This op-ed was first printed in AZ Central on August 29, 2022. 

For most of my life, I belonged to a Republican Party that focused on reining in spending, building a strong economy, and creating opportunities for people to succeed.

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But recent policies, such as separating families at the border and opposition to equal rights – and particularly the violence on Jan. 6, 2021, and conspiracies following the 2020 election – revealed a party that doesn’t reflect my values anymore.

I know I’m not alone.

Arizonans deserve so much more than what we’re getting. That’s why I’m running as an independent to unseat Andy Biggs in the 5th Congressional District.

Biggs’ record does not reflect who we are

Biggs is leading the extreme wing of the GOP. He helped lead efforts to overthrow Arizona’s election results and then requested a presidential pardon to avoid being held accountable.

White House and Arizona officials who witnessed these acts testified under oath, yet Biggs has refused to cooperate at all. And he still denies that the election in 2020 was free and fair.

Biggs supports deporting our DACA kids. He blocked changes to protect our kids from gun violence in school. He keeps voting against protecting marriage equality and women’s rights.

And he definitely doesn’t support law enforcement. Don’t take my word for it, check his record.

We need someone who will tackle real issues

While I remain optimistic about our nation’s future, America today is not the country I want to leave to my children and grandchildren.

Deciding to run for Congress and registering as an independent weren’t decisions I took lightly.

Our East Valley communities deserve someone who will tackle issues that matter to us – a great economy, a strong water future, and a secure, functioning border. As an independent, I will fight for Arizona’s interests over any one party.

Now more than ever, we need allies in Congress who are willing to stand up for the rights of women. Overturning Roe v. Wade has fueled far-right extremists’ efforts to force their personal beliefs onto women, eliminating their ability to make life-altering decisions. Decisions where the government has absolutely no place.

When I am in Congress, I will support legislation that affirms a woman’s right to make her own decisions on reproductive health, free of government interference.

I will listen to and work with all sides

Arizona needs someone who will support and defend the institutions of our democracy, and someone willing to stand up for the rights of all Arizonans, including immigrants, women, children, and the LGTBQ+ community. I have done that for more than 35 years in my personal and professional life.

It’s why I believe that our immigrant neighbors should not live in fear and uncertainty. Children should not be afraid to attend school for fear of another mass shooting. And our friends in the LGBTQ+ community should not wonder whether their marriage could one day be invalidated by judges.

I am building a broad coalition of independents, Democrats and Republicans – whom I plan to meet with regularly. I will work with leaders across the political spectrum and I will be constantly listening.

My agenda is to solve actual problems instead of blaming others. Together, we will work to build a better Arizona. I hope you’ll join me.

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