Democratic Candidates for Tucson’s CD2 Congressional Seat Renew their Demand for Gun Safety

Democratic candidates for Congress in CD2:
Democratic candidates for Congress in CD2: Yahya Yuksel, Billy Kovacs, Ann Kirkpatrick, Mary Matiella, Bruce Wheeler, Barbara Sherry and Matt Heinz.

On the day when a teenage shooter killed 10 and injured 10 at a Texas school, all seven of the CD2 Congressional candidates renewed their demand for gun safety legislation.

The candidate forum took place on Friday, May 18, for the residents at an active-living retirement community in Tucson. The candidates are Yahya Yuksel, Billy Kovacs, Ann Kirkpatrick, Mary Matiella, Bruce Wheeler, Barbara Sherry and Matt Heinz.

Mary Matiella

“My heart is broken over the shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. That is horrible. One more time we are just beyond ourselves with the pain we feel.”

“I have a cousin who was murdered in her home in front of her children. The most vulnerable are the children in schools. Women in the US are 15 times more likely to be killed by a gun than in other developed countries. We have to do something big. All we want is sensible gun legislation. We’re not trying to take on the Second Amendment. We should keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Why would you not do that?”

Ann Kirkpatrick

“Just today my heart was broken one more time because 10 families are not going to have their children home for dinner because of a school shooting today. I was a law clerk for Judge John Roll when he was shot and Gabby was injured. It was something I’ll never, ever get over. Enough is enough.”

“Preventing gun violence has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. It says people in the US have a right to bear arms and to have a well-regulated militia. What we have is a completely unregulated system, that we need to have regulated to keep our children and victims of domestic violence safe, and to keep terrorists from getting guns in our country.”

Bruce Wheeler

Bruce Wheeler was the audience favorite at the xxx candidates forum, according to a survey by Represent Me AZ.
Bruce Wheeler was the audience favorite at the May 3 candidates forum, according to a survey by Represent Me AZ.

“Bump stocks have to go — even Wayne LaPierre of the NRA said that they had to go. But the 32 members of the Freedom Caucus are holding the rest of Congress hostage. When I was in the Legislature, I voted against ammunition clips of more than 10. They wanted unlimited clips with unlimited bullets.”

“The House of Representatives ought to hold hearings televised to the nation, let both sides make their point — as we did with Joe McCarthy so people could see how reckless and dangerous he was — and let the American people decide what’s at risk when we misinterpret the Second Amendment to allow AR15s instead of a single shot ball musket.”

“In those hearings, we need to have a discussion as a nation about the role of violence in our culture, and how acceptable is, in cultures like Hollywood, how prevalent it is, and how it’s even used with humor. This deep-seated influence of violence in our culture also needs to be discussed.”

Dr. Matt Heinz

“I spent a quite a bit of my training in the Detroit receiving hospital. I literally had my finger in bullet holes as part of a trauma team. The scourge of gun violence is something I know very well. That was 15-20 years ago and it was an epidemic then, and it has pushed past that. We need comprehensive background checks. Why do we sell bump stocks — something that turns a legal weapon into an illegal weapon? Why can you get an AR-15? That shouldn’t be. That’s a weapon of war. We have to protect people, our children, the six-year-olds of Sandy Hook and our own Gabby Giffords from the scourge of gun violence.”

Yahya Yuksel

“I’m 27 years old. In my high school days, we had fire prevention drills. Now we have active shooter drills.”

“The bigger systemic issue we’re facing now and why the NRA has so much power is campaign finance. It doesn’t give our people the representation they deserve. If we as a people want gun violence to end, we must have the policy to end it. If the lobbyists and the special interests are in favor of a certain policy, your congressman and women will be 60% more likely to have something in their favor. Is that democracy?”

Barbara Sherry

“We need to restore the ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines. There’s no more important day than today as 9 children and one adult left their souls out of their bodies and are no longer on this earth. There are parents who will not experience grandchildren because we as a country cannot take care of this. It’s shameful beyond shame the NRA has bought these politicians. We need to completely ban automatic weapons. They should only be in the hands of the military or police. They do not belong in everyday citizens’ hands.”

“I own a gun in a box. It was given to me. I have a permit to carry. Martha McSally took $77,000 from the NRA. Do you think she’s thinking of those children in Santa Fe, Texas? Paul Ryan took $475,00 from the NRA [correction: the actual number is $171,977]. Don’t shop from the people who are on the NRA website. When the Second Amendment was written in 1777, there were muskets.”

Billy Kovacs

“I echo what everybody else said. But along with domestic violence, we need to talk about gun violence and the suicide rate among the veterans community. We also need to make sure that the CDC is allowed to research gun violence. These are common sense steps. I think there are two or three common-sense Republicans left in the House, and along with them, we can bridge this gap of complacency in the federal government.”

