Vowing to take on the Republican leadership over unfair tax reform, trashing the environment, and sabotaging education, Congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick said it’s time for a Democrat to represent Tucson in Washington.
She got a warm welcome at the Democrats of Greater Tucson meeting on Monday.
“My focus is on holding (House majority leader) Paul Ryan accountable,” she said. “He is complicit. We have a slight chance of taking back the majority in the House, and we could be a check on Trump and hold him responsible.”
Kirkpatrick is considered the favorite by national news outlets in the crowded Democratic race to take back Congressional District 2. “Hillary won by 5 points in this district, and it should be a Democratic seat,” she said. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Kirkpatrick in its Red to Blue program, which highlights strong Democratic candidates and opens doors to donors.
Kirkpatrick has the endorsement of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Rep. Ruben Gallego, EMILY’s List and End Citizens United.
She condemned Senate and House Republicans for jamming the tax perversion bill through with no hearings and no open sessions. “Call your Senator and say ‘do not vote for this,'” she said. The GOP bill will add more than $1 trillion to the federal deficit. “And you can see it coming, they will try to take that money out of Medicare and Social Security,” she said.
Kirkpatrick is a three-term former Congresswoman from the 1st District in Flagstaff, serving from 2008-2017. Before that, she served in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2005-2007.
She has a BA and a law degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson. After teaching at Spring Junior High School and started her legal career as a deputy county attorney for Pima County, prosecuting drug crimes.
Return to Tucson
Kirkpatrick returned to Tucson to help her daughters, each of whom had a premature boy who was hospitalized in the newborn intensive care unit. “Then the medical bills came. These are young working families who got $500,000 in medical bills. They never expected this to happen,” she said. “That’s why I voted for the Affordable Care Act. When McSally voted in favor of the deadly Republican healthcare bill, I decided I couldn’t stand for it.”
Kirkpatrick supports the campaign to outlaw dirty money in political campaigns. The ballot initiative would amend the state constitution with a right to know the identity of any donor who contributes at least $10,000 to any campaign.
“The idea is to create transparency so people know where the secret money is coming from,” she said. “The total spent against me in my campaigns is over $40 million, and the bulk of that is secret money. It’s corrupting the system.” She called for a reversal of the US Supreme Court ruling in the 2010 Citizens United case, which says corporations have a First Amendment right to spend all they want in political campaigns.
Regarding education, Kirkpatrick said that US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos “is the worst person who could have been chosen.” DeVos is ideologically anti-public education and praised Arizona’s governor for pushing through private school vouchers.
Kirkpatrick pointed out that the GOP tax bill taxes graduate students on the tuition waivers they get. “That’s how most grad students pay for their education. It will not be worth getting a graduate degree, and we won’t have grad students to do research. It’s one more piece in the effort to dismantle public education,” she said.
She called for a new national energy policy that deals with climate change. “I believe in science,” she said, to loud applause. “Climate change is getting more and more dire all the time, especially watching the fires in California. We’ll see more of these climate events occur until we address it.”
Arizona should be the solar power capital of the world, Kirkpatrick said. “The Republicans have done their best to dismantle that,” she said. “When I was in the legislature, I worked for tax credits for people who installed solar on their roof. That’s gone away completely.”
Now that Martha McSally has abandoned her re-election in District 2, Lea Marquez Peterson is expected to be the GOP candidate. She is the head of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is a close ally of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary, Kirkpatrick faces candidates Mary Matiella, Billy Kovacs, Bruce Wheeler and Matt Heinz. For more see 400 Turn Out to Hear Democratic Congressional Candidates.
Additional information about Kirkpatrick can be found at www.kirkpatrickforcongress.com.