Chris Shays: Why I'm voting for Hillary Clinton

Story highlights

  • Former Rep. Chris Shays says Donald Trump lost him long ago. He plans to vote for Hillary Clinton
  • Shays: I have strong conviction she'll be a good president, is smart, tough, willing to work with GOP to improve country

Christopher Shays was a Republican U.S. representative from Connecticut from 1987 to 2009. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)During the 34 years I served as a Republican elected official in Connecticut, 13 years in the State House of Representatives, and 21 years in Congress, I always voted for our Republican candidate for governor and our Republican candidate for president.

Always, but not this time.
    Donald Trump lost me a long time ago.
    Christopher Shays
    I know some want to stick it to the so-called establishment, reject the status quo, and they see Trump as their vehicle. And I know some Republicans dislike President Obama, and have such a strong dislike for Hillary Clinton, they are willing to vote for a man they know does not have the temperament, knowledge or experience to be president.
    In fact, I think many Republicans know Donald Trump could cause great damage to our country and the world at large, and still plan to vote for him. But not me. He represents practically everything I was taught not to be, and everything my wife and I taught our daughter not to be.
    Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president, will be getting my vote, not reluctantly, but with a strong conviction that she will be a good president.
    GOP Sen. Susan Collins: I cannot support Donald Trump
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      GOP Sen. Susan Collins: I cannot support Donald Trump


    GOP Sen. Susan Collins: I cannot support Donald Trump 01:24
    She has made some mistakes and I would love it if she had done some things differently. But this I know: Clinton does her homework, and she learns from her mistakes. She is smart, tough, highly knowledgeable and has shown she is genuinely willing to work with Republicans and anyone else to address the countless problems that confront our nation.
    Clinton proved her worth in the Senate -- and her willingness to reach out to others. I saw this firsthand as a Republican congressman from New England, and more personally as chairman of the National Security Committee of the Government Oversight Committee.
    My committee held one of the first hearings on the illnesses afflicting those who worked tirelessly at the twin towers site to find 9/11 survivors and clean it up. At the time, Republicans were in charge of the White House and Congress, and Clinton, who participated in our House hearing as the Democratic senator from New York, could have taken a very partisan position. Instead she chose to be an important part of the solution, which she definitely was.
    As first lady, and more so as senator, being part of the solution was the kind of role she continually fulfilled.
    To be completely candid, I have expressed my share of criticism over the years for the very person I intend to vote for. Some of that criticism was deserved, but again, being completely candid, some criticism was expressed more harshly than I wished, or knew was deserved. I have a sense I am not alone in this regard.
    When I think of the numerous challenges confronting our nation, I want a president who is knowledgeable, experienced, articulate and tough. I want a president who knows the world and its leaders, the Congress and the White House, and has an innate understanding of the challenges facing everyday Americans.
    And I want a president who will attract thoughtful and talented people to work in her administration, and who will continually seek the support of both Democrats and Republicans. By working with all Americans, Clinton will ensure the inspired efforts of our Founding Fathers -- who toiled unceasingly to create a Constitution designed to enable a diverse people, through the art of compromise, to find common ground -- were not in vain.
    While no candidate is perfect and while nothing is certain, I am convinced that Hillary Clinton has what it takes to make our government truly work as our Founding Fathers intended. That is why as a Republican she has my strong support, and my vote this November.