Yahya Yuksel, Billy Kovacs and Ann Kirkpatrick chat at the May 18 candidates forum.
Yahya Yuksel, Billy Kovacs and Ann Kirkpatrick chat at the May 18 candidates forum.

Poverty and the economy

Kirkpatrick said, “I was raised on Apache tribal land in Arizona. There was high poverty at that time, but it’s become much worse. One in four children don’t have enough to eat and lives in poverty. How do we get out of that circle of poverty? By education. But what have we done with education? We put ourselves at the bottom of the barrel. We have to improve our education system, we have to pay our teachers well, we have to make sure that we have enough teachers in a classroom. I have three grandsons under the age of three, I’m very concerned about them and the other children of Arizona.”

Matiella said, “Our wages have been theoretically flat for 40 years. Your children and your grandchildren can no longer afford what you were able to at your age. The average tuition debt that kids get out of college with is $40,000. How do we expect our children to move forward with that kind of debt? We need to take care of income equality.

“We need to make sure that the profits of the 1% realize themselves in higher salaries. What needs to happen is that organizations need to be rewarded for higher salaries. This tax break that the 1% got was terrible. It did not help anybody but them. Our schools, our social programs, and social security will get raided because the government can’t pay for it with all these tax breaks. That needs to be reversed.”

Kovacs said, “We have to look at small USDA farming grants. We can increase the trade between our two countries — Mexico’s our #1 trading partner. We need to able to open that inlet of trade. Two things McSally did in the dead of the night: she defunded two federal programs for our transit system and small municipal airports. When I’m in my county, people want to talk about that. We need to bring trade and build our country back up like Europe does. In terms of our #1 trading partner, their #1 asset is people. And that’s why I came out for a pathway to citizenship for all 11.2 million undocumented members our country.”

Heinz said, “We all witnessed what happened in 2008 when the housing bubble broke. The Dodd-Frank legislation was passed by Congress at that time to prevent this from happening again, to make sure the banks were behaving, to make sure that it’s not about Wall Street but about Main Street.”

“This administration and the financial sector have been picking away at those protections. That is not good. Allowing the risky behaviors and derivatives is not OK. This can potentially put us at risk of it happening again. I support making sure that banks are adequately capitalized, that they have resources to lend money and not go belly up if things turn south with the economy. If banks are taking risks with our money, it puts all of us at risk of having a massive collapse or having another bubble burst.”

Wheeler added, “We have 258 profitable Fortune 500 companies that paid no income tax on earned income of $3.8 trillion.  In 1952 when we had a booming economy, the corporate share of federal revenues as 32%. Now they contribute under 10%. GE, Boeing, and Verizon paid no federal income tax.”

“I favor Medicare of Medicare for all, I’m on Medicare. It’s a good program and we ought to extend it nationwide, and here’s how we pay for it. First, we make these new American oligarchs, who don’t pay taxes, to pay taxes. Then we add a 6.2% income-based health care premium paid by employers.”

Bruce Wheeler, Barbara Sherry and Matt Heinz listen as Mary Matiella speaks.
Bruce Wheeler, Barbara Sherry and Matt Heinz listen as Mary Matiella speaks.



3 thoughts on “Democratic Candidates for Tucson’s CD2 Congressional Seat Renew their Demand for Gun Safety”

  1. It’s time for all Democratic candidates to unite behind a comprehensive gun safety bill. The bill should include nearly all the ideas which have been advanced: comprehensive background checks, age limits, magazine capacity restrictions, assault weapons bans, safe storage requirements, technology that limits who can fire a particular weapon, mental health safeguards, ways to restrict who can possess a gun, broad based liability, restrictions on how much ammunition any one person may possess,… If every Democratic candidature for local, state or federal office got on board it would undoubtedly produce a fire storm of opposition but the stage would be set for a clear distinction between those who really care about protecting children and adults against gun violence and those who only pay lip service to that cause. A risky strategy? Yes! But it’s time for dramatic action.

  2. Good to see that former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick was in attendance, since she missed the May 3rd Represent Me AZ forum at Catalina HS. I see that you noted that that audience on May 3rd favored former House Rep. Bruce Wheeler’s remarks. This is becoming an interesting CD 2 race with 7 Dem candidates and the deadline for nominating petitions on May 30. Only political newcomer Billy Kovacs was at Raul’s campaign kickoff yesterday in Tucson, unless others came later after the speeches.

    • Raul’s event overlapped with the ADP State Committee Meeting, which was followed by the Udall Dinner. Most incumbents and candidates were at those two events. Billy made it to all three. (We changed clothes in between.)

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