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.

(Updated story from April 17, 2018). 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 $ 1,755,795

She advanced her lead by raising a total of $1.75 million in donations with $836,927 cash on hand as of June 30. Read Kirkpatrick & Heinz Lead in CD2 Congress Fundraising, Marquez-Peterson Catching Up.

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 48 key endorsements: including Emily’s list, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and 23 labor unions (including AFSCME, Air Line Pilots Association, and American Postal Workers Union and unions for Iron workers, Boilermakers, Teamsters, and Operating Engineers.)

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.”

Read Ann Kirkpatrick Stands Out as Gun Safety Candidate

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.

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


<em>Support volunteer citizen journalism at the Blog for Arizona with a donation today. Your PayPal contribution keeps the Blog online and sustains a free press in Arizona.</em><hr>


    • What we’re missing is a current poll for the CD2 Democratic candidates that would tell the voters how much support the candidates have going into the primary.

      I’m really concerned that Ann Kirkpatrick could lose in the general election given the very aggressive negative campaign she is running against Matt Heinz going into the primary.

      GOP candidate Lea Marquez-Peterson sits on a mountain of cash will go into the general election unscathed because she will easily win her primary and has no reason to go negative.

      Kirkpatrick is the choice of the DCCC, the Democratic party establishment, and that is the reason for all the cash and endorsements. I guess we’ll see how well that works out.

    • If you just simply ask Google, “do negative campaigns work”, you get this:

      “The conventional wisdom among campaign professionals is that negative ads do, in fact, work. That is, while voters might not like negative ads, their perceptions of candidates attacked in negative ads are tarnished by the information they are exposed to.”

      I tried to do some further research on negative campaigning but I couldn’t find anything current that was better than just someone’s opinion. And after the horrific 2016 election that changed everything, I think that the conventional wisdom of the past might be shifting.

      We know from the CD2 Forum last month that the progressives and other political junkies who attend these events were mostly opposed to the negative campaigning. But it seems to be anyone’s guess right now how effective it will be in the electorate as a whole.

      In the last three weeks I have received five mailers from Ann Kirkpatrick all of which were attacking Matt Heinz. It was after the fifth one that I became very concerned that she just won’t stop this, she will kick him until she thinks he’s dead. And then after the primary, Democrats will go into the general election with the perception that they are dirty, infighting politicians.

      I don’t know who started this fight, but I have to say that my own observation is that Ann Kirkpatrick is the more aggressive of the two.

      I have no data to back this up, but it seems reasonable to me that a very aggressive negative campaign may turn voters against a challenger, but it also may turn voters against the perpetrator, the bully.

      In a political era that is being defined by the President as the Bully-in-Chief, is that wise or even a good strategy for a Democrat?

Comments are closed.