Ann Kirkpatrick Says Economic Growth, Healthcare, Gun Safety Will Win Back Tucson’s CD2 Seat

Ann kirkpatrick at the March 24 March For OUr Lives against gun violence.

Ann Kirkpatrick (2nd from left) at the March For Our Lives against gun violence.

In an exclusive Blog for Arizona interview, Democratic Congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick identified the big issues to win back the seat in Tucson’s CD2: the economy, healthcare, gun safety and immigration reform.

The district is rated as “leaning Democratic” and was carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016, who beat Donald Trump in CD2 by 4.9%. Many Democrats (and Republican opponents) see her as the front-runner to win the August 28 primary with a field of at least seven other Democrats.

Total donations of $1.3 million

She advanced her lead by raising a total of $1.3 million in donations with $850,000 cash on hand. Results for other candidates will be released soon by the Federal Election Commission.

Kirkpatrick had two record quarters in a row for donations. In the 4th quarter of 2017, she raised $400,000 and in the 1st quarter of 2018, she raised $535,000. Fundraising is a key measure of a candidate’s strength because it pays for staff, office space, phone lines, computers, travel, events, and campaign materials. A candidate with low fundraising is not a serious candidate.

A Congress member for CD1 in northern Arizona from 2013 to 2017, Kirkpatrick has key endorsements: Emily’s list, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and unions representing electricians, building trades, typesetters, and food and commercial workers.

At least 6 of the other Democratic contenders will appear at a candidate forum on Thursday, May 3 from 6:30 to 8 pm at Catalina High School, sponsored by Represent Me AZ. Kirkpatrick had notified the event sponsors that she could not appear because of a long-scheduled private meeting.

Growing the economy

To grow Arizona’s economy, Kirkpatrick calls for building a new seaport in the Gulf of California in partnership with the government of Mexico. “This is the big picture for our economy. It should be a new state-of-the-art seaport that would use a multi-modal system to transport goods from Mexico, up through Southern Arizona and into Nevada,” she said

Kirkpatrick played a leading role in the planned Interstate 11 from Nogales, Arizona, to Reno, Nevada, along the current routes of I-19, I-10, US 93 and US 95 that is now undergoing environmental assessments. At least four possible routes are under consideration.

She also called for raising the minimum wage from the current $10.50 to $15 per hour. “I was a small business owner myself, and I made sure I paid employees well. I don’t know any business owner who doesn’t feel the same. At $15 per hour, it just barely puts a worker over the poverty line.

Raising the minimum wage increases consumer spending and boosts the economy. A study by the Economic Policy Institute estimates that a $2.55 increase in the minimum wage would increase the earnings of low-wage workers by $40 billion and result in a significant increase in GDP and employment.

Kirkpatrick said she will also start a bi-monthly labor breakfast in Tucson. “This is a good way for labor to interact with a member of Congress. Nobody else stands up for the working person more than unions do,” she said.

Gun safety

She grew up in rural Arizona, hunting with her father. “Guns were part of rural life,” she said. A past supporter of the NRA, Kirkpatrick has since worked for gun safety for years, and today advocates for a ban on assault rifles.

“I now have a ‘D” rating from the NRA. I voted to strengthen background checks, to close down the gun show loophole, to stop people on the terrorist watch list from getting guns, and to stop stalkers and domestic abusers from getting guns,” she said. “That’s why Gabby Giffords endorsed me.”

She especially supports the Be Smart program of Moms Demand Action, where parents inquire about the presence of guns before agreeing to a play date for their child. “I have three grandchildren in Tucson and it’s important to me that they are in a safe household.”

Grasping at straws, Republicans like to call Kirkpatrick a “carpetbagger,” but she has Tucson roots. She has a BA and a law degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson. After teaching at Spring Junior High School she started her legal career as a deputy county attorney for Pima County, prosecuting drug crimes. She has two daughters who live in Tucson.

Healthcare for Arizona

Kirkpatrick voted for the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a vote that cost her re-election when right-wing forces funded by the Koch brothers attacked her. “It was my proudest vote. I took a stand on healthcare and I lost an election for that. I’m willing to do the right thing even if it means I lose an election.”

She estimates that the anti-worker, anti-consumer and anti-public school Koch brothers have spent $40 million against her in all her campaigns for office.

To ensure that every Arizonan has health insurance, she calls for allowing people to buy into Medicare, especially in rural counties that have only one health insurer. “Medicare is a system that works,” she says.

Some Democrats support “Medicare for all,” but she sees a flaw in the approach because it relieves corporations of providing healthcare for their employees and puts the burden on taxpayers. She noted that most people — 140 million Americans — get health insurance through their employment. “Why give the corporations a break for healthcare when they are already providing it for their employees?” she says. “The corporations just got their tax cuts, let them pay for health care for their employees.”

Immigration reform

Kirkpatrick says she supports immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. She supported the Dream Act in 2010 (but as critics like to point out, she missed the vote because of a prescheduled medical procedure).  “The Dreamers have tragic stories that are heartbreaking to hear.”

