for Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France teams (he is not sure that Mr. Armstrong was treated fairly). For seven years he led hosteling bicycle tours for teenagers in France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, the Canadian Rockies, Quebec, Maine and Vermont.
Clearly, Mr. Lilienthal has experience and tenacity when it comes to making his way up steep hills. It is a skill he will need in his uphill battle against the established and well-connected Elizabeth Esty. Financial reports through the end of May indicated that the Esty campaign for 2014 had raised $45,700 in Connecticut and $57,000 out of state. Mr. Lilienthal’s donations were listed as zero.
Those who would like to remedy that discrepancy can start by mailing campaign contributions to the Sal Lilienthal Election Committee, c/o Carol Sherman, Treasurer, P.O. Box 381, Kent, CT 06757. Donors should include their occupations and employer information for the Federal Election Commission.
To contact Mr. Lilienthal, e-mail: elect@SalLilienthalForCongress.com or call 203-731-9902.