She supports family immigration policies that keep families together and rejects the Trump Administration’s agenda of building a wall and targeting productive working people for deportation.

Kirkpatrick has formed an Immigration Working Group involving business owners, educators, farmers, and ranchers to formulate ideas for new legislation. She supports legislation sought by farmers to give farm workers legal status and a two-year window to pursue guest worker or citizenship.

For further reading:

Ann Kirkpatrick is Front Runner at Candidates Forum for Tucson’s Congressman

Congress Candidate Ann Kirkpatrick Vows to Take on GOP

Additional information about Kirkpatrick can be found at

12 responses to “Ann Kirkpatrick Says Economic Growth, Healthcare, Gun Safety Will Win Back Tucson’s CD2 Seat

  1. Ann Kirkpatrick has a history of questionable votes. She was instrumental in a land swap, giving Apache lands to a multinational mining corporation. She touted an A+ rating from the NRA in the past, and was opposed to a renewal of the assault weapons ban in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre. She’s opposed to Medicare for All. She’s spoken out against “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.

    She voted not to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay (she turned out to be the deciding vote). She voted against the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill. She’s spoken favorably about a “balanced budget” amendment, which analysts say would devastate Social Security and Medicare. She’s already walked back multiple stances she’s taken during this campaign.

    So why are the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Emily’s List, nationwide fundraising powerhouses, throwing her their undying support? I ask: what exactly is “democratic” about this CD2 primary?

  2. Debbie Collazo

    Comment this morning on Ann Kirkpatrick’s facebook page:
    Susan Hebert Hi Ann–Please cancel the “private appointment” that prevents you from coming to the Represent Me AZ candidate forum and come meet your prospective constituents. McSally often engaged in private small-venue events, avoiding the general public. Many of us will be asked to canvass for you (if you should win the primary) and we know the other candidates, but we don’t know you. Please help us!

  3. Debbie Collazo

    This blogger seems to want to call a winner today in the CD 2 Dem race. Many voters and donors want to hear from other contenders. Note this letter online at
    Candidate Mary Matiella is the second highest fundraiser in the first quarter, through an impressive grassroots campaign spanning Pima and Cochise counties. She has been endorsed by Raul Grijalva, Sharon Bronson, Richard Elias, Regina Romero and Paul Cunningham, as well as former Army Chief of Staff Gen. John A. Wickham Jr. (Ret.).
    Larry, since you are in communication with Ann Kirkpatrick, would you please ask her who the individuals are on her Immigration Working Group?
    Also, would you please ask Ann to confirm whether she will stay in the CD 2 race should Sen John McCain retire in the near future.

      • Debbie Collazo

        Larry, has Ann Kirkpatrick provided answers to these two questions? One additional question: when and where will her first bi-monthly breakfast with labor be held? Thanks.

      • Kirkpatrick says that the immigration group and labor breakfasts are in the works. Once they are pulled together, she says she’ll announce the details.

        Kirkpatrick says she’s running for Congress in CD2 and no other race.

        I’ve heard the conspiracy theory that Kirkpatrick is seeking the US Senate seat should McCain retire, but it’s a narrative being pushed by Kirkpatrick’s primary competitors.

  4. From Open Secrets:
    Ann Kirkpatrick (D) total raised: $1,280,520 — cash on hand: $821,791
    Matt Heinz (D) total raised: $649,194 — cash on hand: $429,162
    Lea Marquez Peterson (R) total raised: $502,028 — cash on hand: $427,582
    Mary Sally Matiella (D) total raised: $210,967 — cash on hand: $61,123
    Billy Kovacs (D) total raised: $63,206 — cash on hand: $1,794
    Bruce Wheeler (D)total raised: $16,895 — cash on hand: $8,686
    Brandon Ray Martin (R) total raised: $7,145 — cash on hand: $1,374
    Barbara Sherry (D) total raised: $6,491 — cash on hand: $655
    Danny Morales (R) total raised: $827 — cash on hand: $116

    • Debbie Collazo

      As a footnote, Matt Heinz’s total includes his loan of $250,000 to his campaign.

    • While we know the focus on money, let’s shift voters’ attention to the issues. Elections can be bought, but the right representation for Southern AZ cannot. Meet the candidates, understand their positions on key issues, look at their records. Vote for the right candidate, not the richest.

  5. Carolyn Classen

    Headline in today’s AZ Daily Star, page A2: “Kirkpatrick tops CD 2 money; Heinz backs own effort”. Can’t locate online article, so stay tuned. In 1st quarter of 2018, Kirkpatrick raised $390, 971 from individuals and $117,667 from PACs. Heinz loaned his campaign $250,000 of his own money of the reported $306,360 raised, as a TMC doctor. Matiella raised $56,122 in the same period and Star reporter Joe Ferguson says the other three CD 2 candidates raised less than $7,200 each (Kovacs, Sherry & Wheeler). Newcomer attorney/candidate Yahya Yuksel (who was at the Rally for Science on Sunday) was not required to file, as he recently entered the race.